It’s Christmastime, so it’s only in-keeping with British football tradition that we take a look back at one of the craziest days in the history of the sport.

Boxing Day 1963 produced 66 goals across 10 thrilling matches – something similar in 2019 would be a wonderful delayed Christmas present.

The football betting markets will offer you pretty good prices on a repeat of 1963 ever again. It seems the goalkeepers might have relaxed a little too much on the 25th, allowing the forwards to take full advantage on Boxing Day in front of the festive crowds.

The top flight in 1963 is the focus of this piece, but the chaos wasn’t confined to the First Division – Manchester City thrashed Scunthorpe 8-1 in the second tier.

Without further ado, let’s run through the matches on the wildest of Boxing Days…


West Ham United 2-8 Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn came into the meeting as league leaders and they put down an emphatic marker against West Ham.

The Hammers went on to win the FA Cup in the 1963/64 season – they bounced back effectively from their Boxing Day drubbing and finished just six points behind Blackburn.

Andy McEvoy and Fred Pickering each bagged hat-tricks. Johnny Byrne notched a brace for the hosts, but it was no more than a footnote in West Ham’s biggest ever home league defeat.


Fulham 10-1 Ipswich Town

Ipswich had conceded 58 before they headed to west London to face Fulham.

It might not be one of the greatest Boxing Day games, but it’s certainly a momentous one. Ipswich had won the title 18 months previously, and they were handed a humiliating defeat by Fulham on their way to relegation.

Graham Leggat netted four times for Fulham, and he wasn’t the only hat-trick hero as Bobby Howfield also scored thrice.


Blackpool 1-5 Chelsea

Chelsea were 4-0 up before Blackpool scored their goal, effectively ending it as a contest. Terry Venables, who went on to manage numerous clubs and England, added a fifth for the visitors.

Venables was a product of Chelsea’s academy, which has been delivering for the Blues in 2019/20. Chelsea have only produced two Premier League Young Player of the Year winners, but that could become three this season.

Leicester City 2-0 Everton

By the standards of the afternoon, the 2-0 between Leicester and Everton was a tedious affair. Everton were reigning champions, however, and the defeat seriously dented their title ambitions.

Leicester won the League Cup on their way to a mid-table finish – Ken Keyworth scored a brace to topple the Toffees.


Burnley 6-1 Manchester United

Manchester United were within touching distance of the top of the table before kick-off.

Four from Andy Lochhead and two from Willie Morgan hurt the Red Devils, who ultimately fell short, finishing four points behind Liverpool.

Burnley finished ninth and were one of the best home teams in the league, winning 14 and losing just four times in front of their fans.


Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-3 Aston Villa

The first half was drab. With the score 0-0 at half-time, both teams were lethargic like most are on Boxing Day. The match came to life in the second half, however.

Villa struggled away from home in 1963/64, winning just three times. They will have viewed this match as an opportunity missed. It has a strong claim as the most entertaining match of the day.


Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Bolton Wanderers

With other top clubs dropping points, Sheffield Wednesday took full advantage. Colin Dobson’s brace led the way for the Yorkshire club, who cruised past a struggling Bolton side.

Wednesday were five points off the top by the end of the day, but their title challenge never got much better than that. They finished sixth.

West Bromwich Albion 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham were the team to beat in the early 1960s. A double was followed by Cup Winners’ Cup glory in 1963, making them the first English club to win a European trophy.

Spurs were in the title race on Boxing Day, but they crumbled from 4-2 ahead to take a point from their trip to the Midlands.

Jimmy Greaves scored twice (he went on to finish top scorer) for Spurs. Clive Clarke, Micky Fudge, John Kaye and Don Howe saved the Baggies.


Liverpool 6-1 Stoke City

Not many Premier League tips would’ve predicted Stoke to beat Liverpool 6-1 in 2015. The reverse result on Boxing Day 1963 was less of a surprise.

Liverpool went on to win their sixth First Division title, and subsequently qualified for the European Cup. Their European Cup adventure ended in semi-final heartbreak as Inter staged a dramatic second leg comeback.


Nottingham Forest 3-3 Sheffield United

Nottingham Forest leapt out to a three-goal lead. On most days, that’s unassailable, but Boxing Day 1963 was not a normal day.

Mick Jones scored twice and Len Allchurch once as the Blades completed a dramatic comeback. The teams both finished in mid-table, separated by just two points.


*Credit for the main photo belongs to Alessandro Fucarini / AP Photo*

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.