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We're just days away from the return of the football season and the traditional 'curtain raiser' that is the Community Shield. This year's game will see Manchester City tackle Chelsea at Villa Park, in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter to kickstart the 2012/13 season.
Over the years there have been plenty of twists and turns as well as changes to the competition which signals the new football season is not far away. Way back in 1974 the then FA secretary Ted Croker proposed that the game should be moved to the beginning of the season at Wembley as the start of the football calendar. The competition was originally known as the 'Charity Shield' from 1908 until 2002, when it changed to the Community Shield.
The game sees the winners of the Premier League do battle with the winners of the FA Cup, and although many call it a friendly, there have been some cracking moments in Community Shield history.
Although the game was way back in 1911, this fixture still holds the record for the highest scoring match in Community shield history. The fourth Charity Shield was contested by Manchester United (Football League winners 1910/11) and Swindon Town (Southern League winners 1910/11) at Stamford Bridge in front of 10,000 fans. Manchester United's Harold Halse scored six goals, a record for the most goals by an individual in a Charity Shield match.
On six occasions there have been Charity Shield games not contested by club sides. The 1950 fixture at Stamford Bridge featured England's World Cup team of that year and the FA team that had toured Canada. Nat Lofthouse got himself on the score sheet that day for the touring team but it wasn't enough to stop them losing 4-2.
If you ask most football fans about a memory from the Community shield then it's more than likely that this game will be mentioned. Tottenham keeper Pat Jennings stole the headlines that day when he scored from his own penalty area in this cracking match at Old Trafford in 1967. Eight minutes into the game, Jennings hoofed the ball down field hoping for a flick on, only for it to bounce in front of United keeper Alex Stepney and into the goal.
We return to the famous 1967 clash at Old Trafford, and another classic Community Shield moment. Commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme's famous line after Bobby Charlton's second goal that day is still remembered to this day. United broke down the left and Charlton met the ball at speed outside the box, before drilling the ball into the back of the net. Still in awe of the goal Wolstenholme said: "That was a goal good enough to win the league, the cup, the Charity Shield, the World Cup and even the Grand National."
The Charity Shield was taken to Wembley for the first time in 1974 as the FA attempted to improve the status of the traditional curtain raiser. 67,000 fans saw Liverpool overcome Leeds 6-5 on penalties but those who witnessed the game remember a brawl rather than the result. The rivalry between the two sides had heightened due to results in the league that season. The game marked Brian Clough's first match in charge of Leeds United, while Bill Shankly was bowing out of the game. Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan had clashed on a number of occasions already that day; the pair finally came to blows in the Leeds penalty area and had to be separated by players and officials. The duo then walked off the pitch with their shirts thrown to the ground in one of the most famous images from the Shield's history.
Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest had won the league in the previous season and had remained undefeated at the City Ground. Ipswich were playing without FA Cup winners Kevin Beattie and Allan Hunter at the heart of the defence. Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill scored a brace before being substituted but Forest added another late on to win the game 5-0. Neither side have played in a Charity Shield since, nor has the score-line that day ever been beaten.
The 70th Charity Shield match saw Eric Cantona steal the limelight, three months before his move to Leeds' bitter rivals Manchester United. The Frenchman would make football history that season by becoming the first player to win a Championship medal with different clubs in successive seasons. Cantona put Leeds ahead but calamity defending from both sides saw the score reach 2-2. The forward then put Leeds ahead from close range before capitalising on a Bruce Grobbelaar error to head home. An embarrassing moment for Leeds captain Gordon Strachan saw it finish 4-3 but Cantona went home with the match ball and the plaudits.
In the 1993 final players wore squad numbers on the back of their shirts following the Premier League's introduction of them that season. A young Roy Keane made his debut for United in the heart of the midfield in what was a tense and close encounter. Ian Wright scored a sublime, first-time goal chipping Peter Schmeichel from outside the box. The game went to penalties where United won 5-4, after Schmeichel saved David Seaman's penalty.
It is 17 years since a Charity Shield game took place between two teams who don't include Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United. Blackburn Rovers had done brilliantly to win the Premier League the year before and they were looking to win in what was their second successive final. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, with Everton's Vinny Samways scoring the winning goal in the 57th minute.
Liverpool's victory over Chelsea was the last game played in the Community Shield at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Over 56,000 people travelled to the game in Wales that day to see John Arne Riise produce a moment of brilliance to help Liverpool on their way to victory. Chelsea fans were ecstatic to see new signing Andriy Shevchenko score on his debut for the club, but it was Riise's goal that will be remembered. The left-back picked up the ball from inside Liverpool's penalty box, before running the length of the pitch and firing the ball into the bottom corner past Cudicini.
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