Prior to 1965, teams had a best XI – with a travelling squad member in case of illness – and that was your lot. The team would finish just as they had started, regardless of any mishaps in the 90 minutes. It’ll come as no surprise that Leicester City, alongside every other team, suffered as a result of this.
Because no, it isn’t the case that on-field injuries only happen in today’s game - your star striker is just as likely to pull his hamstring now, as he was 60-odd years ago.
For those familiar with the remarkable story of Bert Trautmann’s career, you’ll only be too aware of the detrimental effect of pushing a player to continue.
Trautmann, playing for Manchester City in the 1956 FA Cup Final, took a knee to the neck. Despite being knocked unconscious, and in obvious discomfort, he saw out the final 17 minutes of the game. It later transpired his neck had broken in the challenge.
Leicester too had an FA Cup Final injury which would cost the Club a genuine shot at glory.
It was the first of three finals City would leave empty-handed from in the 1960s. Leicester against Tottenham Hotspur, 1961, Wembley Stadium.
Len Chalmers, barely 19 minutes into the first half, came out of a challenge with a crippling leg-injury. He valiantly continued, but City were effectively playing with 10 men for the remainder of the final. The Foxes lost 2-0.
It would take an additional four years from City’s despairing injury before the FA would introduce substitutes. It came with strings attached. Managers were permitted to make just one substitution throughout the game, and only in the event of an injury.
City took advantage of this the very day it was etched into the laws. On 21 August, 1965, they faced Liverpool. Jimmy Goodfellow received the call-up to be the first ‘12th man’ and sat, looking on, for almost the entirety of the match, before Graham Cross went down with a hamstring injury in the 81st minute.
Not a good day for Cross – or for City, who lost 3-1 – but a defining day for English football.
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