“That looked very much like a right hook by Johnny Giles,” said Barry Davies midway through the second half of the 1974 Charity Shield. In those days, however, the days of Dirty Leeds (although here they were managed, for the first time, by Brian Clough, who wanted to clean up Leeds’ image – we all know how that went), a right hook in a showpiece final resulted in a yellow card and no more. Bearing that in mind, it’s a minor miracle that Kevin Keegan and Billy Bremner were sent off.
In Keegan’s defence, Leeds had targeted him all game, and by targeted I mean kicked every shade of shit out of him. Even Clough took the Liverpool man’s side, saying afterwards: “Bremner’s behaviour was scandalous. He seemed intent on making Kevin Keegan’s afternoon an absolute misery. He kicked him just about everywhere, until it became only a matter of time before a confrontation exploded. Keegan was a victim, not a culprit. I told Bremner afterwards he should pay compensation for the period Keegan was suspended.”
Keegan takes a swing at Bremner
Two weeks after the match, which Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties, the FA charged Keegan and Bremner with bringing the game into disrepute. On top of their automatic three-match suspensions for being sent off, the FA fined the pair £500 each and banned them until the end of September. Before September was half done, Clough was sacked by Leeds, the manager having failed spectacularly to win over the dressing room. When Bremner returned from serving his suspension, the club had no manager (Jimmy Armfield took over on 4th October). It truly was a turbulent time for English football, as it was for Britain.
Only skewed nostalgia would make anyone but a Leeds fan yearn for days like these, but, still, you can bet that this weekend’s Community Shield showdown between champions Liverpool and FA Cup winners Arsenal will be sterile by comparison, and not just because there will be no fans inside Wembley.
Extended highlights of the infamous game: