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"Hunt loses his rag (1968-69)" by Frank Dacey


Not really a ‘Magic Moment’ this one, but it was certainly a memorable one. Drawing Leicester in the FA Cup in the 60s left Liverpool fans feeling like a vampire looking at a bottle of holy water; nervously worried about an upset.

So when the 5th round draw sent us to Filbert Street memories of the 1963 semi-final it was regarded as a difficult assignment. However, when the initial game was drawn, optimism abounded that the Reds would win through. After all, we’d thumped Leicester 4-0 at home earlier in the season. What could possibly go wrong?

In front of a 55,000 crowd the Reds failed to repeat the rocket-like start of the league game, when they’d been 4-0 up in 12 minutes. Indeed, it was Leicester who took the lead in the 34th minute through Andy Lochhead, a big bruiser of a centre-forward. Just 6 minutes later, Liverpool were awarded a penalty kick in front of the Kop. Up stepped Tommy Smith and away dived Peter Shilton to pull off a great save.

Bill Shankly used to watch games from the director’s box so, when a game was going wrong, people had one eye on the pitch and one eye on the player’s tunnel to see if Shanks would come down to order a change be made. With 20 minutes to go, Shankly appeared by the dugout and Bobby Graham was prepared to come on. With no electronic boards then, substitutions were made by some magic process of hand signals, and to Anfield’s astonishment it became clear that Roger Hunt was going to come off.

Hunt was leading scorer, a club legend and had never been subbed before. He was clearly furious and threw his shirt down on the pitch before storming off to the dressing room. A stunned crowd watched the game die out into a tame defeat but all talk afterwards was about ‘Sir Roger’. Opinion was mixed. Many thought that Hunt was a club legend who deserved to be treated with more respect but there were those who thought that the manager’s decision had to be respected and that Hunt had set a terrible example.

Shankly and Hunt quickly patched up their differences but it was clear that his time at Anfield was limited and that the great 60s team was on the verge of break up.


Team: Lawrence, Lawler, Strong, Smith, Yeats, Hughes, Callagahan, Hunt (Graham), Evans, St John, Thompson:




Season: 1968/69
Opposition: Leicester City
Result: 0-1
Scorers
Venue: Anfield


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14 Comments

I don't remember the game myself, but I do remember the furore, with my dad and his mates going on about it.  Same as it ever was...

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Good job there was no internet back then eh?

 

Who did your dad side with, Hunt or Shanks?

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I can't remember, but there was a big sense of shock that Hunt had been so blatant in his anger. It was like a king having a strop with a god. It was the first time I remember anyone challenging authority in football. The thought of anyone standing up to Shankly or even to Harry Catterick just hadn't occurred to most fans.

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to be fair Sir Roger had a very poor game and had looked out of sorts for a while. what was surprising was his reaction, not the substitution. Shanks played him in midfield for a few games after this, with the Saint and went with a mobile young three of Graham, Evans and Peter Thompson which tore a few teams apart before almost all the forwards got knee problems. They were frustrating times and a lotof us on the kop could see it wastime to change the side as Leeds and the blues were starting to overtake us.
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I've always thought we sold Sir Roger a year or two early but no sympathy or loyalty to players in those days. They belonged to the club and that was that.

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I taught Keegan & Bremner all they know.

 

If anybody annoys me now on the pools panel, the jacket's the first to go.

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What made the substitution a little more embarrassing for Roger was that we were attacking the Anfield Road and the game had stopped fro a corner or free kick for us and everyone had gone into the Leicester penalty area. The signals from the bench weren't getting through to the players so the referee went to the sideline, spoke to Shankly or Paisley and then ran back to the players finger pointing at Roger Hunt.

 

Hunt just stood there for a couple of seconds, quite as dumbfounded as us fans, before marching off, obviously very upset. As he got to the dugout he just pulled off his shirt and threw it to the ground, not at any of the management team. It was pretty saddening in every sense; Bill Shankly making what was generally thought to be a bad substitution - Hunt, even in poor form, was still our most likely source of a goal - Sir Roger's reaction was an act of petulance from somebody who we thought was above such nonsense, and we got knocked out of the FA Cup.

 

Hunt later apologised. Shankly, although never going as far as to admit as much, probably knew that it was a badly handled incident. But Bill was the boss and his decision had to be respected no matter how much it aggrieved a player. For me, Hunt's reaction was wrong but the circumstances that provoked it made his anger understandable. 

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I was only ten in the stands with my dad and this has conjured up a distant memory, I can see him now going to the tunnel taking his shirt off but obviously can't comment on the game. Was true sir roger was never booked ? , as I recall me dad saying that bobby Charlton told him that your ankles would be black and blue after playing against him , funny how things bring a mental image back. Anyhow pity Torah boy couldn't recall some questions in the pub quiz a few years ago as well as that incident, how are you anyway? A howdy from down south and I'm going to look up details about the said match, weren't they a bit of a bogey team too at the time? , as I can vaguely recall a cup round with a few replays.
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I was only ten in the stands with my dad and this has conjured up a distant memory, I can see him now going to the tunnel taking his shirt off but obviously can't comment on the game. Was true sir roger was never booked ? , as I recall me dad saying that bobby Charlton told him that your ankles would be black and blue after playing against him , funny how things bring a mental image back. Anyhow pity Torah boy couldn't recall some questions in the pub quiz a few years ago as well as that incident, how are you anyway? A howdy from down south and I'm going to look up details about the said match, weren't they a bit of a bogey team too at the time? , as I can vaguely recall a cup round with a few replays.

 

That quiz was quite difficult, and we did have Sammy Aftershave to carry as well.

 

Leicester were a bogey side for us when we got back into the 1st division. In 1963 they beat us home and away in the league and beat us in the semi-final of The FA Cup at Hillsborough. They'd get a lead and defend with everyone back in their own half. Fuckers to break down, and we didn't score against them until the following season at Filbert Street.in one of the Easter fixtures that set us up for the championship. Yet even that season they had won at Anfield. The supporters hated playing them but Shankly insisted that they were the only team we learned from after promotion. It was learning the hard way. Though  Bill Shankly had tremendous respect for them and their manager, Matt Gillies.

 

Hope things are all shipshape down there, JC. Next time you're in this vicinity we'll take on the mighty brain power of The Crown's intellectuals again. Just hope there's more than twenty snoots in the pot next time.

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Outrageous defamation of my good name and reputation. I've instructed Tony Blair to breathe the fire of war up your bottom.

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Outrageous defamation of my good name and reputation. I've instructed Tony Blair to breathe the fire of war up your bottom.

 

 

Let Blair get close enough to my arse  and I'll extinguish his 'breath of fire' with a torrent of Erdinger fueled, scalding, fizzy gravy. .

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Yes look forward to that and I suppose what shanks says goes though I reckon the wretched Blair might be able to forward some advice for a reasonable price. Anyway back to summarizing Proust and hopefully Sammy could brush up on his general knowledge so we could win copious amounts of ale.
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It was in my first season of going to Anfield. I just remember deep disappointment. I was probably finding it easier to relate to the younger players who seemed fresh like myself! The great 60's side seemed to belong to the older fans, so I related to Hughes,Graham,Heighway etc. So the subbing didn't affect me and the reaction only hit when the papers got onto it.
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Let Blair get close enough to my arse  and I'll extinguish his 'breath of fire' with a torrent of Erdinger fueled, scalding, fizzy gravy. .

 

Is it on 'clearance'?

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