This January, Prostate Cancer UK is aiming to wake up the nation
to a disease that kills 10,000 men every year by launching the Sledgehammer Fund. In
recognition of this, and to celebrate the fact that Prostate Cancer
UK is the Official Charity Partner of The Football League in
2012-13, we asked footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke to pick
nine of the greatest hammerings in the history of the league – a
nod to the fact that one in nine men in the UK will be affected by
To make a £5 donation to the Sledgehammer Fund, text CRACK to
Read on for Adrian’s top Football League hammerings…
That's entertainment: Norwich fans were thrilled to see a goalfest. Photo courtesy of Action Images
Nottingham Forest 12-0 Leicester Fosse,
Before kick off, this top-flight east Midlands clash was dubbed a
relegation four-pointer (no three points for a win in those days)
but Forest ran riot, with a trio of players scoring hat-tricks in
the same match for the first time in football history. Rival clubs
lodged a protest at Leicester’s seemingly inept display; it
transpired that their players had embarked on a 24-hour bender
after a former team-mate’s wedding, which finished in the early
hours of match-day morning.
Tranmere Rovers 13-4 Oldham Athletic,
Back in the days when teams would face each other twice in two
days in a Christmas double-header, these two sides gifted their
fans a sackful of goals. Having suffered a 4-1 tonking at the hands
of Oldham on Christmas Day, a rejuvenated Tranmere side spanked
their rivals the following day. Nine strikes from the brilliantly
named Bunny Bell helped contribute to the Football League’s
highest-ever aggregate score.
Gillingham 10-0 Chesterfield, 1987
What do you do when you’ve just beaten Southend 8-1 at home? Far
from resting on their laurels, Gillingham’s class of 1987 followed
up with a thumping 10-0 win at home to Chesterfield. That’s 18
goals in two home games, with the net bulging once every 10
minutes. The Gills couldn’t keep up such prolific form in Division
Three, however – they failed to score in nine home matches and
manager Keith Peacock was sacked at Christmas.
Barnet 1-9 Peterborough United, 1998
“I gave up celebrating after five because I was knackered,”
chuckled Posh boss Barry Fry, who did a pretty bad impression of
feeling sorry for his former club after his side’s ruthless mauling
of the beleaguered Bees. Two red cards in the first hour didn’t aid
the north Londoners’ cause, but there was little they could do to
contain five-time goalscorer Giuliano Grazioli – a player they had
tried to sign the week before.
Burnley 2-7 Sheffield Wednesday, 2003
This stunning away win led to a collective scratching of heads
among Owls fans who were mourning the club’s relegation to the
third tier of English football. Why it took confirmation that they
were doomed to the drop for Chris Turner’s men to suddenly stop
playing like a team of strangers remains a mystery, but at least
they went out with a bang against mid-table Burnley.
Preston North End 6-0 Cardiff City, 2009
This April drubbing still gives former Cardiff manager Dave Jones
nightmares. At first, it appeared to be nothing more than an
unusually one-sided encounter between two Championship play-off
rivals. A few weeks later, however, the teams ended the season on
equal points and tied on a goal difference of +12. Only one of them
could qualify for the play-offs, so what was the deciding factor?
Preston had scored 66 goals to Cardiff’s 65. Ouch.
Norwich City 1-7 Colchester United, 2009
Carrow Road fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing on the
opening day of the 2009-10 season, when Paul Lambert’s unheralded
team tore Norwich apart in their first League One match in half a
century. The Canaries’ board members were so impressed that they
ditched manager Bryan Gunn and replaced him with Lambert 10 days
later. It was a wise move; Norwich ended the season promoted as
Millwall 1-6 Watford, 2010
Kenny Jackett’s Millwall had made the New Den a fortress during
their promotion campaign in 2009-10, failing to lose in front of
Lions fans in 10 glorious months. For the September visit of London
rivals Watford, however, it all went massively pear-shaped and the
unfancied Hornets stung the hosts with a thorough trouncing.
Dagenham & Redbridge 6-0 Morecambe,
Imagine producing blood, sweat and tears for nine months in order
to reach the League Two play-offs, only to blow your chance of a
trip to Wembley within the space of 69 horrible minutes. Morecambe,
stand up and take a bow. Yes, in 2010 the deadly Daggers cruised to
an easy 6-0 first leg semi-final victory over the Shrimps – a
play-off record – with the damage done in little over an hour.
Have we missed a high-scoring game that sticks in your
memory? Let us know in the comments section below.
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