Brian Viner: Chronicles of future past from almanac of nostalgia

Nobody in the last century headed a ball harder than Dixie Dean

Nostalgia, they say, ain't what it used to be. They, of course, whoever
they are, are dead wrong. Nostalgia is much, much bigger than it used to be, in sport as everywhere else.

Nostalgia, they say, ain't what it used to be. They, of course, whoever they are, are dead wrong. Nostalgia is much, much bigger than it used to be, in sport as everywhere else.

The first column of a new year offers an irresistible opportunity to look forward to some of the events at which we will spend 2003 looking back, such as baseball's inaugural World Series and the first Tour de France, both of which illuminated 1903. It also allows me to anticipate some notable sporting birthdays, the first of which falls this very day, as dear old Terry Venables turns 60.

Venables might have ducked and dived a bit in his time, but for truly unforgettable ducking and diving, 27 January marks the 30th anniversary of perhaps the greatest rugby union try, by the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park, the astonishing sidesteps of Phil Bennett finished off by the electric pace of Gareth Edwards, via JPR Williams, John Pullin, John Dawes, Tom David, and Derek Quinnell. "Brilliant, oh that's brilliant," rhapsodised Cliff Morgan in the commentary box, 25 seconds later bawling "what a score!", so ensuring that those of us who weren't there will never forget it.

February brings some less happy anniversaries. On the eighth it will be 20 years since the kidnapping of the Aga Khan's great Derby winner, Shergar, and on the 24th 10 years since the death of Bobby Moore. However, another two legends still very much alive reach landmark birthdays next month: Michael Jordan turns 40 on the 17th, Sir Bobby Robson 70 the following day.

On 30 March, it will be 30 years since Red Rum won his first Grand National, Brian Fletcher riding him brilliantly to beat Richard Pitman on Crisp by less than a length, having trailed by nearly 30 lengths at the Canal Turn second time around. And a less glorious Aintree memory, on 3 April it will be 10 years since the false-start fiasco, with Jenny Pitman's Esha Ness winning the "Grand National that wasn't" to gain a place in sporting trivia quizzes for the rest of time.

Speaking of trivia, let's consider the FA Cup, which I and fellow Evertonians know to be an unimportant competition, early exit from which is recommended if a team are to focus on doing well in the League. On 18 April 1903, however, when it really mattered, Bury beat Derby County by what remains the biggest winning margin in FA Cup final history, 6-0.

Half a century later, an even more memorable final took place; on 2 May it will be 50 years since Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in a match known as the "Matthews final", except by the late Stanley Matthews himself, who liked to point out that it was Stan Mortensen who scored a hat-trick.

While we're talking great feats of goalscoring, May brings the 75th anniversary of the greatest: on 5 May 1928, Everton's Dixie Dean went into the last match of the season, against Arsenal at Goodison Park, requiring two goals to equal the record of 59 in a season. He scored three.

Nobody in the last century headed a football harder than Dean, nor could anyone spin a cricket ball quite like Shane Warne. The 10th anniversary of the so-called "ball of the century", the one in the first England v Australia Test at Old Trafford that turned 18 inches to remove Mike Gatting's off-stump bail and restore the reputation of leg-spin bowling, will fall on 4 June.

Indeed, June is a big month for cricket anniversaries. On the 11th, it will be 50 years since Len Hutton became England's first professional captain, and on the 19th, 100 years since the birth of Wally Hammond, one of the finest of English all-rounders. "I have never seen a batsman so strong on the off-side and as a slip fieldsman he ranked as one of the greatest," wrote Don Bradman after Hammond's death, in July 1965.

On 10 July, it will be 50 years since Ben Hogan won the Open Championship in his one and only attempt at it, and on the 20th another of England's 1966 World Cup heroes, Roger Hunt, becomes an old-age pensioner. On the 22nd Jimmy Hill, still blethering, turns 75; Graham Gooch will be 50 the following day, as will Ossie Ardiles on 3 August, 25 years since he dramatically arrived at Tottenham Hotspur. Sam Torrance joins the half-centurions on 24 August.

How many more birthdays George Best will see is a matter of constant conjecture, but one fervently hopes he'll be around to celebrate, on 14 September, the 40th anniversary of his debut for Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. Exactly a month later a slightly more obscure anniversary occurs; on 14 October it will 125 years since a football match first took place under floodlights, at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.

The first week of November sees three wonderful footballers, Mark Hughes, Ian Wright and John Barnes, turning 40; on 29 November another one, Ryan Giggs, finally hits 30. But the big football anniversary in November takes place on the 25th, when it will be 50 years since English delusions of superiority were dealt a mortal blow by the brilliant Hungarians, led by Ferenc Puskas to a 6-3 goalfest at Wembley.

And finally, Harvey Smith is due his bus pass on 29 December. I hope he raises two fingers from the back seat.

b.viner@independent.co.uk

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
People walk through Autumn leaves in St James's Park yesterday
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher - Biology

£120 - £162 per day + UPS: Randstad Education Hull: Science Teacher required f...

Primary Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits