The photo above was on the back page of the Sunday People, published the day after.
I remember being somewhat gutted that I can almost be seen – but not quite! I am fourth in the right hand line, but just blocked by the guy in front – I think fellow competition winner, John Colson – who is no doubt turning to me to comment on the atmosphere as we emerge from the tunnel and onto the pitch. Pity he didn’t keep up with Steve Tongue and George Best ahead of him, as I would have been firmly in shot then!
I am pretty sure I scanned all the papers that day up at the local WH Smith’s (or possibly Lavells newsagent, as I don’t think Smiths opened on a Sunday in those days). I would imagine that most of the Sunday papers would have carried some form of match report of the Brentford v Wigan match itself, but of course I was probably only interested in anything that mentioned the game I had played in. It’s possible that my minimum criteria for buying a copy would have been a photo too.
So, here are cuttings from the two papers I found that did cover it – The Sunday People, and The News Of The World.
I have the complete copies of each newspaper, fascinating to see the stories they wrote about, the adverts and the TV guide and so on. For now though, here are scans of the top half of each front page and also the relevant press cuttings about the match.
As can be seen from the headline – “Fans joy in friendly final” – the line taken by the newspaper, and echoed in the quote from Frank McLintock, is very much that this was a family day out, and a world away from the tragedy at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium, which had occurred just a few days earlier, on Tuesday 29th May. 39 Juventus fans died trying to escape from rioting fans, alleged to be Liverpool supporters, during the European Cup Final. You can see more on this story in the main accompanying stories on the same page.
Meanwhile….in the Sunday People….their front cover, amongst other stories, did cover the Heysel Stadium story….
…and the photo of the players coming out on the pitch was accompanied by a small match report on the Freight Rover Trophy final itself.
As an Arsenal fan and a Londoner, I would have much rather seen Brentford win the game – but sadly they didn’t. Manager Frank McLintock was of course, the Arsenal captain in the 1971 season when the team had won “The Double”, claiming both the top-tier Division One title and the FA Cup, beating Liverpool in extra-time in the final, thanks to Charlie George’s famous winner.