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Cup final of 1958


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I was talking to my old man last night (who has been a Chelsea fan since the early 1950's) about the cup final and we got talking about the incident where Giggs bundled Cech and the ball over the line.

He brought up an interesting point - about why goalkeepers were originally given protection.

In the 1958 final, Man United goalkeeper Harry Gregg caught a high ball on his goal line. Bolton striker Nat Lofthouse then shoulder-charged him and bundled Harry Gregg and the ball over the line, seriously injuring Gregg in the process. The goal was awarded - as it was considered a shoulder-to-shoulder challange and Bolton won the cup final 2-0.

Immediately after the match, the FA reviewed the incident and made new laws to protect goalkeepers so that basically any contact with the goalkeeper was considered a foul. The new laws were designed specifically to stop strikers trying to bundle goalkeepers over the line with the ball.

So - it is very quite funny to me that today, Man United fans everywhere are complaining that Giggs's "goal" should have stood. A bit of a look back at history and they should be on our side. The fact of the matter is that Cech had full control of the ball in front of the goalline and contact with Giggs pushed him over the line.

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The sad people who are arguing that it was a goal are clutching at straws. The ref used some common sense, played on and no harm done to anyone. Giggs knows that if he'd lifted it 6 inches he'd have scored - the rest was pure desperation.

As for the old custom of slamming into the keeper with the ball, the pre-match build-up on the BBC showed loads of clips from old finals and there was one where the keeper caught the ball virtually on his goaline whilst facing one of his posts, and proceeded to launch it for the touchline as soon as he possibly could - basically before anyone could shoulder charge him into the goal. Seems it was part of the game, hence the rule that allowed keepers to run with the ball in their area as long as they bounced it a couple of times - almost to underline the fact that the ball was in play at all times!

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Well, this is awkward!

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Sure, let me in!