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1957–58 in English football

1957–58 in English football

The 1957–58 season was the 78th season of competitive football in England.

The season ended with Wolverhampton Wanderers as First Division champions after scoring 103 goals and Bolton Wanderers as FA Cup winners. However, the season is remembered most for the Munich air disaster which occurred on 6 February 1958 and involved Manchester United on the return flight from a European Cup quarter-final win in Yugoslavia. 23 people died as a result of their injuries in the crash, including eight of the club's players.

Football in England
Men's football
First DivisionWolverhampton Wanderers
Second DivisionWest Ham United
Third Division NorthScunthorpe & Lindsey United
Third Division SouthBrighton & Hove Albion
FA CupBolton Wanderers
FA Amateur CupWoking
Charity ShieldManchester United
← 1956–57England1958–59


[1] In this season, Sunderland were relegated for the first time in their history. This was the last season in which Division 3 was split, North and South. Teams finishing between 2nd and 12th were placed in Division 3 the following season, the remainder in Division 4

Diary of the season

31 August 1957: The Manchester derby at Old Trafford sees United beat City 4-1 with goals from Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet.[2]

18 September 1957: In the First Division, Nottingham Forest beat Burnley 7–0, the first time they have scored seven without reply since 1950 in the Football League Third Division South.[3]

28 September 1957: Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester United at home 3-1 with two goals from Dennis Wilshaw and one from Norman Deeley.[4]

10 October 1957: The England squad to face Wales is announced, and features three newcomers. They are Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Eddie Hopkinson, Blackburn Rovers' Bryan Douglas and Don Howe of West Bromwich Albion.[5]

16 November 1957: Champions-to-be Wolverhampton Wanderers lose their 100% home record to local rivals West Bromwich Albion in a 1-1 draw. Until then the home team had won 8 successive home games scoring 27 goals against 5.[4]

1 December 1957: Harry Gregg becomes the world's most expensive goalkeeper in a £23,500 transfer from Doncaster Rovers to Manchester United.[6]

7 December 1957: Everton's Dave Hickson is sent off from their all-North West clash with Manchester City.[7]

13 December 1957: Evertonian Tony McNamara heads across Stanley Park to join Liverpool.[8]

25 December 1957: Tottenham Hotspur in their 1-0 home victory become only the second team (Everton did so in the first game of the season) in the whole season to prevent the Champions-to-be Wolverhampton Wanderers from scoring.[4]

3 January 1958: Liverpool add "much-wanted" Hibs inside forward Jimmy Harrower to their ranks, paying a fee that "tops £10,000".[8]

9–10 January 1958: Dave Hickson is suspended by the Football Association for 21 days, their disciplinary committee taking into account "the player’s record on previous misconduct"; Everton order him not to comment.[7]

15 January 1958: Manchester United manager Matt Busby accepts an offer to become manager of the Scotland national football team, while attending the under-23 international at Goodison Park between England and Scotland. Reports suggest Busby will assume command before the match between Scotland and a Scottish Football League XI on 3 February.[9]

1 February 1958: A thrilling First Division match at Highbury sees Manchester United defeat Arsenal 5–4.[10]

5 February 1958: Manchester United reach the European Cup semi-finals with a 3–3 draw (5–4 win on aggregate) in the quarter-final second leg against Red Star Belgrade in Yugoslavia.

6 February 1958: The Manchester United team plane crashes at Munich Airport in West Germany. 21 people are killed, including seven of the team's players (Roger Byrne, Geoff Bent, Eddie Colman, Bill Whelan, Tommy Taylor, David Pegg and Mark Jones) and three club officials (secretary Walter Crickmer, coach Tom Curry and trainer Bert Whalley). Also among the dead is journalist Frank Swift, the former Manchester City and England goalkeeper. 10 other players are injured, with doctors being particularly concerned about the conditions of winger Johnny Berry and left-half Duncan Edwards.[11] Manager Matt Busby is also seriously injured.[12]

19 February 1958: In their first game since the Munich air disaster, Manchester United (with a side mostly made up of reserve players) defeat Sheffield Wednesday 3–0 in the FA Cup fifth round at Old Trafford. However, the victory is overshadowed by news from Munich that the condition of Duncan Edwards has deteriorated once more.[13]

21 February 1958: Duncan Edwards (aged 21) dies in hospital from injuries sustained 15 days ago in the Munich air disaster.

13 March 1958: Liverpool's leading goalscorer, Tony Rowley, signs for Tranmere Rovers.[14]

12 April 1958: Woking win the FA Amateur Cup after victory over Ilford in the final 3–0, in front of a young Martin Tyler.[15]

26 April 1958: Wolverhampton Wanderers are crowned Champions after scoring their 103rd goal but are beaten by already-relegated Sheffield Wednesday in their last league game of the season, while in the Second Division the Anglo-Welsh derby between Bristol City and Swansea Town goes the way of the Welsh club.[16] Meanwhile, two England representative teams are in action, as the schoolboys win 3–1 over their Scottish equivalents at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000,[17] while the England amateurs drew 1–1 against France.[18]

3 May 1958: Nat Lofthouse scores both goals as Bolton Wanderers beat Manchester United 2–0 in the Final at Wembley to win the FA Cup for the fourth time.

Notable debutants

24 August 1957: Jimmy Greaves, 17-year-old forward, scores once on his debut for Chelsea in a First Division fixture against Tottenham Hotspur.[19]

28 September 1957: Gerry Byrne, 19-year-old left-back, makes his debut for illness-ravaged Liverpool.[20]

21 December 1957: Kenny Morgans, 18-year-old winger, makes his debut for Manchester United in First Division home match against Leicester City.[21]

19 February 1958: Shay Brennan, 20-year-old winger, scores twice on his debut for Manchester United as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 in the FA Cup third round, their first game after the Munich air disaster.[22]


First DivisionWolverhampton Wanderers (2)Preston North End
Second DivisionWest Ham UnitedBlackburn Rovers
Third Division NorthScunthorpe & Lindsey UnitedAccrington Stanley
Third Division SouthBrighton & Hove AlbionBrentford
FA CupBolton Wanderers (4)Manchester United
Charity ShieldManchester UnitedAston Villa
Home ChampionshipShared byEngland&Northern Ireland

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition


Football Writers' Association

Top goalscorer

Football League

First Division

The First Division title went to Wolves, still captained by Billy Wright and managed by Stan Cullis. Preston North End finished runners-up, while Tottenham Hotspur finished third thanks largely to the influence of captain and Footballer of the Year, Danny Blanchflower. West Bromwich Albion finished fourth and the top five was completed by Manchester City, who became the first and so far only club to both score and concede 100 goals in a league season. After the Munich air disaster, Manchester United won only one more league game and dipped to ninth place, although they did reach the FA Cup final, where they were beaten by Bolton Wanderers.

Sheffield Wednesday propped up the First Division and were the first side to go down, being joined soon after by a Sunderland side who had enjoyed the longest run in the First Division totaling nearly 70 years.

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGRPtsQualification or relegation
1Wolverhampton Wanderers422886103472.19164Qualified for the European Cup
2Preston North End422679100511.96159
3Tottenham Hotspur422191293771.20851
4West Bromwich Albion4218141092701.31450
5Manchester City42225151041001.04049
8Luton Town421961769631.09544
9Manchester United4216111585751.13343
10Nottingham Forest4216101669631.09542
13Birmingham City4214111776890.85439
14Aston Villa421671973860.84939
15Bolton Wanderers4214101865870.74738
17Leeds United421491951630.81037
18Leicester City4214523911120.81333
19Newcastle United421282273810.90132
21Sunderland4210122054970.55732Relegated to the Second Division
22Sheffield Wednesday421272369920.75031

Second Division

West Ham United topped the Second Division to secure First Division football for the first time in the postwar era, while Blackburn Rovers finished one point behind them in second place. Charlton Athletic missed out on an immediate return to the First Division by a single point, while Liverpool missed out on promotion by two points.

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGRPtsQualification or relegation
1West Ham United4223118101541.87057Promoted to the First Division
2Blackburn Rovers422212893571.63256
3Charlton Athletic4224711107691.55155
6Sheffield United4221101175501.50052
8Ipswich Town4216121468690.98644
9Huddersfield Town4214161263660.95544
10Bristol Rovers421781785801.06342
11Stoke City421861875731.02742
12Leyton Orient421851977790.97541
13Grimsby Town421761986831.03640
15Cardiff City421491963770.81837
16Derby County421482060810.74136
17Bristol City421392063880.71635
18Rotherham United4214523651010.64433
19Swansea Town421192272990.72731
20Lincoln City421192255820.67131
21Notts County421262444800.55030Relegated to the Third Division
22Doncaster Rovers428112356880.63627

Third Division North

Scunthorpe & Lindsey United sealed the Third Division North title by a comfortable margin and secured their place in the Second Division, while runners-up Accrington Stanley had the consolation of at least being able to play in the third of the league's fourth tiers following the decision to reorganize into four national divisions for the 1958-59 season.

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGRPtsQualification or relegation
1Scunthorpe & Lindsey United46298988501.76066Promoted to the Second Division
2Accrington Stanley462591283611.36159Qualified to the Third Division
3Bradford City4621151073491.49057
5Hull City4619151278671.16453
6Mansfield Town4622816100921.08752
7Halifax Town4620111583691.20351
9Stockport County4618111774671.10447
11Tranmere Rovers4618101882761.07946
13York City4617121768760.89546Transferred to the Fourth Division
15Oldham Athletic4614171572840.85745
16Carlisle United461962180781.02644
17Hartlepools United4616121873760.96144
22Bradford Park Avenue4613112268950.71637
23Southport461162952880.59128Re-elected to the Fourth Division
24Crewe Alexandra46873147930.50523

Third Division South

Brighton & Hove Albion won promotion to the Second Division as champions of the Third Division South.

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGRPtsQualification or relegation
1Brighton & Hove Albion4624121088641.37560Promoted to the Second Division
2Brentford4624101282561.46458Qualified to the Third Division
3Plymouth Argyle462581367481.39658
4Swindon Town4621151079501.58057
7Southend United4621121390581.55254
8Norwich City4619151275701.07153
9Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic462191681741.09551
10Queens Park Rangers4618141464650.98550
11Newport County4617141573671.09048
12Colchester United4617131677790.97547
13Northampton Town461962187791.10144Transferred to the Fourth Division
14Crystal Palace4615131870720.97243
15Port Vale4616102067581.15542
17Shrewsbury Town4615102149710.69040
19Coventry City4613132061810.75339
21Torquay United4611132249740.66235
23Millwall461192663910.69231Re-elected to the Fourth Division
24Exeter City461192657990.57631

Top goalscorers

First Division

Second Division

  • Tommy Johnston (Leyton Orient / Blackburn Rovers) – 43 goals[23]

Third Division North

  • Alf Ackerman (Carlisle United) – 35 goals[24]

Third Division South

  • Derek Reeves (Southampton) and Sammy McCrory (Southend United) – 31 goals[24]


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