Everyone knows the history of enmity between Liverpool and Manchester United, however, the same history tells us that the players of the two teams had previously cooperated, to present what was later known as the first proven scandal for manipulating English Premier League matches, more than 100 years ago, so what is the story?
In the 1914-1915 season, specifically on April 2, 1915, Manchester United hosted its counterpart Liverpool at Old Trafford, hoping to achieve a victory that would help it stay in the First Division and avoid relegation, especially since the Reds did not need to win, as the team occupied position in the middle of the league table.
United advanced with two goals in the first half of the match, and the Liverpool players did not show any reaction that indicated a desire to return in the match, so that the meeting ended, and the most important story begins at that time.
“It was the strangest match I’ve played in my life.”
John Sharp, referee of the Liverpool-Manchester United match.
Why did Sharpe describe the match like this? According to those who watched the match, during the second half of the match, one of the United players deliberately missed a penalty kick that almost killed the match with a clean score of three, but the most important thing is; There was news coming out of the Liverpool dressing room, confirming the reproach of some of the team’s players to striker “Fred Bagnam” for his attempt to score a goal against the Manchester team.
In the same regard, the newspaper “Manchester Daily Dispatch” published its report on the match under the headline: “Liverpool defeated — lifeless football in the second half“According to other reports, United coach John Robson was disgusted with the scene of the second half, to leave the field before the final whistle, although this victory was enough to save the team from relegation to the second division, and the relegation of Chelsea in their place.
A week after the “Good Friday” match, reports spread about the players’ leniency, in a way that raises suspicion, which calls for an investigation into the truth of what happened during it.
Liverpool and Manchester United players involved
The English Football Association opened an extensive investigation to reveal the circumstances surrounding this match, and it became clear that Liverpool and Manchester United players participated in manipulating the outcome of the match, but why?
It was later discovered that the bets placed on the outcome of “Manchester United beat Liverpool by two goals to nothing” were huge amounts, meaning that the person who bet on the victory of United may win 7 times the person who bet on the victory of the Reds.
On December 27, 1915, he banned Sandy Turnbull, Arthur Whaley and Knocker West from Manchester United, along with Jackie Sheldon, who was later claimed to be the conspiracy leader, Tom Miller and Bob Purcell. And Tom Vervall has played football for life.
Some players refused to participate in the fraud, and even “Fred Bagnam” of Liverpool and “Anderson”, a United player, later testified against their teammates.
Although 7 players were convicted and suspended, none of the officials of the two clubs was proven to be involved, and therefore no penalties were imposed on the same clubs, and no points were deducted from both teams.
Muddy water fishing
Arsenal owner Sir Henry Norris held a grudge against Liverpool FC, believing the Reds had slacked off during one of their matches against Chelsea in the 1912–13 season, which led to Arsenal’s relegation to the Second Division.
After the end of World War I, the Football League met in Manchester in March 1919 to chart the future of English football after the war, when it was proposed to increase the two main divisions – which had previously consisted of 20 clubs – to 22 clubs.
The feeling among members was that Chelsea, who finished second from below in the First Division ahead of Tottenham, would return to the First Division without a vote, while the identity of the remaining team was voted on.
Norris took advantage of his political relations and threatened the League of Clubs to impose government sanctions on it, accusing it of corrupting English football, if Arsenal did not get the remaining seat, even if it did not deserve it, according to the results of the last league before the start of the war.
Indeed, the identity of the team that will join the Premier League has been voted, and Arsenal received 18 votes, compared to only 8 votes for Tottenham, and it is believed that Norris’ threat had the effect of magic in Arsenal’s restoration of its place in the first division, at the expense of Tottenham, who deserved this seat according to for results.
According to some reports, the Arsenal owner was well aware that his moves were unethical, but he didn’t think so, in his opinion; The story of Liverpool and Manchester United went unnoticed, so there is no objection to fishing in murky water.
finally; Perhaps the match between Liverpool and Manchester United in 1915 was nothing but a match that “set” the players of the two teams – its predetermined result – but its effects extended, to benefit some parties, and harm others.
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