(London version, 1965-1968)
ATV LONDON football
ATV were the original weekend broadcasters to commercial viewers in the London area when ITV was launched in 1955, yet it took a whole decade before ATV began televising Football League matches in October 1965. Some other ITV regional stations (Tyne Tees and Anglia) had been covering their local teams since September 1962 whilst BBC2 had introduced Match of the Day in August 1964, but none of these channels had the potential audience reach of ATV London (BBC2 could then only be received by those with brand new sets and UHF aerials) and so the opening edition of Star Soccer on 17th October 1965 would have been the first opportunity millions of fans had to watch weekend football highlights since the demise of BBCtv's Sports Special*.
1966 was, of course, England's turn at hosting and winning the World Cup, resulting in a surge in both attendances and viewing figures. Match of the Day was then switched from BBC2 to the widely available BBC1 and with other ITV regions now joining in the fun, the armchair fan had quickly gone from seeing virtually no coverage whatsoever, to watching weekly highlights on Saturday nights AND Sunday afternoons.
*A list of known matches covered by Sports Special is available on our 'Extra Time' page.
The original Star Soccer commentator/presenter was Peter Lorenzo, Hugh Johns then arrived from TWW (Television Wales and West) and he was joined by co-commentator Billy Wright (ex-England star and recent manager of Arsenal). Both Lorenzo and Wright went on to secure executive roles within ITV Sport whilst Johns became ITV's chief commentator, voicing four consecutive World Cup finals.
*Hugh Johns had a trial with ITV together with Barry Davies at a Fulham match during 1965/66.
The London teams
London had five top flight clubs at the time Star Soccer began, of which Tottenham Hotspur had to be considered top dogs having become the first club in the 20th century to win the coveted League and FA Cup double four years earlier, Bill Nicholson's team then retained the FA Cup in 1962 before going on to become the first English team to win a European trophy by lifting the Cup-Winners Cup in 1963 with a line-up including England's biggest star of the period - Signed from Chelsea, Jimmy Greaves was the top flight's leading scorer in four of the five season's before Star Soccer came on air, yet Tottenham Hotpsur's claim to be the capital's chief club was now being challenged by Chelsea and West Ham, the Hammers had won the FA Cup in 1964 and went on to repeat Spurs' Cup-Winners Cup triumph (this time at Wembley) whilst Chelsea, following their promotion in 1963, had finished 5th and 3rd and were now being linked with 'swinging London', the epicentre of global popular culture in the mid-1960's.
The opening Star Soccer season of 1965/66 saw Chelsea finish as the highest placed London club and West Ham soon became the focus of national attention following the World Cup as both of England's scorers in the final (Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters) as well the captain who lifted the Jules Rimet trophy (Bobby Moore) all plied their trade in the claret & blue. Arsenal, by their own standards, were very much in the doldrums during this period having not won anything since 1953, the 1965/66 season saw the Gunners finish in their lowest position since 1930. Fulham had, for the most part, struggled since their promotion in 1959 and they again narrowly avoided the drop.
ATV London's 2nd Division contingent was initially a choice of three; Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic and Leyton Orient. Millwall swapped places with Orient for the following season which saw 3rd Division Queens Park Rangers and their upcoming superstar Rodney Marsh win the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley and go on to win promotion as champions. That same year of 1967 saw the first all-London FA Cup final of the century, a timely antidote to Northern England's recent domination of League and Cup, Spurs beat Chelsea to win the trophy for the 3rd time in seven season's. Arsenal were now improving and reached the 2nd Wembley League Cup final in 1968 (this time to be televised by ATV London) but the Gunners lost to Leeds and the top five league places in '67/68 were all taken by Northern teams. Fulham were finally relegated but were surprisingly replaced by QPR who were now looking forward to their first ever season among the elite.
The end of ATV
Star Soccer's run lasted for eighteen season's, though only three of these were seen in London. In July 1968 the ITV franchise map was redrawn, ATV had been awarded a seven-day Midlands contract leaving London Weekend Television (LWT) to take over Friday night/Saturday/Sunday broadcasting to the capital, which in turn heralded the introduction of The Big Match and Brian Moore (see here) whilst Hugh Johns and Billy Wright moved with ATV to the Midlands (here).
The Monday to Friday commercial television service for the capital during the ATV London era was provided by Rediffusion. Weekday football fixtures shown on that channel are dealt with on our Midweek page, Kent Walton is thought to have commentated on most of the early matches covered by Rediffusion, Bill Grundy (better known as a chat show host who's TV career was later ruined by his interview with the Sex Pistols in 1976) is also said to have done some mid-week commentaries in the mid-1960's (though he had originally worked for Granada and was still with them until at least late-1962), and Barry Davies (later to become a household name as a BBC commentator) began his career behind the mic at Chelsea for Rediffusion in February 1966.
were shown on ATV London
The following lists detail all of the Saturday matches recorded by ATV London cameras for local highlights, the practice of showing a 2nd/3rd match courtesy of other region's did not begin until after ATV London's demise. Given dates are for when the fixture was played (not the broadcast). Non-London based matches are in italics. "ITC export" denotes that a film recording is known to have been distributed to TV stations abroad and may still exist.
"Star Soccer" was first broadcast in a 2:15-2:50pm slot on Sunday 17th October 1965, London region only, in 405-line black & white on VHF.
16/Oct West Ham United 4 (Sissons, Britt 2, Peters) Sheffield Wednesday 2 (Brown(og), Wilkinson)
23/Oct Leyton Orient 2 (Webb, Price) Bury 2 (Bell, Pointer)
30/Oct Fulham 2 (Key, Leggat) Newcastle United 0
06/Nov Brentford 1 (Higginson) Millwall 2 (Curran, Wilson)
20/Nov *now 2:40-3:20pm
27/Nov Fulham 1 (Haynes) Northampton Town 4 (Brown 3, Hunt) *Rodney Marsh went in goal after Tony Macedo broke his jaw on 25mins.
04/Dec Crystal Palace 0 Cardiff City 0 *Listed in News of the World, Sunday People, Sunday Times
11/Dec Tottenham Hotspur 4 (Gilzean 2, Jones 2) Chelsea 2 (Graham, Bridges) *News of the World, Sunday People, Sunday Times
18/Dec No programme this weekend *showed Rugby Union
01/Jan Fulham 1 (Leggat) Arsenal 0 *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
08/Jan Chelsea 2 (Graham, Osgood) Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Mackay(pen)) *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
15/Jan No programme this weekend *showed Motor racing
22/Jan No programme this weekend *FA Cup 3rd Round day
29/Jan West Ham United 4 (Sissons, Peters, Hurst 2(1pen)) West Bromwich A. 0 *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
05/Feb Chelsea 2 (Tambling, Osgood) Fulham 1 (Leggat) *NOTW & Sunday Times, People lists ABC's match
12/Feb No programme this weekend *FA Cup 4th Round day, ATV showed Rugby Union
19/Feb Tottenham Hotspur 4 (Jones 3, Saul) Fulham 3 (Leggat, Barrett, Earle) *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
26/Feb *NOTW lists Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur which was postponed.
05/Mar No programme this weekend *FA Cup 5th Round day
12/Mar Chelsea 2 (Tambling, Graham) Manchester United 0 *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
19/Mar No programme this weekend *showed Rugby Union
26/Mar West Ham United 1 (Hurst) Fulham 3 (Earle, Barrett, Leggat) *NOTW & Sunday Times
02/Apr Networked coverage of Scotland 3 (Law, Johnstone 2) England 4 (Hurst, Hunt 2, R Charlton) [Home Int.] *Sunday highlights, not live.
09/Apr Chelsea 6 (Graham 2, Venables(pen), Tambling 2, Harris) West Ham United 2 (Harris(og), Bennett) *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
16/Apr West Ham United 2 (Byrne(pen), Brabrook) Arsenal 1 (Baldwin) *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
23/Apr Arsenal 1 (Sammels) Sunderland 1 (Hurley) *People, NOTW, Sunday Times
30/Apr No programme this weekend
07/May No programme this weekend
Tommy Docherty's Chelsea were this season's top London side finishing 5th, the Blues were also FA Cup semi-finalists and reached the last 16 of the Fairs Cup, going out to AC Milan in a replay. Arsenal's lowest position in 36 years (14th) saw manager Billy Wright dismissed in the summer, Bill Nicholson's Spurs were 8th, Ron Greenwood's West Ham 12th and Vic Buckingham's Fulham narrowly escaped the drop in 20th. In the 2nd tier; Dick Graham's Palace finished 11th and Bob Stokoe's Charlton 16th. Dave Sexton left struggling Orient in December and they were ultimately relegated in 22nd. Down in the 3rd tier; Millwall were promoted as runners-up but manager Billy Gray resigned in April, QPR just missed out in 3rd with Les Allen netting 30 league goals, Watford were 12th and Brentford were relegated in 23rd. Fringe club Luton were 6th in the 4th tier with John O'Rourke scoring 32 times.
TVTimes clipping for the very first edition of "Star Soccer".
"Star Soccer" returned in a 2:50-3:35pm slot
20/Aug Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Mullery, Gilzean, Greaves) Leeds United 1 (Giles)
27/Aug Chelsea 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0
03/Sep Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Jones, Greaves 2) Arsenal 1 (Sammels) *Listed in The Sunday People & News of the World
10/Sep Charlton Athletic 1 (Saunders) Crystal Palace 1 (Woodruff) *People & NOTW
17/Sep Fulham 2 Leeds United 2 *People & NOTW
24/Sep Chelsea 3 (Osgood, Tambling 2) Arsenal 1 (Addison) *People & NOTW
01/Oct Fulham 3 (Earle, Clarke, Leggat) Tottenham Hotspur 4 (Gilzean, Robertson, Venables, Greaves) *People & NOTW
08/Oct West Ham United 2 (Peters, Hurst) Everton 3 (Young, Temple 2) *NOTW
15/Oct Fulham 4 (Earle, Clarke 2, Burnett(og)) West Ham United 2 (Byrne, Hurst) *People & NOTW
22/Oct Home International
29/Oct Tottenham Hotspur 0 Aston Villa 1 (Chatterley) *People & NOTW
05/Nov Chelsea 1 (Hollins) Manchester United 3 (Aston 2, Best)
12/Nov Fulham 5 (Pearson, Clarke 2, Conway, Parmenter) Aston Villa 1 (Tindall) *People and NOTW. One viewer recalls Spurs v West Ham
19/Nov Arsenal 1 (McLintock) Fulham 0 *People & NOTW
26/Nov Tottenham Hotspur 5 (Mullery, Jones 2, Mackay, Greaves(pen)) Southampton 3 (Davies 2, Paine) *People & NOTW
03/Dec Arsenal 0 Burnley 0 *People & NOTW. Westward began showing "Star Soccer" from this weekend
10/Dec Fulham 3 (Clarke 2, Conway) Southampton 1 (Paine) *Southern showed this too
17/Dec Chelsea 5 (Baldwin, Hateley, Tambling 2(1pen), Cooke) West Ham United 5 (Brabrook, Peters, Sissons 2, Byrne)
*Channel TV began showing "Star Soccer" from this weekend (Sunday 18th)
24/Dec No programme this weekend
31/Dec West Ham United 0 Leicester City 1 (Sinclair)
07/Jan Arsenal 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Robertson, Gilzean)
14/Jan West Ham United 1 (Hurst) Stoke City 1 (Burrows)
21/Jan Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Geaves, Jones) Burnley 0
28/Jan Watford 0 Liverpool 0 [FA Cup 3rd Round]
*Westward and Channel TV drop "Star Soccer" in favour of ABC's "World of Soccer" from now on
04/Feb Arsenal 2 (Armstrong, Graham) Chelsea 1 (Tambling)
11/Feb Tottenham Hotspur 4 (Gilzean, Greaves, Jones 2) Fulham 2 (Haynes, Clarke)
18/Feb Showed Southern coverage of Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Turner) Chelsea 1 (Tambling) [FA Cup 4th Round]
25/Feb Fulham 2 (Barrett, Yeats(og)) Liverpool 2 (St John, Strong)
04/Mar Chelsea 0 Fulham 0 *TWW/Teledu Cymru began showing "Star Soccer" this weekend
11/Mar Chelsea 2 (Tambling, Hateley) Sheffield United 0 [FA Cup 5th Round]
18/Mar Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Greaves) Chelsea 1 (Hamilton) *youngest player to play & score on Chelsea debut aged 16 years 138 days.
25/Mar Showed Southern coverage of Southampton 4 (Paine, Brown(og), Davies, Chivers) Fulham 2 (Earle, Clarke)
01/Apr Fulham 3 (Clarke, Earle, Pearson) Sunderland 1 (Suggett) *NOTW & Sunday Times
08/Apr Chelsea 1 (Baldwin) Sheffield Wednesday 0 [FA Cup QF]
15/Apr Home International
22/Apr Arsenal 1 (Storey) Nottingham Forest 1 (Moore)
29/Apr Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Greaves, Saul) Nottingham Forest 1 (Hennesey) [FA Cup SF] *played at Hillsborough
06/May West Ham United 1 (Charles) Manchester United 6 (Law 2, Best, Charlton, Crerand, Foulkes)
13/May Fulham 2 (Clarke, Earle) Nottingham Forest 3 (Chapman 2, Barnwell)
20/May Networked LIVE coverage of the FA Cup Final - Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Robertson, Saul) Chelsea 1 (Tambling)
Spurs were London's pride in 1966/67, finishing 3rd and winning the FA Cup by beating Chelsea in the final, Jimmy Greaves netted 25 league goals. Arsenal had, surprisingly, appointed their physio as manager in the summer, but Bertie Mee oversaw an improved final position of 7th. Chelsea were 9th, West Ham 16th and Fulham 18th with 24 of their league goals scored by Allan Clarke. In the 2nd tier, Bert Head was now manager at Palace who finished 7th, Millwall were 8th and Charlton 19th. In the 3rd tier it was an amazing season for Alec Stock's QPR who were not only promoted as champions, they also won the first Wembley League Cup final and Rodney Marsh topped the 3rd tier scoring charts with 30 goals, Ken Furphy's Watford just missed out in 3rd, Orient - now with Dick Graham in charge - were 14th.
"Star Soccer" returned on Sunday 20th August, 2:50-3:40pm. The Westward and Channel regions also re-joined the programme alongside TWW/Teledu Cymru, but by mid-October all three channels had switched to ABC's "World of Soccer", only to switch back again later in the season.
19/Aug Fulham 1 (Nichols) Wolverhampton W. 2 (Dougan, Bailey) *ITC export
26/Aug Tottenham Hotspur 5 (Mullery, Greaves 2(1pen), Saul, Jones) West Ham United 1 (Sissons) *ITC export
02/Sep Arsenal 1 (Graham) Coventry City 1 (Gould) *ITC export
09/Sep Crystal Palace 3 (Woodruff, Byrne) Charlton Athletic 0 *ITC export
16/Sep Arsenal 4 (Radford, Neill(pen), Graham, Addison) Tottenham Hotspur 0 *ITC export
23/Sep Fulham 0 West Ham United 3 (Hurst, Moore, Sissons) *ITC export
30/Sep Crystal Palace 1 (Long) Queens Park Rangers 0 *ITC export
07/Oct West Ham United 3 (Hurst 2, Peters) Stoke City 4 (Burrows 2, Dobing 2) *ITC export, Stoke come from 3-0 down at HT.
14/Oct Millwall 1 (Weller) Aston Villa 2 (Greenhalgh, Godfrey) *ITC export
21/Oct Home International
28/Oct Chelsea 1 (Osgood) West Ham United 3 (Dear, Hurst, Peters) *ITC export
04/Nov Showed ABC coverage of Wolverhampton W. 2 (Knowles 2) Coventry City 0 *ITC export, PP'd QPR v Blackburn was intended match (listed in Australian paper)
11/Nov Chelsea 3 (Hollins, Boyle, Osgood) Sheffield Wednesday 0 *ITC export
18/Nov Showed ABC coverage of Lecicester City 2 (Sinclair(pen), Large) Arsenal 2 (Radford, Johnston) *ITC export
25/Nov Arsenal 0 West Ham United 0 *ITC export
02/Dec Fulham 1 (Clarke) Liverpool 1 (Hateley) *Johns & Wright comm, spectator ran onto pitch and hit Jimmy Conway, ITC export
09/Dec Abandoned match - Arsenal 1 (McLintock) Sheffield Wednesday 0 *ref called this one off after 48mins due to snow, ITC export
16/Dec Tottenham Hotspur 0 Leicester City 1 *ITC export
23/Dec No programme this weekend
30/Dec Arsenal 1 (Radford) Chelsea 1 (Osgood(pen)) *ITC export
06/Jan Fulham 0 Leeds United 5 (Greenhoff 3, Jones 2) *ITC export
13/Jan Leeds United 5 (Jones, Hibbett, Lorimer, Madeley 2) Southampton 0 *Intended match likely postponed (only 4 top flight games played), ITC export
20/Jan Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Gilzean) Arsenal 0 *ITC export
27/Jan Manchester United 2 (Best, Charlton) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Chivers 2) [FA Cup R3] *Most likely ABC coverage with Hugh Johns for ATV, poss ITC export
03/Feb Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Chivers) Manchester United 2 (Charlton, Best) *ITC export
10/Feb Queens Park Rangers 2 (Wilks, I.Morgan) Crystal Palace 1 (Tompkins) *ITC export
17/Feb Chelsea 1 Norwich City 0 [FA Cup 4th Round] *ITC export
24/Feb Home International
02/Mar Networked coverage of the League Cup Final - Arsenal 0 Leeds United 1 (Cooper) *ITC export
09/Mar Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Greaves) Liverpool 1 (Hateley) [FA Cup 5th Round] *ITC export
16/Mar No programme this weekend *showed Motor racing from Brands Hatch
23/Mar West Ham United 0 Chelsea 1 (Osgood) *ITC export
30/Mar West Bromwich Albion 0 Liverpool 0 [FA Cup QF] *ITC export (also ref to Spurs 5 Burnley 0)
06/Apr No programme this weekend *showed Motor racing from Brands Hatch
13/Apr Chelsea 2 (Houseman, Baldwin) Tottenham Hotspur 0 *ITC export
20/Apr Watford 2 (Low, Dyson) Torquay United 1 (Shepherd) *ITC export
27/Apr Everton 1 (Morrissey(pen)) Leeds United 0 [FA Cup SF] *played at Old Trafford, ITC export
04/May Queens Park Rangers 2 (I.Morgan, Leach) Birmingham City 0 *ITC export
11/May Luton Town 2 (Rioch, Whittaker) Brentford 1 (Moore(og)) *Luton presented with 4th Division Championship trophy, ITC export
Tommy Docherty resigned from Chelsea in September, Dave Sexton replaced him and the Blues finished 6th, Spurs were back in Europe in the Cup-winners-cup but lost out on away goals in the last 16 to Lyon, whilst in the league they finished 7th with Jimmy Greaves chipping in with 23 goals. Arsenal were 9th and reached the League Cup final but lost to Leeds, West Ham were 12th. Fulham sacked Vic Buckingham half way through the season, but replacement Bobby Robson could not prevent relegation in 22nd place. In the 2nd tier; QPR achieved a notable 2nd successive promotion as runners-up to reach the top flight for the first time in their history, Millwall were 7th and Palace 11th. A change of manager at Charlton saw Eddie Farmani replace Bob Stokoe in September and they finished 15th. Down in the 3rd tier; Watford ended the campaign in 6th, Orient were a lowly 18th. In the 4th tier; Allan Brown's Luton were promoted as champions with Bruce Rioch their top scorer on 24.
A 7th January 1968 screen grab and a TVTimes clipping from 21st April 1968
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1955/56 - 1967/68
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1968/69 - 1982/83