Joints, smoking physios and dogs on the pitch: 15 unmissable pictures from 1967/68

When football went weird

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In 1965, when Peter Robinson started his 35-year career as a professional photographer, football and Britain were very different to the modern era – but the times they were a-changing.

Here we present a selection of Robinson’s evocative shots from the 1967/68 season. His images capture the shifting times, when players were finding fame but not enough fortune to give up second jobs, when physios smoked on the bench, when dogs ran free on the pitch, and when a West Ham player would happily offer you a joint.

June 1967, and as The Beatles prepare to release Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Manchester United’s George Best and Manchester City’s Mike Summerbee prepare to welcome ladies and gentlemen to their chaps’ costumiers Edwardia. Within a year, City would be champions of England, United champions of Europe.  

The Summer of Love wasn’t all retro stylishness. Here, snapper Peter Robinson catches Liverpool’s Peter Thompson filling up his car at a petrol station. The Carlisle-born left-winger had risen to prominence with Preston, who claimed to have turned down a bid from Juventus before selling him to Liverpool. Thompson duly received England recognition and was in the preliminary World Cup squads for both 1966 and 1970 without making the final 22; after all, Alf Ramsey’s side were the Wingless Wonders.

Anyone fancy a joint? Whatever the hippies were enjoying in September 1967, West Ham's Peter Brabrook had more earthbound ideas. A fully trained butcher, Brabrook was about to turn 30 and keeping his hand in at a longer-lasting trade than football. As it happened, the Greenwich-born winger ended up back with the Hammers Academy, developing nippers like Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Joe Cole, but he could still recommend you a nice spot of topside.

Somebody get this man a bookcase. Bill Nicholson might have been a brilliant organiser who led Tottenham to the Double in 1960/61, but in October 1967 his reading material was still a precarious pile – and it would be another 20 years before IKEA opened a store in the UK. But Bill Nick soldiered on, and his methods worked: Spurs had just finished third in the league and won the FA Cup.

Although the maximum wage had been abolished, most footballers still had to prepare for a “proper” job after the career was over. And not just the auld fellas. Here we see Leeds United’s Paul Madeley, barely 23, piling paintpots at the DIY shop he ran with his brothers, sister-in-law and father. True, it was called the Paul Madeley Colour Centre, but there’s nothing wrong with trading on your name, especially in a one-club city. One-club man Madeley made more than 700 appearances for Leeds, playing in every outfield position as required.

NEXT: Smoking physios, right-backs on typewriters and a dog on the pitch