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Tears of a Clown

With Brazil 2014 still so fresh in the mind, we look back on a North London night when two of our players, Martin Chivers and Martin Peters, were part of an England team denied victory – and subsequently a place at the 1974 FIFA World Cup – against Poland in 1973. Andy Greeves looks back on an evening of great disappointment for English football and what prompted the late, great Brian Clough to describe Poland’s goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski as a “circus clown in gloves!”

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Going into their final World Cup Group Five qualifying match against Poland at Wembley Stadium on October 17, 1973, the pressure was on Sir Alf Ramsey’s England.

Trailing the Poles by one point in the group table – owing in no small part to a 2-0 away defeat in Chorzow on June 6, 1973 – nothing other than a win for the Three Lions would be good enough for them to book their place at the finals in West Germany the following year.



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