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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Honved 1954

In 1954 Wolverhampton Wanderers were proclaimed in the English press as ‘Champions of the World’ following a thrilling 3-2 floodlit friendly win over Honved of Hungary. Honved boasted many of the ‘Magical Magyars’ that had humilated England 6-3 at Wembley and then 7-1 in Hungary. In front of 55000 people and the cameras of the BBC, English pride was restored.

Read more ..

West Ham, First Vienna, 1962 « The Memorial Ground – West Ham United Programmes Online
This is a programme cover from a floodlit friendly that West Ham United played against First Vienna in 1962. It is featured on an awesome website a link to which is above. Click through to read more about the game and download the full programme to read at your leisure. Lots more West Ham programmes available to view. *Recommended*

West Ham, First Vienna, 1962 « The Memorial Ground – West Ham United Programmes Online

This is a programme cover from a floodlit friendly that West Ham United played against First Vienna in 1962. It is featured on an awesome website a link to which is above. Click through to read more about the game and download the full programme to read at your leisure. Lots more West Ham programmes available to view. *Recommended*

First floodlit fixture at White Hart Lane

Tottenham Hotspur v Racing Club de Paris (France) 1953

Tottenham Hotspur v Racing Club de Paris 29/09/53

  • A thrilling game that Spurs won 5-3 in front of nearly 28000 fans. It is claimed that the 2nd half was televised which would make this the first instance of a floodlit match shown on the television. However in the book A Complete Record of Sheffield United (page199) it is claimed that the 2nd half of the Millwall v Sheffield United game played on 29th March 1954 was the first floodlit football match to be televised. I don’t know which claim is correct.

Bradford Park Avenue v Czechoslovakia 1961 - Inauguration of foodlights

Bradford (Park Avenue) v Czechoslovakia 1961

This is a beauty. Match to mark the inauguration of the floodlights at the Park Avenue stadium in Bradford. Nearly seventeen and a half thousand were present to see the vistors win 3-2. Sadly less than 13 years later BPA went into liquidation and left the league. Park Avenue itself is still a sports ground but the stands have long been demolished.

Leyton Orient v Hapoel Petah Tikva

Leyton Orient v Hapoel Petah Tikva (Israel) 1960

Leyton Orient v Hapoel Petah Tikva Sept 1960


This was Orient’s first home friendly under floodlights against an overseas club. Hapoel Petah Tikva were the reigning Israeli Champions, winning their national title in 58/59, 59/60 and retaining it 60/61. They went on to win the title in both the 61/62 and 62/63 seasons to set a new Israeli record of five consecutive titles which stands to this day. Though they haven’t won it since.

Leyton Orient were a second division club at the time and at the end of the 60/61 season finished in 19th avoiding relegation by just one point. They improved considerably for the 61/62 season finishing as runners-up to Liverpool and gaining promotion into the English top flight. They lasted one season finishing bottom by ten points and haven’t been back since.

Sheffield United Floodlit Friendlies

Blades v Esbjerg November 1954

Permanent floodlights were installed at Bramall Lane in 1954 & during the fifties the Blades, in common with other clubs, played a series of floodlit friendlies to popularise the game under lights.

  • 16/03/54 Rotherham Utd 2-1 Att: 17787
  • 23/03/54 Hibernian 3-3 Att: 29265
  • 06/04/54 Clyde 0-1 Att: 15237
  • 30/11/54 Esbjerg (Denmark) 7-0 Att: 6237
  • 07/02/55 Graz FK (Austria) 4-0 Att: 7083
  • 29/03/55 Dundee 3-1 Att: 10000
  • 04/04/55 St Mirren 3-1 Att: 7228
  • 06/02/56 Hearts 4-2 Att: 9399
  • 29/11/56 Radnicki (Yugoslavia) 1-2 Att: 8894
  • 08/10/58 Bela Vista (Brazil) 4-0 Att: 9000
  • 05/10/59 Lucerne (Switzerland) 5-1 Att: 8131

Over seventy-five years earlier in 1878 Bramall Lane had been the venue for the World’s first floodlit football match.

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Opening of Ninian Park Floodlights

Cardiff City v Grasshopper Zurich (Switzerland) 1960

Programme from Cardiff City v Grasshoppers Zurich friendly game played on the 5th October 1960 to mark the official opening of the floodlights at Ninian Park. The lights had been used for the first time in the Bluebird’s opening league game of their 60/61 first division campaign against Sheffield Wednesday.  A match the visitors won 1-0 on their way to the league runners-up spot behind double winners Tottenham Hotspur.

Links: Ninian Park | Grasshoppers Zurich | English 60/61 season

Rampla Juniors Tour of England 1956

Luton Town v Rampla Juniors (Uruguay) 10/04/56

Uruguayan club Rampla Juniors embarked on a huge global tour in 1956. Over the course of 71 days they played 24 games in 8 countries. They visited Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Turkey as well as England. They recorded 11 wins, 6 draws and only 7 defeats, a quite remarkable record given that they averaged a game every 3 days.

The English leg of their tour saw them take part in a number of floodlit friendlies. The programme cover above shows their game at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday 10th April. The day after, on the Wednesday, they played Portsmouth at Fratton Park & became the first Uruguayan club to record a victory on British soil with a 3-1 win.

The following week they visited Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday the 18th & then Watford on the Thursday. I’ve not been able to find the scores from these two games. They also played Leeds, Mansfield, Southampton & possibly Burnley but I haven’t been able to confirm the dates these games were played.

QPR v Rampla Juniors (Uruguay) 18/04/56 Watford v Rampla Juniors (Uruguay) 19/04/56

Read more about Rampla …

1929: The 1st Tour: Rampla Juniors abroad

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Arsenal v Hapoel Tel Aviv 1951: Floodlit Friendly
Programme cover from Arsenal v Hapoel Tel Aviv Sept 1951. Arsenal were the first English top flight club to install floodlights and this was the first major fixture to be held at Highbury under floodlights. Arsenal won 6-1.
Arsenal finished the 51/52 season as FA Cup runners-up and had to settle for 3rd place in the First Division. Pipped to 2nd by North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on goal average. Hapoel Tel Aviv competed in the the inaugural edition of the Liga Alef and finished in 5th place.
Read more …
Highbury’s first game under floodlights
1951/52 in English football
Hapoel Tel Aviv - Wikipedia
Israeli Liga Alef 1951/52

Arsenal v Hapoel Tel Aviv 1951: Floodlit Friendly

Programme cover from Arsenal v Hapoel Tel Aviv Sept 1951. Arsenal were the first English top flight club to install floodlights and this was the first major fixture to be held at Highbury under floodlights. Arsenal won 6-1.

Arsenal finished the 51/52 season as FA Cup runners-up and had to settle for 3rd place in the First Division. Pipped to 2nd by North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on goal average. Hapoel Tel Aviv competed in the the inaugural edition of the Liga Alef and finished in 5th place.

Read more …

Highbury’s first game under floodlights

1951/52 in English football

Hapoel Tel Aviv - Wikipedia

Israeli Liga Alef 1951/52