SOUTHAMPTON 1 CITY 1
League Division 1
15th August 1970
Ref Bill Castle
City Corrigan, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Heslop, Oakes, Towers, Bell, Summerbee, Lee, Hill – unused sub Carrodus(unused)
Southampton Martin, Kirkup, Byrne, Fisher, Gabriel, Walker, Paine, Channon, Davies, O’Neil, Jenkins
This opening day clash at The Dell between two of the Division’s most entertaining sides was remembered more for the controversial sending off of Mike Summerbee five minutes before the full-time whistle.
The match stood at 1-1, when Francis Lee fell to the floor after appearing to foul O’Neill, in the melee that followed Mike Summerbee and David Walker collided with each other, and walker fell to the floor claiming he had been headbutted. Without hesitation referee Mr Castle, sent the City winger off.
The City team and management felt totally aggrieved at the decision, Joe Mercer showed his anger saying “The referee was conned. Walker is a better actor than Pele without his ability. I’ll bet he hasn’t got a mark on him. When I played football we were all pals. I feel very strongly about this. When a professional goes down and gets another professional sent off it’s time we all got together.”
It was clear Walker did gesture to the referee he’d been butted, however after the game he appeared to have a complete change of mind commenting “It is not true. This was a complete accident . There can be no question of me being butted by Mike. I am prepared to go anywhere to speak up.”
The game itself was a fair result at a 1-1 draw, The Blues started well with Doyle and Summerbee with good efforts on goal. Then in the 23rd minute they took the lead, when from a Summerbee free kick, Colin Bell forced the ball over the line.
Ron Davies had two good chances to equalise before the interval, but in the 73rd minute made no mistake with a bullet header from a Jenkin’s cross.
As a footnote to the Summerbee sending off, City appealed the decision, and in a hearing in front of an FA Disciplinary Commission in London on 14th September it was decided that there was a strong element of doubt about the incident and that it was no more than an accidental infringement of the laws and therefore the sending off was dismissed from Mike Summerbee’s record.