In Nottingham, the locals at the Fox and Grapes were in good spirits. Forest had beaten Wolves 3-0 that day, Saturday, September 7th, 1963, and were soon to head the First Division table. The Beatles were at No. 1 with “She Loves You,” and everyone was having a good old sing-song before 10.30 chucking-out time.

When the doors finally closed, landlord George Wilson and his wife Betty poured themselves a quiet winding-down drink together. After that George took his pub dog Blackie, a rough-haired mongrel, for a walk. He never came back.

It is doubtful whether George ever saw his attacker, for the first of 14 savage stabs with a bowie knife penetrated the base of his skull. Pieces of slate from a nearby low roof suggested that the killer had jumped down before the attack, but no money was taken from George’s wallet.

Blackie, speckled with his master’s blood, ran back to the pub and scratched frantically at the door. But by the time an ambulance arrived the landlord of the Fox and Grapes was dead.

A witness described a man running down Longden Street at 12.50 a.m. He was wearing a green Robin Hood type of hat, a light-coloured raincoat and appeared to have a chisel in his hand. “The running man,” as he came to be known, was never traced.

A month later the murder knife was found in its sheath in a ditch on the road between Nottingham and Radcliffe-on-Trent, probably thrown from a passing car. Faint traces of blood on the weapon matched those of the victim.

The blade was bent at its tip and when it was extracted from the body it acted like a hook on the landlord’s clothes, picking up strands from his shirt and jacket. When it was put back in its sheath after the murder, the strands became detached and locked in the sheath until they were discovered by forensic scientists.

But there was no motive. George Wilson had no enemies, although two months earlier he had received an anonymous death threat.

The police had been tipped off that the Fox and Grapes was on the hit-list of a gang of Nottingham burglars. The gang and their associates were questioned, but nothing came of it.

At least five people confessed to the killing. One of them was a Dartmoor prisoner who said he got into an argument with George Wilson when the landlord made a few jokes at the expense of Nottingham Forest in their game that day with Wolves. He, like the other four, couldn’t identify either the murder weapon or pictures of the victim and they were dismissed from the inquiry.