Friday, 20 April 2012

When Bury won the FA Cup in 1900

























1900 FA Cup Final
Saturday April 21st

Bury 4

Scorers - McLuckie - 9 minutes, Wood - 16 minutes, McLuckie - 30 mins, Plant - 80 minutes

Southampton 0
Referee A Kingscott of Derby 
Linesmen - A Green of West Bromwich and E Carpenter of Leicester
Half-time 3-0
Attendance - 68,945

With neither club having previously reached the FA Cup Final new winners were assured. Having experienced a much more difficult route, with away ties in each round, Bury were favourites to lift the cup. They took with them to the Crystal Palace the best wishes of football followers from across the north, and in particular those from Lancashire, keen to see the return of the famous trophy to the county for the first time since 1891 when Blackburn Rovers had beaten Notts County in the final.

Southampton had first entered the FA cup competition in 1891-92 and had almost made it to the final in 1898, losing out in a semi-final replay against eventual winners Nottingham Forest 2-0. Having now beaten Millwall Athletic in the 1900 replayed semi-final the south coast town, like Bury, was in a state of feverish excitement.

Bury in the week leading up to the final had chosen not to make any special preparations. Sixteen players were involved in the training at the ground, but with everyone fit it was no surprise when the ‘Team Managing Committee” of Albert Duckworth, Alfred Wardle and Fred Bradley, who selected the side, kept faith with the eleven that had played in all seven previous cup encounters.  Travelling south on the Thursday the squad were conveyed to the Royal Crystal Palace Hotel that overlooked the stadium in south London.

Southampton had also chosen to train at home and the only uncertainty was whether Joe Farrell or Roddy McLeod would play at centre-forward. In the event, having scored three times in the earlier rounds McLeod was overlooked and it was to be later reported that this split the dressing room and led to a poor performance by the south coast side.

Football enthusiasts from all over the country packed on to football specials to make the trip to London to see the cup final, with 18 running into St Pancras, 17 dropping off 8,000 fans at Euston and 11 dropping off 5,000 at Kings Cross. Then there were an estimated 10,000 by train from Southampton and from about 4.30 in the morning a continuous stream of visitors poured into the capital. Many had never previously taken such a trip, and amongst those who travelled from Bury a good number had no overcoat or rug to keep them warm on the train. As it transpired neither was to be needed as the night was stifling hot, but with orders having gone out to station buffets not to serve football passengers then any search for refreshments at the stations en route were unsuccessful. Policemen stood guard at each stop, it being evident that the people in charge looked upon the trippers as marauders who could only be trusted as far as they could be seen.

On the trains to Sydenham locals looked on the accents of the Bury followers with amazement, and attempts at conversation often solicited blank stares by both. Although the crowd was slightly down on the previous season’s final between Sheffield United and Derby County, which attracted 73,833, it was still a more than healthy 68,945.

Farrell started the match promptly at 3.30pm. The weather was more akin to cricket with hardly a cloud in the sky or an ounce of wind to disturb proceedings. Bury were first to show, but McLuckie failed to control Sagar’s through ball when well placed. Arthur Turner replied for ‘the Saints’ with a powerful run but Darroch covering behind Davidson kicked clear. With the pace frenetic Ross forced Jack Robinson to get down smartly to grab his shot, before Arthur Chadwick drove just over the bar as the south coast side pushed forward.

However, when the Southampton centre-half then headed behind for a Bury corner the Lancastrians took the lead when Robinson failed to prevent McLuckie’s effort entering the net with just nine minutes on the clock. The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Southampton, Leeming fired just wide and then when the ball landed in the goalmouth Sagar, McLuckie and Wood all had shots blocked by Robinson as Bury turned the screw.

With Lord Roseberry watching intently Bury doubled their lead on sixteen minutes when Robinson’s brilliant save from a Plant effort left the ball at Wood’s feet and the inside forward made no mistake. Desperate to get back into the game Southampton directed long rang efforts at Thompson through Peter Meechan, Jimmy Yates and Turner but to no avail.

Then on 30 minutes the game was virtually over as a contest when Bury struck a third time. McLuckie, picking up a loose ball, advanced to attack the Southampton defence and in creating space he hit a low shot from 15 yards that brought no response from a clearly blinded Robinson staring in to a strong sun. Sagar almost made it four but his shot hit the side netting as Bury ran riot.

Southampton almost pulled a goal back, but Alf Millward’s shot crashed back into play off the crossbar with Thompson beaten. This was though only a temporary respite. The Southampton forwards had shown a distinct lack of combination and with no further goals Bury led three goals to nil at half-time.

With the sun now in their eyes Bury took time to acclimatise following the restart. They were therefore grateful to Thompson for a fine save from a Turner free-kick. Peter Durber should have done better shortly after, but he fired his shot wide from little more than a dozen yards. 3-0 up, Bury seemed content to sit back and allow the game to drift to its conclusion. It was up to Southampton to show what they were capable of and the answer was very little. Wood headed over and Millward shot well wide, and with the sun baking down the match toiled in the middle of the field.

Sagar shot wide, and then on 80 minutes Bury added to their advantage when Plant hit Pray’s corner powerfully past Robinson. Two minutes later, with the referee sounding a long whistle for a free-kick many of the remaining spectators, who felt this was the final proceedings, poured on to the pitch and it took a few minutes for the ground to be cleared before the match was completed. At the end Bury had won the FA Cup for the first time and when the trophy was presented to captain Pray by Lord James of Hereford, the one time Bury MP, the cheering was enormous.

Interviewed afterwards Alf Millward praised “the deserved winners” whilst Harry Wood said he felt “Bury would have beaten any club.” The ecstatic Bury captain George Ross said he “never had wanted to see anything better”, and attributed the victory to the resolute tackling of the Bury half-backs and the deadly shooting of the front ranks. 



The following Bury player profiles are from the Cricket and Football Field in the week leading up to the final.

Goalkeepers

As regards the Bury team the excellent results attained this season have been due to the small number of changes in the team in recent seasons. In Montgomery and Thompson, two better custodians in the one club could not be found. Opinion is greatly divided as to their respective merits. Thompson, who came from Sunderland, was for a long time the reserve man, but “Monty” as he is familiarly called, having fallen away, Thompson has been the first choice recently and played in the North v South trial match.

Fred Thompson made 65 league and 10 FA Cup appearances in his five years at Gigg Lane, before joining Bolton Wanderers in 1901.

Full-backs

The backs, Darroch and Davidson, are both Scotchmen. The first-named came from Dundee, occupies the right position, and though not as big as his partner, is more speedy, kicks cleanly and tackles fearlessly. At Dundee his partner was Burgess, now of Millwall. Davidson, left full back, hails from West Calder, and has been at Bury since 1894. Tall and powerful, he kicks at great length, and tackles well, though erratic at times.

Joe Darroch made 142 league and 14 FA Cup appearances for Bury, leaving to join Blackburn Rovers in December 1901 for a fee of £140. Tom Davidson made 116 league and 14 FA Cup appearances, joining Millwall Athletic at the end of the 1899-1900 season.

Half-backs

Pray, the right half-back, and captain of the team, came from Glasgow Rangers, and has been at Bury since 1894. He has rendered yeomen service. A steady, ruddy haired Scot, he is not very brilliant, but gets through a deal of judicious work, and is a deadly shot near goal.

Jack Pray made a total of 202 first team appearances for Bury in which he notched ten goals before retiring from football in 1901.

Joseph Leeming, the centre-half, hails from that old Association stronghold, Turton, and is the all-round man of the team, having fulfilled every position bar goal. A natural footballer of the Crabtree stamp, he plays well in any position, and still young, has plenty of time to develop. He is a likely candidate for future international honours, and has already gained an inter-league cap.

During a ten-year career with Bury made 280 first team appearances, scoring 20 goals. Joined Brighton and Hove Albion in 1907 where he carried on playing to the age of 37 and appeared in over 200 games.

George Ross, the left half-back, the oldest and most popular man in the team, learned his football in Bury, and has played with the club almost from its formation. Although a veteran, he is still a player of the first water, and it is probable that his Scottish birth has alone prevented his gaining an international cap. He has had many offers from other clubs, but always remained loyal to Bury.

Following Bury’s elevation, in the summer of 1894, to league status George Ross went on to make 366 league and 35 FA Cup appearances with ‘the Shakers’. When he signed for Rochdale in 1906 he brought to an end a twenty-year association with the Bury during which he won one Division Two championship medal, two Lancashire League championship medals, three Lancashire Senior Cup winners medals, seven Manchester Senior Cup medals, one Lancashire Junior Cup winners medals, one Palatine League Championship medal and two FA Cup winners medals. One of the greatest Bury players ever, Ross made his debut on February 26th 1887, when aged 17 he scored in the friendly match played at Anfield against Everton that Bury won 4-1.

Forwards

Richards, outside right, comes from Middleton, a few miles from Manchester. A young player with any amount of dash and speed. A good shot, and always working. Played a wonderful game in the replayed cup-tie with Sheffield United.

Billy Richards - Made 257 first team appearances, in which he notched twenty seven goals, for Bury. Left the club to join Heywood United in 1907.

Wood, inside right - another local player, who, like Richards comes from Middleton and is also a youngster. Was brought in the team as a successor to Settle, whom he much resembles in build and style. Bury people consider him as good as Settle. He can play on either wing, and is a difficult man to dispossess, besides shooting well.

Billy hit 70 goals, including 7 in the FA Cup, for Bury in 210 first team appearances before joining Fulham in 1905.

McLuckie, the centre-forward, is a tall, lanky young Scotchman, and is one of the best finds ever made by the club. Was not a great success at first, but has developed wonderfully, and is esteemed as one of the best centre forwards in the league. He keeps his wings well together and is no mean dribbler and shot.

In a three-year association with Bury played 106 times for the first team and hit home 36 goals. Hard pressed Bury sold him were forced to accept £400 from Aston Villa for his services in October 1901.

Sagar, inside left, like Leeming, comes from Turton. He is a striking example of perseverance, for his initial experiences with the club did not give great satisfaction. He has come on wonderfully this season, and with Plant makes one of the best left wings in the country. Tall and strong, he sticks in very tenaciously, and shoots well, qualities, which gained him his International cap, in practically his first season in class football.

Made 209 first team appearances and scored 89 goals for Bury before joining Manchester United in 1904. Injury forced an early retirement from the game.

John Plant, outside left, the second oldest member of the team, comes from Bollington, Cheshire and joined the club in 1890. Last year he went to Reading, but was glad to return. He is one of the best forwards the club has ever had. Fast and tricky, he centres wonderfully well, and has a cross-angle shot which, though not always straight, travels with terrific force, and obtains many goals.

After signing from Kilmarnock Jack made his debut for Bury when the club were pressing to overcome Higher Walton at the end of their first season in the Lancashire league in 1889-90 and became a regular in the side the following season. After Bury joined the Football League in 1894-95 he went on to make 350 first team appearances, including 31 in the FA Cup, scoring 66 goals of which nine were in the cup. Joined Heywood United in 1906. 

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