Friday, 29 March 2013

On this day in 1900, Bury made it to the FA Cup final

Taken from

Thursday March 29th 1900 - At Bramall Lane
Charlie Sagar is in the right of the second row. He is arguably
Bury's finest ever footballer.  
BURY 3 ( Sagar 70, 114, McLuckie 89)
Thompson, Darroch, Davidson, Pray, Leeming, Ross, Richards,
Wood, McLuckie, Sagar, Plant
NOTTINGHAM F. 2 (Capes 30 secs, Calvey 2) Allsop;, Peers, Iremonger; Coles, McPherson, Norris, Capes;
Calvey, Beveridge, Morris, Spouncer
Referee - Mr Scragg of Crewe Half-time 0-2
Full-time 2-2
After extra-time 3-2 Attendance 15,000

QUALIFYING FOR THE final of the most famous football competition in the world for the first time would have been a magnificent achievement in itself. But to come from two down, after just a couple of minutes, and go on and win in extra time was remarkable by any standards, and even more so in light of the fact that Bury only appeared at the ground eight minutes after the advertised kick-off time.

Blame for this clearly lay at the feet of the club’s executive committee, who, seeking to reduce costs at a time of great financial hardship within the club, delayed the team’s departure to the very last minute knowing that even if the trains employed had all run to time the side would reach Sheffield only forty five minutes before kick-off.

True, Bramall Lane is no distance from the central station but that would have still meant a hurried change for the team even if everything had run smoothly.

Almost from the off things went badly,thirty minutes late on pulling into Manchester Victoria, the Bury team were forced to change on board the train for Sheffield. Arriving at just two minutes before the advertised starting time the players jumped into waiting taxi cabs and emerged from them to run straight on to the pitch.

With Forest ready and waiting the game was quickly under way, and with no time in which to settle Bury were a goal down before thirty seconds had been played.

Both sides were unchanged from Saturday’s match. Kicking off, the Nottingham side moved the ball out to Spouncer at outside left and his fine centre was cracked home by Capes. Less than a minute later it was 2-0 when after conceding a free-kick Thompson was at fault when he misjudged Calvey’s shot from twenty yards. The cheers of the Nottingham contingent were loud and prolonged, and thoughts inevitably drifted forward a few weeks to the cup final. Could Forest win the FA Cup for a second time in three seasons?

Bury fans, estimated to be around 400, were stunned. Silently they gazed on as their heroes worked to prevent Forest grabbing a third, which would surely have finished the tie. Spouncer might have done better when well placed, Capes and Calvey worked hard to increase the east Midland side’s advantage but Bury held on to give themselves an outside chance when the whistle sounded for half-time at Bury 0 Nottingham Forest 2.

On the restart all hopes of a fightback seemed to have disappeared as Bury toiled to make any impression on the game.Thompson twice kept his side in the tie with fine saves from Capes and his partner Calvey. Morris should should have left the Bury keeper with no chance after Capes’s cross found him unmarked just fifteen yards out but the Welsh international showed none of his usual class by flashing his shot well wide.

Finally Bury pushed up into their opponents’ half, but with Allsop in fine form there was disappointment as Sagar, Plant and McLuckie had their shots saved.With just over twenty minutes remaining it looked very much as if Bury were destined to fall out of the 1900 FA Cup at the penultimate hurdle.

Wood had been anonymous but turning on the ball he forced Allsop into a full length diving save, and whilst the keeper was able to block McLuckie’s follow-up shot there was nothing he could do when Sagar emerged to touch home the loose ball. Now it was the turn of the Bury followers to make themselves heard, and when Sagar pushed home a shot after a corner it seemed that the Lancashire side had somehow hauled themselves level. Not so said the referee disallowing the goal for handball.

Forest were under siege, but might have finished the game off when Calvey was left in the clear but his tired legs wouldn’t take him the forty yards towards goal and Bury’s backs were back to clear.
On 89 minutes Bury won a corner. Plant took it and McLuckie roared in to bullet a header past Allsop and into the net to make it 2-2, which is how it finished at full time.

‘It was decided to play extra time.’ - Yorkshire Post

Bury,buoyed by the last gasp equaliser,looked much the fresher side when extra time started. Thompson, though, almost gifted Forest the lead; dropping back to grab a shot from Morris he had spilt. McLuckie was unfortunate at the other end, his shot passing narrowly wide and with little to choose between the sides the first period of extra time ended with the score at 2-2.

With eight minutes left the game seemed certain to end in a draw after McLuckie missed an easy chance after Plant picked him out. But, with six minutes left, Sagar silenced the Forest faithful in the crowd, shooting home from just inside the penalty area.There was no Forest comeback and at the end the small number of Bury fans who had managed to make it to Sheffield were jumping deliriously having seen their side play magnificently to win 3-2.

A Sheffield correspondent says – ‘As soon at the game was over referee Mr Scragg was insulted by a Forest official in the dressing-room for allowing extra time to be played.
‘Peers was asked for the official’s name, but declined to give it, but Mr Scragg has determined to report the matter to the Association.The gate was £445 2s, accounting for an attendance of 11,200, apart from tickets guaranteed by the Association.’ - Cricket and Football Field.

‘It was a good stroke of business on the part of Albert Duckworth when he ordered his men to continue the fight for an extra half hour. Whilst we sympathise with the Forest, we must warmly compliment Bury on their wonderful achievement. It was victory well earned and richly deserved.

Richards and Wood’s work saw all the goals created from that side. Sagar played a wonderfully smart game.

McLuckie is a fine centre-forward.

Plant’s centres were a feature of the afternoon.
The halves and backs were excellent, Leeming and Davidson pleasing us greatly.
Of Thompson it would be impossible to speak too highly.
Never was a game more completely pulled out of the fire.
It was later reported that the players had been awarded a bonus of £15,
£10 for the win and £5 for Saturday’s draw.
‘This was the best game of the season’ - Yorkshire Post

Bury would play Southampton in the final after the Saints beat Millwall Athletic 3-0, courtesy of two Millward goals and a single Jimmy Yates effort, in the replay at Elm Park, Reading.

Formed, like Bury, in 1885, Southampton St Mary’s had joined the Southern League at its inception in 1894.The competition was to become the most dominant in Southern and Central England until 1920 when almost its entire top division was absorbed by the Football League to become the Third Division.
Large crowds meant Southampton were able to compete for the best players in Britain.After winning the Southern League title for the first time in 1896-97 the club became a limited company and dropped St Mary’s from their title but never their nickname! Further Southern League title success, during their first season at the Dell, followed in 1898-99.

Southampton had beaten Everton in the first round of the 1900 FA Cup.When the second round match against Newcastle United was abandoned because of bad light the replayed match witnessed Roddy McLeod, replacing the injured Joe Farrell at centre-forward, play possibly his finest game for the Saints, the Northern side going home hammered 4-1 with the new man grabbing two. Success at home to
West Bromwich Albion in the quarter-final followed, when McLeod notched the winner in a 2-1 success. 

Manchester United 0 Sunderland 5 in a row 1948-49 to 1952-53

Five of the best - when Sunderland won five consecutive games away to Manchester United 

1948-49 Manchester United 1 SAFC 2
1949-50 Manchester United 1 SAFC 3 
1950-51 Manchester United 3 SAFC 5 
1951-52 Manchester United 0 SAFC 1 
1952-53 Manchester United 0 SAFC 1

Here are four of the five match reports. Haway the Lads.

1st October 1949                                                                          League Division One

MANCHESTER UNITED   1                         SUNDERLAND   3
                        (Pearson 56.)                              (Carey(og) 9.Davis 15,Shackleton 37.)

Referee Mr H.C. Williams of Fulham                                             Attendance 

Manchester United :- Crompton, Carey, Aston, Lowrie, Chilton, Cockburn, Delaney, Pearson, Rowley, Buckle, Mitten.

Sunderland :- Mapson, Stelling, Hudgell, Watson, Hall, Wright (A), Wright(T), Broadis, Davis, Shackleton, Reynolds.

Brilliant displays by Watson and Arthur Wright a t Old Trafford blotted out Pearson and Buckle Uniteds inside forwards and set the seal on a sound Sunderland victory to prove that when wing half backs take control there is little doubt about the ultimate result. At Derby a fortnight ago one saw £24,000 Morris and £15,000 Steele completely put out of the game for 45minutes and then allowed to wriggle out of the relentless grip to virtually switch the verdict from defeat to victory.

Against Manchester Watson and Wright never relaxed their grip not even in the vital 15 minute period of the second half when United in reply to Sunderland’s three first half goals scored through Pearson and were hitting back with all they had in their endeavour to batter down Sunderland’s rearguard. There was no faltering, half backs and inside forwards coming back to repel the Lancashire invaders. Then once more Sunderland took control and finished just as they had started masters of the situation.

It was a game in which teamwork played a prominent part in the wearsiders first win on foreign soil but their third in three seasons against United in Manchester.

First Carey helped the ball in, one that would have beaten Compton anyway for he was well out of the way of Davis’s shot in the 9th min. The Sunderland leader made it two in the 15th min when he eluded Chilton and met a perfect Reynolds centre first time. Goal of the match came in the 37th min from Shackleton but the credit must go to Broadis for he engineered the goal and began the move from his own 18 yard line.

Rarely have Sunderland made so few mistakes as they did in this game and every man played his part in the great victory. To say they had the great Carey and his international partner Aston frequently going the wrong way is praise enough.(Ncl Jnl)


Sunderland had beaten Manchester United 2-1 at home on Christmas Day.

26th December 1950                                                              League Division One 

          MANCHESTER UNITED   3           SUNDERLAND   5
              (Aston 2,Bogan 35, 86.)                  (Bingham 3,Broadis 29,30,43,Davis 63.)
             (Rowley missed penalty)    

 Referee Mr                                                                                Attendance 35,176 

Sunderland: - Mapson, Hedley, Hudgell, McLain, Walsh, Wright (A), Bingham, Wright (T), Davis, Broadis, Watson.

Manchester United: - Allen, Carey, McGlen, Gibson, Chilton, Cockburn, Bogan, McShane, Aston,  Pearson, Rowley.

Sunderland’s dream of a bright Christmas came true with a vengeance. This win in Manchester completed the wearsiders first double of the season. It also meant that they took full points from their three holiday games. Considering the condition of the pitch which was like a skating rink Sunderland played excellent football and fully deserved to beat United who at times looked completely demoralised. 

Ford was out with a thigh injury and Kirtley went down with flu the day previous so that Davis reverted to centre forward with T. Wright inside right and Bingham on the wing. Before the match the one bright spot was the return of Broadis and what a great advantage that turned out to be.

Seemingly untroubled by the conditions Broadis roamed in and out, split the united defence with neat passes and crowned a fine display by scoring three goals. It was as a team however that Sunderland shone. They employed the right tactics from the start and were always in command.

Yet the home team scored first Aston netting after 2 mins as he had done at Roker the day previous. Sunderland equalised a minute later through Bingham – his first in English league Football. From then on it was Sunderland nearly all through, though the visitors defence did have a shaky quarter hour just after the interval.

Yet Sunderland increased their lead to three and the game was virtually over with 27 mins to go. After that however United had the additional mortification of missing a penalty, Rowley shooting straight at Mapson.

The goals came after 2 mins - Bogan beat Hudgell and centred for Aston to score.
3 mins – Davis lobbed the ball into the middle and Allen was beaten by the bounce. Bingham cut in behind the keeper to fire into an empty net. 29 mins - Davis hit the underside of the bar and the ball came to Broadis who scored. 30 mins - Broadis ran through, tried to pass to Davis but the ball struck a defender and came back to Broadis who netted. 35 mins - Aston beat Hudgell and Walsh and his centre led to a goalmouth scramble form which Bogan netted. 43 mins – Broadis scored after a defensive mix up. 63 mins – T. Wright put the ball into the middle for Broadis to backheel to Davis whose shot beat Allen. 86 mins – Mapson parried a shot from Pearson but the ball went to Brogan who scored.


20th  October 1951                  League Division One

                                                                                         ( Davis 68.)
Referee Mr                                                                                     Attendance 40,915  

Manchester United: - Allen, Carey, Redman, Gibson, Chilton, McGlen, Berry, Downie, Rowley, Pearson, McShane.

Sunderland: - Mapson, Stelling, Hudgell, Watson, Hall, Wright(A), Bingham, Kirtley, Davis, Shackleton, McSeveney.

Sunderland toppled United from the top of the table by this victory. The remarkable thing is that Sunderland have now won six of their last seven  games at Old Trafford and all when United have looked much stronger team. Yet of all the wearsiders recent victories on this ground the latest one came as the most surprising to the home camp.

After the game home directors admitted the win was merited but were all at a loss to understand Sunderland’s lowly position in the table and even more baffled by the reports that the wearsiders had been slow handclapped on their own ground a week previous. Their form is most puzzling. Without being brilliant the team was vastly superior to that which met Stoke. It was almost unrecognisable. 

Many Sunderland supporters made the journey no doubt to see John McSeveney the clubs new signing on his debut. They saw the young Scot give a promising display in circumstances that might well have been too much for him. Not only did he face an experienced player in Carey but also the tempo of the game was in itself a baptism of fire. McSeveny who had not been South of the border before last Wednesday admitted he found the match atmosphere a little overwhelming at first but no one watching would have thought so.

Cool but determined the young winger settled down quickly and though he owed something to the able schooling of Wright and Shackleton he soon showed he was able to stand on his own two feet. On the other flank Bingham was back to his best form and Kirtley to sparkled so altogether Sunderland’s attack was something of a triumph of youth.

If Shackleton had been in the sort of form he has been in recent games Sunderland might well have had a hatful of goals . As it was they had to be satisfied with Davis’s winner in the 68th min. Disappointing as was the United forward line the wearsiders defence gave a really sound display. 

Outstanding was Wright and Hall. The former battled on  well after two nasty knocks in the second half but on an even more heroic performance was that of Stelling who stuck to his task despite injuring a leg muscle in the first minute of the game.


27th  September 1952                                                                  League Division One

               MANCHESTER UNITED   0         SUNDERLAND   1
                                                                            ( Ford 23.)
Referee Mr                                                                                       Attendance 28,967   

Manchester United – Wood, McNulty, Aston, Chilton, Jones, Gibson, Berry, Downie, Clempson, Pearson, Byrne

Sunderland: - Threadgold, Stelling, Hedley, Watson, Hall, Wright(A), Wright(T), Kirtley, Ford, Shackleton, Reynolds.

Threadgold of Sunderland and Wood of United, both goalkeepers in their first season in First division football were stars of this game at Old Trafford which might have produced a rich crop of goals. With the turf soft and greasy conditions as well in favour of the forwards, only one goal was scored with that coming from Ford in the 23rd min. sufficient to give the wearsiders victory.

Both sets of forwards failed to make the best use of their chances but even so these two young goalkeepers had enough opportunities to demonstrate that they promise to be outstanding in a field where good performances are proverbially “Ten a penny”. The rest of Sunderlands performance was scarcely reflected by the score. The league champions were spreadeagled time after time in the first hour and yet in the closing stages Sunderland, with Reynolds out of the game as a limping passenger, had to resort to spoiling tactics to hold on to the lead.

On his earlier form a fit Reynolds might well have kept Sunderland attacking to the end for in addition to having two good shots saved the winger put over many dangerous centres. Different in method but equally effective Tommy Wright on the other flank made Fords goal and saw a shot of his own hit the post. Between these interesting wingers the inside trio had a nice blend of craft and dash.

All this was admirably supported by the wing halces while in defence Stelling played almost as big a part as Threadgold A pity though that Sunderland did not fully accept a good opportunity to improve their unimpressive goal average.
Trevor Ford (on left) scored the winning Sunderland goal at Old Trafford in September 1952.
Sitting on his right is Stan Anderson. (see Captain of the North book written by Stan and myself) 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Abuse inquiry 'complacent'

An MP has accused the government of “complacency” over child abuse allegations on Jersey. 

Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming backs Jersey Parliament members, Shona and Trevor Pitman, who want the government to “ensure good governance by investigating  evidence of the breakdown of law within the island’s justice system.”

The Jersey child abuse scandal first surfaced in 2007 when social worker Simon Bellwood was sacked after complaining that children as young as 11 were routinely locked up for 24 hours in solitary confinement at the Greenfields secure unit. International attention followed when the ensuing wider police investigation moved into Haut de la Garenne, a children’s home from 1900 to 1986.  


192 victims and 151 abusers were identified by the police investigation and seven people were successfully prosecuted. 

An inquiry into child abuse on the island will begin this year and should include why media personality Jimmy Saville visited Haut de la Garenne. Saville dropped legal proceedings in 2008 against the Sun after the paper’s claims that he had visited the home was proven to be true when a photograph showed him surrounded by boys there. Saville had been investigated on an allegation of indecent abuse at the home in the 1970s but no charges had been pressed.

The Leeds born DJ died in 2011 and since when hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse and rape have been made by members of the public. The man heading the subsequent police inquiry, Met Police Commander Peter Spindler, has said: “The alleged abuse is on an unprecedented scale.” Spindler though believes there is no evidence of a paedophile ring involving Saville, describing his associates as “opportunist individuals.”

Leah McGrath Goodman, an American investigative journalist who has friends on Jersey, was unconvinced that the original police investigation had uncovered all the facts. She was prevented from investigating when she was banned from the UK and refused a visa to visit Jersey. 

Goodman has a clean criminal and immigration record. In response Lib Dem MP John Hemming tabled an early day motion and asked Immigration Minister Mark Harper to intervene. Trevor Pitman, who represents the Parish of St Helier, started an online petition to quash the first ban against a journalist visiting the UK in the last decade.

It took 500 days before Goodman was, in January, given clearance to travel here. Hemming said he was “pleased but believes people have been very complacent about a journalist who wished to investigate Haut de la Garenne being banned.” 

Pitman and his wife’s letter to the justice minister Lord McNally asking him to ‘ensure good governance’ has drawn a muted response. Lib Dem peer McNally replied: “Jersey has its own justice system so we can’t really interfere.” 


Jersey is a British Crown dependency whose laws require Royal Assent from the Privy Council judicial committee, whose members are advised by the Lord Chancellor, currently Chris Grayling MP. It is rare for the British government to interfere with the judicial process in a Crown dependency but in 2007 the Lord Chancellor did refuse to present reforms to the constitution of Sark to the Privy Council.

The Pitman’s have expressed their concerns on many occasions about child abuse. They believe “evidence against abusers has inexplicably not been pursued by the island’s Law Office.”

The couple sought damages for defamation against the island’s only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post over a cartoon they alleged accused them of entering politics to increase their salaries. Before he was elected in 2008, Trevor Pitman was a professional youth worker and he claims to have taken a £5,000 a year pay cut and lost his pension to fulfil his new role.

The senior judge in the Pitman’s case was John Lyndon Le Breton, who is a personal friend of the Evening Post’s Director and a former Vice Principal of Victoria College. This was an exclusive fee-paying secondary school at the centre of a child abuse scandal that saw predatory paedophile, Andrew Jervis-Dykes, given a four-year sentence in 1999 for a series of indecent assaults on teenagers.


Colleagues of Jervis-Dykes refused to co-operate with the police and Le Breton wrote in support of him saying he was “outstandingly competent and conscientious and if he had to resign his College post he should be allowed to do so with some dignity.” 

Le Breton, who subsequently sat on some child abuses, has now retired .

The Pitman’s lost their case and have decided not to appeal, claiming they cannot afford further costs of £30,000. 

Instead they have sought the support of Lord McNally on grounds that “the ordinary citizen who rocks the Establishment on Jersey has no hope of justice.”

Hemming is disappointed his Party colleague has not supported the Pitman’s. He said: “I think the UK government is complacent about Jersey’s problems. Cases do need to be taken to the Privy Council, but this requires government support.”

The Pitman’s intend speaking to the Queen’s representative on Jersey, distributing leaflets and are seeking to get their message out internationally in the hope that the “UK government will be embarrassed enough to help bring about desperately needed reform in a justice system that is not fit for purpose.”

Lord McNally did not respond in a request for comment.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Best is the greatest footballer I ever played against - Ian Callaghan

Best is the greatest footballer I ever played against - Ian Callaghan

From BRIGHT RED: The Liverpool-Manchester United matches by Tony Bugby, Leslie Millman and Mark Metcalf 

Liverpool were still a Second Division side when Ian Callaghan signed for them. Over the next two decades, however, they became Europe’s top team as an intense rivalry developed with United. Here Callaghan, who made 857 first-team appearances for Liverpool between 1959/78, recalls his own personal memories of their battles.

He said: “When we won 1-0 at United in November 1963 thanks to late goal from Ron Yeats it was certainly a big boost to our hopes of winning the title. We were only in our second season back in the First Division so to win at Old Trafford meant a bit more than just two points. To win the title you have to win at the big grounds against your potential title rivals. The victory was a big stepping-stone.

In those days I was up against United’s Tony Dunne who was quick and a tough opponent. In any games my job was to get the ball and try and test out the opposing full back, take him on, get to the by-line and pull the ball back for someone else to have an effort at goal. I got to know Tony very well as we played against each other many times. I’d like to think there were occasions when I got the better of him, as there were also occasions when I didn’t get much of a look-in. After I retired from football I have played a lot of golf and through that have got to know Tony pretty well.

Another tough opponent was Nobby Stiles who was supposedly hated by those on the Kop. I am surprised to hear that’s become accepted wisdom among people who weren’t around in the 1960s because my view of fans that stood on the Kop is that they were great admirers of good footballers from any side.

While they wanted Liverpool to win, they also hoped to see the side have to play at its best to do so. The spectacle, entertainment and excitement was what people paid good, hard-earned cash to see. They wanted to see United playing their very best against Liverpool, as we had to then raise our game to beat them. I am not saying the Kop loved United players, like they did with Gordon Banks who would be cheered as he ran towards either the Anfield Road or Kop. The likes of Bobby Charlton, for example, might get applauded on occasions. 

In the mid 1960s George Best played and scored in a number of games against us. Best is the greatest footballer I ever played against. He had pace, perfect balance on the ball, but he could also defend. If he lost possession, you’d see him chase back to try and recover the ball. He could also head the ball as well as dribble and in front of goal he was deadly. I think it’s definitely the case that no side in England has ever had three such talented players as Charlton, Law and Best in one side. Law was a great scorer of goals in the box, while Charlton was graceful on the ball. He could go past opponents either side using his pace or dribbling, and what a shot he had. 

They were great players, but they wouldn’t have been successful if they didn’t also have other really good players alongside them, the likes of Tony Dunne, Paddy Crerand and Bill Foulkes. Alex Stepney was also a cracking keeper. He was fearless and, like our own Tommy Lawrence, he’d be more than willing to come out and dive at your feet to try and take the ball off you. 

Later on the player I most admired was Martin Buchan who was a very good cultured defender. He timed his tackles superbly and, in possession, he rarely wasted it. 

I recall how disappointed I was when United were relegated in 1974 as you want the really great clubs in the top flight playing each other. Long may that be the case. I looked forward to any game I played in, as I loved football and to get well paid for doing some I loved was extra special. The big games, and few were bigger than playing United, were always extra special.

My roles in the games were different depending upon whether we played at home or away. When we were playing at Old Trafford and Bobby Charlton was out on the left, Bill Shankly would tell me to play further back in order to support the full-back. On the left, Peter Thompson was asked to play much more forward than me.

Were United were lucky to beat us in the 1977 FA Cup Final is something I am often asked, and I have to say they were. I came on in that game when we were 2-1 down. It was disappointing to lose as the defeat denied us the treble which United became the first club to achieve in 1999. However, four days later we did win the European Cup and, given the choice between winning that or the FA Cup, we would have picked victory in Rome. 

How did the games against United during my playing career differ from those of today is also a question often posed. I would say not that much for the players who have to try and ignore the history of the occasions. That’s not the case for the supporters, however, as there’s now an even greater rivalry than in my days. We had a long period of success when United were very much second best and in more recent times that’s been the reverse. Due to this, the game has become the match of the season for both sets of supporters, when back in my day it was the local derbies, in our case against Everton, that were the biggest.

George at his best for United

November 11th, 1967
First Division
Liverpool 1 (Hunt), United 2 (Best 2).

First against second and, with Liverpool having previously won all seven home League games, Matt Busby’s side knew it would have to play magnificently if it was to return with both points. 

As Nobby Stiles was injured, David Sadler was brought into a United side which was also missing the suspended Denis Law. Many of the day’s top pundits, including those of the Liverpool Echo, felt United, without Law’s influence, would struggle to score the goals needed to maintain a title challenge.

George Best took over from Law at inside left with John Fitzpatrick coming in at outside right, and he responded with both goals which secured a massive away win for United. In a season when Law also missed a number of games due to injury, Best was at his goalscoring peak and was to end the season as equal top scorer - with Southampton’s Ron Davies - in the League with 28 goals.

‘Liverpool toppled by George,’ was the headline in the Liverpool Sports Echo after this match on Armistice Day.  With Anfield again full to capacity United, playing in blue, won the toss and selected to attack the Kop End in the second half. They were ahead after 10 minutes when Best’s fine glancing header from a John Aston corner beat Tommy Lawrence. Best was then denied by a fine save from the keeper after Bobby Charlton’s precision pass had sent him clear. When Liverpool did rally Tony Hateley headed Peter Thompson’s corner wide, Liverpool’s only first-half effort.

United took a two-goal lead into the break after Paddy Crerand’s long accurate pass was seized upon by Best who beat Lawrence from inside the penalty area. Liverpool played a lot better in the second 45-minutes and Alex Stepney made a great save to deny Tommy Smith, but with Best in outstanding form there was always the constant danger of a third breakaway goal and only two great tackles by Chris Lawler and Emlyn Hughes respectively prevented him from completing his hat trick. 

Liverpool were handed a lifeline five minutes from the end when Roger Hunt took a reverse pass from Ian St John before turning the ball past Stepney. Then with only seconds to go, St John had ball in the net only for the effort to be rightly ruled offside as United journeyed home with two valuable points. 

Liverpool: Lawrence, Lawler, Byrne, Smith, Yeats, Hughes, Callaghan, Hunt, Hateley, St John, Thompson.
United: Stepney, Dunne, Burns, Crerand, Foulkes, Sadler, Fitzpatrick, Kidd, Charlton, Best.

Form book overturned as Liverpool beat Champions elect Manchester Utd 7-4 in March 1908

Wednesday 25 March 1908

Liverpool 7
J.Hewitt 2 McPherson 3 Robinson 2 
Manchester United 4
Wall 2
Turnbull J

Liverpool: Doig, West, Saul, Harrop, Raisbeck, Chorlton, Goddard, Robinson, J.Hewitt, McPherson, Cox

Manchester United: Moger, Stacey, Ted Dalton, Duckworth, Roberts, Downie
Meredith, Bannister, Turnbull J, Picken, Wall

Having easily beaten Liverpool at home in September, and also recorded their first ever victory at Anfield courtesy of a single Sandy Turnbull goal at the end of the previous season table topping United were intent in making it three wins in a row against a Liverpool side back 12th place 14 points behind the leaders. The Scousers had also lost five games at home including their previous game 1-0 against Manchester City.

However, and not for the last time in matches between Liverpool and Manchester United, the form book was torn apart and so was the Manchester United defence, especially in the first half, on this occasion. The match had originally been planned to take place in January but frost had caused its cancellation. As a result, with no such thing as floodlights for another 50 years or so, the game took place in the middle of a working day cutting the size of the crowd substantially to just 10,000. Ted Dalton was given his debut for Manchester United, replacing the injured Burgess, whilst there were also appearances for Downie and Picken as replacements for Bell and Sandy Turnbull. At the same time Liverpool were also forced to field a weakened side with Hardy, out through a knee injury, Maurice Parry and James Bradley’s places taken by Ted Doig, Thomas Chorlton and James Harrop respectively.  

The small crowd witnessed an exciting match in which it took only 3 minutes for Liverpool to take the lead, Joe Hewitt fastening on to a centre from Goddard to crash home a magnificent shot that caught the underside of the bar before flying into the net. Nine minutes later Billy McPherson was onto another Arthur Goddard centre to make it two, Robbie Robinson then knocked home a Jack Cox cross for 3-0 before McPherson drilled in the fourth on the stroke of half-time. Already Manchester United had conceded more goals in 45 minutes than in the whole of ninety minutes in any other game that season - back in 1895 Liverpool had battered Newton Heath 7-1, could they equal or even better this in 1908? 

Doig however gave the away side a lifeline at the start of the second period dropping a Robert’s free-kick to a grateful Wall to make it 4-1 and then misskicked to present the United outside left with his and his sides second.  4-2 - was a famous comeback now on, but when McPherson made it 5-2 the answer was no especially as Robinson then made it 6-2. However the away side were determined to go down fighting and despite being four goals down they pinned the home side back around their penalty area with Turnbull and Bannister reducing the arrears to 6-4 with quarter of an hour left. It was now a game which no spectator could take their eyes off. Doig made a marvellous save from Meredith as Manchester United pressed, before Hewitt, who had been outstanding during the game, finally ended any doubts about who would win by making it 7-4 and when the final whistle sounded “the enthusiasm equalled anything seen on the ground for many a long day. Absentees may think United were not trying too hard. They were” reported ‘The Football Field.’ It had been a truly marvellous match, one which must go down as one of the finest ever between the two sides. 

For more on the Manchester United side that won the First Division in 1907-08 see book by Mark Metcalf: MANCHESTER UNITED’S First Championship: the story of Manchester United’s first title success in 1907-08 at

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Spy base protestor faces trial after holding upside down US flag

From Big Issue in the North magazine - please buy the magazine when you get the chance to do so.

A prominent peace activist faces prosecution for trespass after she was arrested at Menwith Hill intelligence station near Harrogate whilst protesting by carrying an upside-down US flag. The arrest of Lindis Percy took place on the day Barack Obama was re-inaugurated as US president on January 21. 

Percy had written the words ‘Now then...second and only chance Obama’ on the flag. She wanted Obama to reduce American military involvement across the world and use the money saved to address poverty in his own country.

Under the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) Percy’s case is now in the hands of the Attorney General, Dominic Greaves, who must decide whether she will face charges. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been asked to investigate. 

If Percy is sent to trial this would be the second time she has faced a trespass prosecution under SOCPA. Two years ago she successfully defended herself after she had showed her driving licence to obtain entry to Mildenhall US Air Force base in Suffolk.

After wandering around the base unchallenged for over an hour - during which time no criminal damage occurred - she was arrested as she made her way to the exit. Despite the prosecution calling five base witnesses, a district judge at Bury St Edmonds Magistrates’ Court dismissed the case and heavily criticised a security guard’s evidence. CCTV coverage of the gate that Percy had used to enter the base had earlier gone missing.  

Percy was also arrested in 2011 when she displayed outside the American Embassy in London a upside-down US flag bearing the words “Independence from America”.  She was threatened with arrest under SOCPA and then detained for an alleged breach of the peace. She was later released without charge. 

Percy, a former nurse, also had charges of “wilfully obstructing three Ministry of Defence police officers in the execution of their duty” at Menwith Hill on August 16 2011 dismissed in April last year. District Judge Jane Goodwin criticised the arresting officers for failing to interview independent witnesses. 

The Campaign for Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) holds a demonstration outside the main entrance at Menwith Hill every Tuesday evening. 

The base opened in 1951 and is under the control of the US forces. 

The site is a communications intercept and missile warning base that, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is becoming “increasingly vital to US intelligence.” 

Blunt instrument

Doctor Martin Schweiger, who regularly attends the CAAB pickets, said: “SOCPA legislation is a very blunt instrument that can suppress legitimate peaceful public protest. It has never been properly debated in Parliament and is implemented by police officers interpreting the framework given to them by ministers. 

“Clearly there are problems with the legislation because the police have failed when challenged in court. Given the costs in time and money there will be good reason to question any decision to proceed in Lindis’s case.” 

Neither the Attorney General or the CPS was willing to comment on an ‘ongoing case.’ An attempt to get a statement from the shadow Attorney General Emile Anne Thornberry was also unsuccessful.  

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The greatest ever East-Lancs derby?

This article appears on the excellent Sport Northwest site at:-

Look out for more on this most fascinating of derby matches in the next few months

1960 FA Cup quarter-final  
Burnley 3 Blackburn Rovers 3 

Blackburn’s quarter-final reward for their thrilling fifth round victory at White Hart Lane was a tie at Turf Moor against local rivals Burnley, who were chasing the championship as well as the FA Cup. But before this local derby could take place Burnley had to win their replay with Bradford City. It proved a formality as Burnley duly walloped the Yorkshireman 5-0 at Turf Moor. 

Not surprisingly, the Burnley encounter captured the imagination of the east Lancashire public – the two clubs still have a rivalry that matches any from Glasgow, the North East or north London. 

It was all-ticket with the capacity set at 54,000 and tickets with all a face value of 3 shillings exchanged hands for at least treble that outside the ground beforehand. 

Mick McGrath recalls the excitement: “After the Spurs game I felt we had a chance and when the draw came out and we would play Burnley if they won their replay then the whole town was abuzz. People were asking for tickets, and ‘Do you fancy your chances?’ 

“In those days teams like Burnley and Blackburn had a chance of keeping hold of their good players because the maximum wage meant that someone moving still got paid the same under the maximum wage, although people did move because it was rumoured they might have got some money under the counter.”

When the maximum wage was ended for footballers in 1961 it was £20 a week. Female sewing machinists at the Elgin manufacturing company near Burnley were in the early 60s earning just over £10 a week. On his wages, a footballer would have struggled to buy a car as Loxhams of Blackburn at the start of 1960 were selling 1958 Morris-Minor 2-door cars at £550 and 1959 Wolseleys at £675. It was hardly surprising that footballers, watched by thousands were threatening to strike in order to push up wages as well as end the practice whereby clubs could refuse players’ requests to move to another club.

Blackburn and Burnley had met three times in the FA Cup, including in the previous season when goals from Jimmy Robson and Jimmy McIlroy against a single effort from Peter Dobing had seen Burnley home by two goals to one at Turf Moor. That had been a game with more than its fair share of thrills, but it was nothing like the 1960 match staged on March 12th. It produced one of the greatest FA Cup comebacks, sparked off by the awarding of a penalty that still rankles with older Burnley fans and ex-players. 

As so often seems to happen, the teams met in the league the weekend before the cup-tie, with both, despite Burnley gunning for the title, playing cautiously in a match described by ‘the Blackburn Times’ as “ being one of the most concentrated efforts in concealment since Hitler masked his real intentions when he met Chamberlain at Munich.”  Who said papers today have a tendency to exaggerate! Burnley won by a single goal to maintain their title challenge. 

FA Cup 6th Round: Saturday March 12, 1960.
Burnley 3 Blackburn Rovers 3 attendance: 51,501
Burnley: A.Blacklaw, J.Angus, A.Elder, B.Seith, B.Miller, J.Adamson, J.Connelly, J.McIlroy, R.Pointer, J.Robson, B.Pilkington.
Blackburn Rovers: H.Leyland, J.Bray, D.Whelan, R.Clayton, M.Woods, M.McGrath, L.Bimpson, P.Dobing, D.Dougan, B.Douglas, A.MacLeod.
Both sides were at full strength for the match with Blackburn again choosing Douglas at inside left and Bimpson at right wing. This meant was the direct contest between Jimmy McIlroy and Bryan Douglas to whet the appetite. Both sets of fans were adamant that their man was the better, with many believing that whoever came out on top in this personal battle would probably win the war. McIlroy was king at Turf Moor while Douglas is still was idolised at Ewood Park while McIlroy was king of Turf Moor and remains an iconic figure in the town. One of the stands at Turf Moor is named after him. 
But in spite of all the talent on show, the first half was poor, the cagey pattern of the previous weekend’s game carried on into the cup-tie.
Burnley were top early on but although they pressed hard it was still goalless at half-time with few chances having been created. 
Half Time: Burnley 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
When the game restarted, the home team, inspired by McIlroy, poured forward. What was astonishing was that Burnley’s talisman was not fully fit. He had been suffering for some time with a thigh muscle injury but Burnley needed him as they pressed Wolves and Spurs for the title. 
Just three minutes had gone in the second period when the Irishman picked open the Blackburn defence. Pilkington controlled the crossfield pass before blasting the ball past Leyland.
Louis Bimpson forced a flying save from Adam Blacklaw and then shot wide from an even better position. But Blackburn’s momentum proved illusory. Just nine minutes after taking the lead Burnley doubled it. 
From close to the byline McIlroy, in what he states in his autobiography was one of his favourite places on the field, shimmied past two defenders before picking out Ray Pointer, who knocked home one of 23 league and FA goals that he scored that season. 

With this two-goal cushion it seemed a place in the semi-final for the first time since 1947 was assured for Harry Potts and his team. Almost immediately Burnley grabbed a third.

Before the match only had thought that’s a long pass over the head of Dave Whelan would give John Connelly the chance to use his blistering pace and when Jimmy Adamson sent it just such a ball the winger left two startled defenders in his wake. Leyland plunged at his feet but the England winger duly lifted the ball with him and into the net. It was game, set, and match, surely?

One can only hope that no Blackburn fans decided on an early trip. Had they left they would have missed a remarkable comeback although initially it seemed Burnley would further extend their lead. 

The rivalry between the two sets of supporters was such that Burnley wanted to score more goals. With hindsight it may have been better to have shut up shop and run down the clock. Have they done that they might have gone on to become the first side in the 20th century to record the league and FA Cup ‘double’.  Still, at 3-0 up, what on earth could go wrong? 

The key moments in the match came after 70 minutes. Peter Dobing had rarely featured as an attacking threat and his shot appeared to be heading well wide only for the ball to hit defender Alex Elder’s foot and rise up and strike his hand. 

To a supporter it was either a clear penalty or a travesty, depending on which club you followed, but independent match report expressed surprise that referee Jack Hunt pointed to the penalty spot. Bryan Douglas converted the kick to make it 3-1. Surely this would prove to be just a consolation?

Not so, for within a minute the home fans had reason to wonder. The Burnley defence relaxed as Douglas appeared to mess up a free kick. The apparent disarray was a ruse: Douglas touched the ball to Dobing, who hit a reasonable but not unstoppable shot, but for Blacklaw seemed unsighted and it was 3-2.

There was still quarter of an hour left and the mood inside Turf Moor had changed.  Blackburn were in the ascendant and their fans were buoyant. Desperately Burnley tried to cling on, having given up any ideas of scoring a fourth in order to protect Adam Blacklaw in goal. The tension was rising as the final whistle moved ever closer.

Blackburn had fashioned an undeserved equaliser against Blackpool in the fourth round. Could they do it again? 

The answer was yes. A Matt Woods free kick was only half cleared and when Ronnie Clayton hacked it back towards goal it ricocheted perfectly into the path of Mick McGrath, the man who has scored the equaliser against Blackpool.

Blackburn weren’t and might even have won the game in the remaining minutes if either Dobing or Dougan shown McGrath’s composure by bringing better placed colleagues into play at Burnley’s defence evaporated. It was a draw but at the final whistle only one group of players and supporters were celebrating. Burnley might still have been in the 1960 FA Cup but who really believed the replay wouldn’t go Blackburn’s way?
Even fifty years later Jimmy McIlroy feels the hurt. “It was a disappointing result. There was no way Alex Elder tried to handle the ball or gain any benefit from handling it. The ball hit the ground and it must have hit a bump or something and just hit him on the hand. It did hit his hand but it was never intentional and should never have been a penalty. Alex was in tears afterwards; he couldn’t face going out as he put all our misfortune on his shoulders. I still prefer to blame a gentleman with a whistle called Mr Hunt. ” 

The view from the other side was put by Bryan Douglas – “ Alex Elder went for the ball with his arms up and the ball ricocheted and hit him on the arm, just above the elbow on the inside of the arm, If we’d been winning say 3-0 I am not sure we’d have got it, and I’ve seen them turned down but it threw us a chance.  I’d seen Burnley’s keeper Adam Blacklaw save one a few weeks earlier and I sent the ball to his left and it went in.

The second goal I remember very well, it came from practising on the training ground, we’d copied the idea from another side but I can’t remember who it was, we went to pretend we’d buggered up the free-kick in the hope that the other side would be taken off guard and then we could exploit that. 

“I pretended to take it and everyone ran, I then ran and then they stopped, everyone including the Burnley players were laughing at our stupidity, I then tapped it to Peter Dobing who was fully aware of what was happening and he cracked it past the keeper to make it 3-2. After Mick McGrath equalised we actually had a chance to win the match in the last minute when Dougan was clear on the left-hand side and he only had to square it to me. I was standing in the clear just yards out, the keeper was moving out to block him but Dougan preferred to shoot and the ball cannoned off the keeper’s legs

“Burnley had a good side; their forward line was something special in Connolly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson and Pilkington. The rivalry was intense even in those days and the games were often not that great. Since I finished I’ve met a number of Burnley players and I’ve found them to be human. To be honest the rivalry is a bit unhealthy.

I definitely feel that football in those days was more exciting, there were more mistakes, but there was also more goalmouth action. I am not saying it was more skilful but in those days wingers and players tried to take on the full-backs and get to the by line. These days you never see a player leave the full back for dead, at times today the games can be like a game of chess.”

And the man who scored that dramatic equaliser Mick McGrath remembers: ‘We were dead and buried at Burnley, when we got a dubious penalty. 

II was only when we got back in the game at 3-2 that I ventured forward as I was a defensive wingback.  I remember the equaliser very well even many years later as Adam Blacklaw the Burnley keeper was on his knees and the ball came to me as I just hit it – my shot was sliced and this was why Adam went down one way and the ball went the other into the corner – it was a good miskick! 

“All of us were overjoyed, I was surrounded by the players which was very unusual for those days as normally when you scored you got a little tap off one or two players who then ran back to the halfway line. But after being three-nil down this was something a bit special. So the players sort of swamped me. Manager Dally Duncan from where he was watching couldn’t tell who’d scored and as we went off he asked, ‘who scored the equaliser?’ It was the best goal I scored for Rovers, but I did only score 12!” 

Blackburn Rovers 2 Burnley 0

In a match that never produced anything like the quality or excitement of the first match Blackburn qualified for their 16th FA Cup semi-final courtesy of extra-time goals from Dobing and MacLeod. They deserved to win and reach a second semi-final at Maine Road in two years, their third in nine years. 

With Whelan and Bray marking Burnley’s wingers Connelly and Pilkington, Burnley struggled to gather any forward thrust, especially as their potential match winner Jimmy McIlroy did not enjoy it as much possession as in the first hour or so of the first game. Although pressed back for much of the game Burnley were never out of it and nearly snatched the winner with five minutes of normal time remaining when only a great save from Leyland stop Connelly from scoring.

The opening call came in the 13th minute of extra time after Dougan flicked on a free kick from Douglas for Dobing to steer the ball through the crowd of Burnley players in and around the six-yard box, a goal much like that scored by McGrath at Turf Moor. 

The goal was reward for Dobing’s persistence as in the first half of the game he’d been denied by two fine saves from Blacklaw, while on the second only a flying block by John Angus had prevented the Blackburn inside right opening the scoring. 

Any hopes that Burnley, and their considerable following, had of the game being rescued ended when, with two minutes of extra time remaining, Bimpson headed on a long throw from Clayton and McLeod, anticipating superbly, dashed beyond an exhausted Burnley defence to head the ball past Blacklaw and spark a minor pitch invasion by a section of the ecstatic home following. There was another a minute later, which had to be cleared by the police to allow the referee to play the final 30 seconds. 

Writing in the Blackburn Times, William Westall again praised Douglas who in his view “proved himself the outstanding craftsman by his diligent foraging, grafting and subtle moves”, However, in his view, Rovers won primarily through “a truly magnificent halfback line of Clayton, Woods and McGrath: every man a giant”. 

But it was McGrath who particularly caught his eye. He described him “as the finest play on the field: a footballing tiger, so relentless, so mercilessly dominant that Burnley seemed almost to be physically afraid of him. He not only played McIlroy right out of the picture, but also was often a sixth forward apparently intent on winning the game himself. I’ve never seen a player so uplifted by the Cup atmosphere’. 

Matt Woods reckons extra time should not have been necessary. 
“In the replay we should have won it in the first 90 minutes”. 
Not surprisingly, Jimmy McIlroy disagrees. “Looking back even now on those two games I still feel we could, and should have reached the semi-final…if not the Cup Final. Rovers scored five times against us but none came from a thoughtful, skillfully executed attack”.