CLARIFYING THE CONFUSION
Our Twitter followers are a knowledgeable bunch. But some do occasionally get a little confused.
Here’s some hopefully helpful clarification.
1. Does not drive the Nursery School bus on Balamory
2. Did not record ‘After The Goldrush’
3. Did not present ‘Newsround’ or ‘Countryfile’
PLAYING UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME
On 30 March 1946 Stockport County met Doncaster Rovers in a Division Three North Cup replay at Edgeley Park. The teams had fought out at 2-2 draw at Doncaster forcing the second match.
Ken Shaw scores for Stockport
Stockport took an early lead, then Rovers scored twice before Ken Shaw, who had opened the scoring for the hosts, levelled things up. After 90 minutes the match was deadlocked at 2-2 forcing extra-time. The 30 minutes failed to produce a winner so, as per the rules of the time, the game went into a golden goal period. This method of settling cup ties had been in operation for a few years having been instigated in wartime when second replays were thought an unnecessary addition to the calendar.
The Liverpool Echo wrote of this way of settling matches that there was ‘Always a danger that two sides would find some time that the finish wouldn’t come, not even by the time the cows came home’.
Neither side could find the winner. It was reported that some fans went home for their tea and came back to continue watching. In the 173rd (!) minute it looked like Stockport’s Les Cocker – later to find fame as assistant manager to Don Revie of Leeds United and England – had settled things. Fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate finally being allowed home but the referee, Mr Baker from Crewe, disallowed the effort for offside, much to the dismay of the County, and even some of the Rovers players.
Eventually, at close to 7pm, the game was called off when the ref deemed it too dark to continue. The teams had played for a total of 203 minutes and as the final whistle blew a number of players fell to the floor and instantly removed their boots before trudging wearily from the pitch.
A second replay was played a week later with Doncaster, having won the coin toss to host the third match leaving no room for doubt, running out 4-0 winners with Ralph Maddison scoring a hat-trick.
Unsurprisingly, the rules were changed shortly after and Second, Third and even Fourth replays returned to football.
A LONG HISTORY
This has been going on for a long time
The Tyne-Wear Derby brings to life a rivalry that is said to stretch back centuries, having initiated during the English Civil War due to protestations that the royalist merchants of Newcastle held an advantage over those of Sunderland who took up the parliamentarian cause. The two were also on opposite sides during the Jacobite risings with Newcastle on the side of the Hanoverians whilst Sunderland supported the Stuarts.
The first football meeting between the two took place in 1883 whilst the first competitive match was a cup tie in 1887 which Sunderland won 2-1.
The first, and still perhaps greatest example of the seriousness of the rivalry came on Good Friday 1901. Top of the table Sunderland visited St James’s Park which then had a capacity of 30,000 An estimated 70,000 fans turned up. Gates were broken down, walls were scaled, and mayhem ensued. Fans spilled onto the pitch and half an hour after the planned kick-off the match was abandoned. This led to rival fans clashing and what became known as the ‘Good Friday Riot’. There were just 25 policemen on duty and they had no chance of quelling the chaos as goalposts and nets were torn down. ‘Wagon-loads’ of police reinforcements arrived along with a number of mounted policemen but it still took them over two hours to clear the pitch.
Sunderland won the rearranged game, played two weeks later, 2-0 and would go on to finish 2nd in the league with their opponents 6th. Newcastle were exonerated of any blame but donated their share of the receipts from the match, said to be £650, to local charities.
Nowadays goal difference is the accepted way of dividing teams level on points at the end of the season. But once upon a time it was goal average that ruled thee day, and the slide rules were certainly out at the end of the 1923-24 season.
Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City finished the campaign locked together on 57 points, four clear of third-placed Sunderland. Both had goal difference of +27 but Huddersfield had scored 60 goals whilst conceding 33 whereas the Welsh club had scored a goal more but also conceded one more.
After the mathematicians had finished their work it was found that Huddersfield had a goal average of 1.818 and Cardiff’s was 1.794 thereby giving Town their first title and denying City theirs.
Huddersfield, with the legendary Herbert Chapman having set the club on their way, would go on to further title successes in the next two years, but both by more comfortable margins than that first.
The players at the top:
1. Eddie McCreadie of East Stirling, Chelsea and Scotland. Also later manager of Chelsea and the subject of the excellent book below which is available from Amazon and all good booksellers
2. The late Neil Young of Manchester City, Preston North End and Rochdale. Scorer of the winner in the 1969 FA Cup Final. The photo below is available as a print here:
3. The late John Craven of Blackpool, Crystal Palace, Coventry City and Plymouth Argyle who, as skipper of the Tangerines lifted the Anglo-Italian Cup in Bologna