Friday, 27 February 2015

Huddersfield Town 1947-48 (part 2)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Town started the new year of 1948 in thirteenth place in the first division on 20 points.
However they were level with two other teams and the three below them all had 19 points. So a very close contest looked in prospect.

They started well with a 3-2 win away at Portsmouth but a week later on 10th January suffered a humiliating defeat at then non-league Colchester United in the third round of the F.A. Cup. It was one of the first big giant-killing acts of the post-war period and really hit the headlines. The small ground and proximity of the crowd were given as excuses but the press reports suggested that Colchester dominated the game and fully deserved their 1-0 victory.

Town bounced back well the following week with a 4-2 win at Chelsea. All their best performances seemed to be away from home and understandably home support began to dwindle. I became disenchanted myself, but stuck with them although possibly going with my Dad to Fartown to watch the very successful Huddersfield Rugby League side of that period when Town were away. My father had a habit of ridiculing the 'spice ball laikers' of soccer and promoted the 'steamed pigs' of rugby league at all times.

SATURDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 1948                                   Attendance 20,571


Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glaazzard, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Jones; Moss, Cummings; Dorsett, Parkes, Lowe;
Edwards, Graham, Ford, Brown, Smith;

Referee:- G. Tedds, Bestwood, Notts.

Report from Yorkshire Sports newspaper.

With many Huddersfield people preferring to watch Rugby League at Fartown, indications were that the attendance for Huddersfield Town's match with Aston Villa was going to be one of the smallest for some time. Usually Villa attract a big crowd when they come to Huddersfield. When the game started the attendance was only about 13,000. Early Villa raids were easily repelled and good work by Doherty and Metcalfe enabled Town to get into an attacking position. Unfortunately for them Whittingham got into an opposite position when things looked promising.


Villa's half back were doing well and Town's attack found it difficult to make headway. After Villa had forced a corner, Glazzard transferred play with a good run. His pass to Bateman was faulty and Villa went back to the attack for Dorsett to force Hesford to make a good save.


 A clever movement ended with Ford scoring in the seventeenth minute with a rising angular drive from about twenty yards. The success was deserved for so far Town were well below their best form. Glazzard raised Town's hopes with a great dribbled before passing to Bateman whose centre was easily cleared. Villa replied with a lightning attack and Hesford had to dive to stop a brillian drive from Dorsett; Villa were playing beautiful football. Graham dislocated his shoulder in a fall and had to leave the field.

                                          Trevor Ford centre forward for Villa and Wales


In one of Town's occasional raids Metcalfe tried a long shot which Jones saved with confidence. Even with ten men Villa were more than holding their own. Smith, Villa's left winger ran brilliantly through the Town defence only to finish by shooting tamely past from about ten yards. Bateman missed a great chance to equalise close on the interval.

Half time - Huddersfield Town 0 Aston Villa 1.


Graham was still absent when play was resumed. Despite this handicap Villa were aggressive. After Hepplewhite had stopped a dangerous Villa attack in which Brown and Smith were prominent, Edwards forced a corner. Town rushed to the other end and keeen exchanges in the Villa goalmouth ended with Bateman shooting a yard wide. Town's pressure persited for a period but Villa held on to take the victory.

Town began to slide down the table as they lost both the next two home games and had three successive away defeats. They lost 1-0 at home to Villa when the crowd dropped to around 20,000 and two weeks later lost 2-0 to Bolton with only 14,000 in attendance. They then beat Middlesborough 2-1 in a game when Albert Nightingale, who had been signed from Sheffield United, scored his first goal.

Nightingale achieved fame as possibly the first 'diver' in professional football. His habit of regularly falling down, whenever he was tackled was a regular talking point.
Many years later when the last match was played at Leeds Road, many ex-players were there and introduced individually to the crowd. When Nightingale was announced he ran onto the field and promptly fell down to great hilarity among the crowd.

SATURDAY 19TH MARCH, 1948                          Attendance 23,588


HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (Metcalfe, Nightingale) MIDDLESBOROUGH 1 (Fenton)

Mills; Hayes, Barker; Whittingham, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Rodgers, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Goodfellow; Hardwick, Hepple; Bell, Whitaker, Gordon;
Spuhler, McCormack, Fenton, Mannion, Walker;

Referee:- F. Walton, Goole.

Yorkshire Sport match report.
The attendance was about 18,000 at the start when Middlesborough tried to force the pace. Town defended stubbornly. A good movement in which Bateman, Whittingham and Metcalfe took part endangered the visitors' goal, Hardwick just managing to stop Metcalfe near the corner. Playing with fine dash Town kept it up and Whittingham tried a long shot which went wide of the far post.

Town were certainly trying hard to find an opening. Metcalfe raced along the wing, flashed the ball over to Rodgers, whose header was caught by Goodfellow. When Middlesborough raided Hepplewhite stopped Spuhler before the latter could steady himself for a shot. There were more raids by Middlesborough, and then Metcalfe made a grand run before crossing the ball into the goalmouth for Goodfellow to dash out and clear.

A beautiful passing movement in which Nightingale, Bateman and Rodgers participated carried play into the visitors' goalmouth. When the ball came to Doherty he tried a shot which sailed over. Middlesborough improved and Walker tried a long shot which Mills dealt with confidently. When Doherty got going it took two defenders to stop him near goal. Middlesborough's defence was doing good work.

Whittingham was playing well at half back. After Town had forced a corner, Rodgers got in a shot which was only inches too high. It was a good attempt. Before this he had narrowly failed with a header after Whittingham had taken a free kick. Town applied severe pressure and Middlesborough's goal was fortunate to avoid downfall. Half time 0-0.

Town attacked with great determination after the resumption. There were lively incidents in Middlesborough's goalmouth. Metcalfe forced a corner and it was with great difficulty that Middlesborough cleared. A raid by Mannion and Walker was then repelled. In the next Town attack Metcalfe scored with a clever shot after Doherty had headed the ball down to him. Town deserved to be ahead and only great defensive play had kept the score down.

Centre forward Fenton managed to equalise for the visitors but before the end Nightingale scored his first goal for Town to give them a deserved victory.

SATURDAY 27TH MARCH, 1948                    Attendance 38,266

Mills; Hayes, Barker; Whittingham, Heppelwhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Glazzard, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Brown; Carey (capt), Aston; Warner, McGlen, Cockburn;
Delaney, Morris, Burke, Pearson, Mitten;

Referee:- Mr A.C. Denham, Preston

Town, who won 2-1 at Blackburn yesterday (Good Friday) thanks to goals from
Bateman and Glazzard, had their chances but could not score against the cup favourites,
despite United giving a rare appearance to reserve goalkeeper 'Berry' Brown. Town were handicapped by injuries to Hepplewhite and Hayes, which left them struggling with ten men for long periods of the game. (No substitutes allowed in those days). After a hard game United were said to have left Leeds Road with five first teamers and two reserves all injured. One of the reserves, Ronnie Burke, who deputised for Rowley was to join Town for the following season.

Yorkshire Sports match report.
Town made a brisk start; first on the right through Bateman, and then on the left for Metcalfe to centre a ball which troubled United. Nightingale got in a powerful shot which Brown just managed to divert round the foot of the post. United raided but Hayes managed to stop Mitten. Keen midfield exchanges took place until Morris and Delaney became aggressive.

United were granted a free kick, taken by Carey, but Pearson was off-side and the Town's defence gained relief. Bateman broke away to the other end where Town forced a fruitless corner. A lapse by Hepplewhite gave Burke a clear run-in but he finished weakly, and Mills diverted the ball. It was a bad miss on United's part. Playing with commendable dash, Town contrived to be the more dangerous side. Once Brown was fortunate to tip over a Glazzard header.

A moment later there was another thrill when, after good work by Metcalfe, a United defender stopped a Doherty header on the goal line with Brown out of his goal. For several minutes play remained in front of Brown, and hard pressed indeed were the United defence. Eventually, Doherty tried a shot, but it was wide. Two United raids were easily repelled, and off went Glazard, to be unceremoniously brought down near the corner flag.The free kick, however proved of no advantage. Town got a fright when Burke  had a good run and shot for the ball to be deflected.

Play was fast and full of interest during the first half. A beautiful movement in which Doherty, Metcalfe and Glazzard took part, almost proved successful. Aston just managed to clear with Brown out of position and Bateman rushing in to connect with a perfect pass from Metcalfe. Ten minutes from the interval United went ahead against the run of play. Pearson brought the ball cleverly under control, tricked a defender, and with an angular shot completely beat Mills. It was a clever goal.

Undismayed Town went back on the attack. They found United's rock-like defence difficult to penetrate, however. Whittingham hit the post with a rocket shot just before the interval. H.T. 0-1.

Soon after the restart Whittingham was in evidence again with forceful dribbles and neat passes to the men in front. Shots from Town were few, however, the best so far being by Metcalfe who forced Brown to rise to a drive which passed inches over the bar. Glazzard tried to force his was through but he lost in a tussle with McGlen. After Hepplewhite had been easily beaten by Burke, Mills showed skilful anticipation by running out and clearing from the centre forward as the latter shot. It was a good save.

Play was faster and keener than ever. A hard shot by Bateman found Brown in position  before Burke scored a second goal in the sixty third minute to clinch the points for United.




Mills; Briggs, Barker; Whittingham, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Glazzard, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Hayhurst; Cook, Higgins; Whiteside, Pryde (capt), Bell;
Campbell, Crossan, McClelland, Murphy, Langton;

Referee;- Mr P. Snape, Swinton

A smallish bank holiday crowd turned out for this Easter Monday game, and got soaked (me included) by torrential rain in the first half, but dried out with hot sunshine in the second half.
Blackburn had a much changed side and the blackboard carried round the ground before the start scarcely had room for all the details.

One figure that did stand out was the balding figure of centre half and captain, Bob Pryde, who commanded the Rovers defence and was very strong in the air. A minute before the interval Bateman headed Town ahead, but they frittered many other chances.

Two minutes into the second half, Pryde came upfield for a corner and headed Rovers level. Town had been clearly superior in the first half, but struggled in the second. Reserve full back Briggs came in for the injured Hayes and although finding the England international winger Bobby Langton quite a handful, did quite well.

For some reason, perhaps due to the fact I was taking the eleven plus examination at school, I missed the home match with Arsenal, who were to be league champions, on the 10th April. Town did well to hold them to a 1-1 draw in front of the biggest crowd of the season - 38,596. The final home match I saw was a boring 0-0 draw with Stoke City in front of only 16,115 people.

So the season drew to an end with Town finishing eighteenth (out of 22). They were level with Sunderland on 26 points and only very narrowly ahead on goal average.
Blackburn on 32 and poor Grimsby only 22, were relegated with Grimsby never to be seen in the top division again.

At the end of the season there was an epic F.A. Cup Final which I only managed to see on the cinema newsreels of the time. Manchester United's all star team were worthy winners by 4 goals to 2.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Huddersfield Town 1947-48

Posted by Tony Hutton


Town started the season well with a goal-less draw at Derby before the first home match against Blackpool.

Wednesday 27th August 1947               Attendance 32,099


Hesford; Hayes, Briggs; Green, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Wallace; Shimwell, Suart; Johnston (capt), Haywood, Farrow;
Matthews, Mortenson, McIntosh, Dick, Rickett;

Saturday 30th August 1947                  Attendance 25,415              


Hesford; Hayes, Barker: Green, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Butler; Rooke, Ferrier; Scoular, Flewin (capt), Dickinson;
Harris, Reid, Froggatt, Barlow, Parker;

Portsmouth had lost their first two games and experimentated with outside left Jack Froggatt at centre forward. Town's plans revolved around the inspiring leadership of Irish international Peter Doherty, who was largely responsible for them avoiding relegation last season. Only relegated Brentford and Leeds United finished below them.

The programme expressed the hope that Town could build a team around Doherty, just as happened many years ago when Clem Stephenson came to Leeds Road as a key man. Town's new manager this season is Mr George Stephenson, who was a much travelled player before the war but not quite as famous as his brother.

Portsmouth were the better side, but a piece of luck gave them the first goal after only two minutes, when a pass hit the referee in the Town penalty area and was diverted to Barlow who scored easily. Froggatt scored the second goal to clinch the points for Portsmouth.

Town were hustled and bustled out of their stride by a speedy Portsmouth side, but tempers began to fray on both sides and after centre half Hepplewhite had spent 15 minutes in the dressing room, due to an injury, the game degenerated into a very unpleasant exhibition!

This game was followed by two home wins, 3-1 against Chelsea and a resounding 5-1 thrashing of Grimsby, who were to end up relegated ( yes Grimsby were once a first division side!). Two home draws with Sunderland and Liverpool followed together with an amazing 5-1 away win at Bolton. Things seemed to be looking up, especially when Town drew 4-4 away from home with the very strong Manchester United.

Wednesday 10th September, 1947                      Attendance 20,145
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 5 (Doherty 2, Green, Glazzard, Whittingham)

Dring; Hayes, Barker; Green, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Tweedy; Sibley, Fisher; Galley, Blenkinsopp, Reeves;
Pearson, Burnett, Briggs, Cairns, Wardle;

                                                               Grimsby Town 1947-48

Town showed clear superiority throughout against a poor side. It was a good display showing nice directness and snappiness by the Town players which has been rarely equalled.
Raymond Dring, a Lincolnshire school teacher, showed good handling and positioning in goal and appears to have few serious faults. Town only led 3-1 with fifteen minutes remaining, but then goals by Glazzard and Whittingham emphasised their superiority. Grimsby looked a poor team which was confirmed at the end of the season when they were relegated.

Saturday 20th September, 1947                      Attendance 28,591


Dring; Hayes, Barker; Watson (A), Heppelwhite, Boot;
Whittingham, Glazzard, Price, Thompson, Metcalfe;

Williams; McLean, Pritchard; Crook, Brice, Borbes;
Hancocks, Pye, Westcott, Smythe, Mullen;

A poor game partially excused by the absence of both side's star players through injury. Peter Doherty
was missing for Town and Billy Wright for Wolves. Jesse Pye scored the only goal.

Saturday 4th October, 1947                            Attendance 24,298

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (Thompson, Metcalfe) SUNDERLAND 2 (Reynolds 2)

Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Watson (A), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham,Thompson, Metcalfe;

Mapson; Stelling, Hudgell; Scotson, Walsh, Wright;
Duns, Robinson, Davis, Watson (W), Reynolds;

Sunderland were well on top during the first half, with their left wing pair of  Willie Watson (up against his brother Albert) and Reynolds taking the eye. The cool, immaculate Watson kicks a football with as much thought as he make a cricket shot for Yorkshire. His wing partner, the diminutive Reynolds, who must be on the verge of an England appearance on this performance, scored both first half goals. The second, two minutes before half time, flew like lightning past Hesford's head. Half time 0-2.

Centre forward Davis missed two sitters, as Sunderland should have gone further ahead, but Metcalfe eventually found his way round full back Stelling to lay on a goal for reserve Thompson and then got the equaliser himself after sixty eight minutes. Indeed with the exception of wing half Wright and goalkeeper Mapson, the Sunderland defence really went to pieces in the second half. However overall they remained the better team and only Whittingham and Metcalfe matched their high standards. Pick of the town defence was steadily improving full back Barker who rarely puts a foot wrong.

Saturday 1st November 1947                       Attendance 22,028


Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Whittingham, Rodgers, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Bartram; Shreeve, Lock; Fenton, Phipps, Johnson;
Hurst, Lancelotte, Vaughan, McCrea, Revell;

Town were on top for most of the game but were thwarted by weak finishing and the powerful goalkeeping of Sam Bartra. Charlton took the points thanks to a Bill Hayes own goal in the last minute which marred an otherwise excellent performance. The full back tried a back pass to goalkeeper Hesford, but lobbed it over his head as he stood stranded several yards out of his goal.

Saturday 15th November, 1947              Attendance 27,506


Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Heppelwhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Gooch; Grey, Scott; Shankly, Williams, Horton;
Finney, McLaren, McIntosh, Beattie, Anders;

                               Preston North End 1947-48

Town returned to Leeds Road after a brilliant 4-4 draw last week with Manchester United at Maine Road, in front of a 60,000 crowd. Scorers were Glazzard, Doherty 2 (1 pen) and Bateman. After today's match Tom Finney left with his leg strapped up after a very hard game. Huddersfield won the points thanks to a Bateman goal just five minutes before the end. Despite a stiff wind, the game fulfilled expectations because all the players touched the heights of the three internations, Finney, McLaren and Doherty. However Stewart the Town reserve centre half, normally a full back, started shakily but finished confidently. He said his new position was easier than full back. Hayes who had his best game of the season and Leslie Smith, who continues to improve at right half, had a lot to do with breaking up North End's attacks. Both goalkeepers were outstanding - Gooch had more saves to make but Hesford saved his fourth penalty of the season, not only saving Shankly's kick but McLaren's shot from the rebound.

Yorkshire Sports match report.

Saturday 29th November, 1947                                   Attendance 21,915

Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Smith; Furniss, Cox; Jackson, Latham, Forbes;
Rickett, Nightingale, Whitelum, Hagan (capt), Coop;

Referee:- Mr A Meadows (Redcar)

Town should have won by a bigger margin as United's defence, particularly on the left and at centre half, was not as good as last season. Apart from Forbes and goalscorer Jackson (the wing halves), they looked a poor side and their best player Hagan had an off day. Town were strong in defence and approach but woefully weak near goal. Doherty took a Metcalfe pass and created a goal for Whittingham before scoring the winner from a flashing centre by Bateman, who had his best game of the season.

Saturday 27th December 1947                     Attendance 32,634


Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Swift; Sproston, Westwood; Walsh, Fagan, Emptage;
Linacre, Black, McMorran, Smith, Clarke;

Referee: Mr S.N. Roberts (Liverpool)

This game was played just twenty four hours after yesterday's 1-1 draw at Maine Rd.
The year came to an end with no immediate threat of relegation for Town, thanks largely to the £10,000 invested in the purchase of Doherty a year ago. However Black gave City the lead after only eight minutes and City's wing halves and inside fowards kept the ball on the ground in the high wind. They tackled fiercely and used the ball astutely. Sproston used his head, to save his legs, with good positional play keeping Metcalfe under control. A good defence was completed by the inimitable Frank Swift, England's goalkeeper and powerful left back Westwood.
Town were more hesitant and less accurate, but they would not give up on a bitterly cold, windy and rainy day and deserved marks for that. Whittingham, who headed the equaliser two minutes from the end in the grand Tommy Lawton manner, like Doherty has earned his transfer fee many times over. Town are more pleased with the form of young right half Leslie Smith, at the moment the most improved player in Yorkshire.

The rest of season 1947-48 will be reviewed in my next blog.

Hot news - my youngest grandson, Neil who is six, wrote an account of Derby County's recent game for his homework the other day. Another blogger in the making.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Manchester United v Charlton 7.2.48

Posted by Tony Hutton



Manchester Utd - Crompton; Carey, Aston; Warner, Chilton, Cockburn;
Delaney, Morris, Rowley, Pearson, Mitten;

Charlton - Bartram; Campbell, Lock; Johnson, Bicknell, Revell;
Hurst, Fenton, Vaughan, McCrea, Duffy;

Referee:- C.J. Barrick, Brayfield, Northants.

As both Manchester clubs had been drawn at home and were sharing the Maine Road ground due to wartime bomb damage at Old Trafford, the tie was moved to Huddersfield, thus enabling the unfortunate Town supporters to see two top class teams.

United had already beaten Aston Villa 6-4 away in an epic third round tie and then Liverpool, at home, 3-0 in the fourth round. The cup holders Charlton, who had beaten Burnley 1-0 in last year's final, were never really in with a chance of progressing further this time.

Little was seen of last year's Wembley hero and goalscorer Chris Duffy who was played out if the game by the immaculate John Carey.

Sam Bartram in the Charlton goal saved his side from a heavier defeat. On a muddy ground United played football of a type seldom seen in this competition. They played superbly as a team and their fast forwards and supporting wing halves overwhelmed Charlton.

The handwriting below this picture is my own, at age 11. My web designer and technical adviser is the same age and thinks his handwriting is better. His teachers may disagree!

Bartram was unlucky when Warner's 25 yard drive was deflected out of his reach and again he had no chance when Delaney on the right sent over a fast low centre which Mitten, cutting in from the left wing, headed like a bullet into the net.

United have put together a formidable team with an international flavour. Apart from their Irish captain, Carey,  Warner is a Welshman and Jimmy Delaney the Scotsman from Glasgow Celtic also looks a useful acquisition. In addition all the other United forwards must be candidates for England honours in the not too distant future.

This was how I remember it, with some help from newspaper accounts of the time. It was of course significant that United went on to win the cup, beating Blackpool 4-2 in an eventful final at Wembley, thus gaining their first trophy of the Busby era.

                    Harry Johnston of Blackpool greets John Carey at Wembley 1948.                    

Twenty years later, Busby was still there and at some future date I will publish my account of the greatest night in his career when United became the first English side to win the European Cup.

This game left a lasting impression on me and over sixty five years later I can still reel off the Manchester United team without any hesitation!

   Match report from Yorkshire Sports newspaper.

CURTAINS FOR CUP HOLDERS - Manchester United's dash beats Charlton.

Partisans made a terrific din with bells and rattles when Manchester United and Charlton appeared at Leeds Road, Huddersfield in the fifth round of the F.A. Cup. The attendance at the start was about 36,000. The game started five minutes before schedule to avoid a transport clash with that from Fartown rugby league ground after the match. The ground was sodden with heavy rain. Manchester United played in blue jerseys and Charlton in white. United were the first to become dangerous through Pearson. They forced a corner and Morris had a good shot blocked. Hurst broke away at the other end where Crompton ran out and intercepted the winger's centre at the expense of a corner.

Severe United pressure followed good work by Delaney and Morris. The former placed a beautiful 
centre into the goalmouth. Charlton's defence was covering weel. McCrae made a good effort to break through for the Cup holders, but was held up by force of numbers. After Delaney had deceived the Charlton defence he parted to Rowley who missed by a yard. A moment later Rowley forced Bartram to save brilliantly at full length. United were playing great football and Charlton's defence was having a tough time. WARNER beat Bartram with an angled shot from about twenty yards out in the twenty seventh minute to put United in front.


United were the faster and more enterprising side and deserved their lead. Delaney forced Bartram to make two more saves in hurricane United attacks. The Cup holders had certainly their backs to the wall at this stage. Bartram tipped a Pearson drive over the bar for another corner. Mitten was causing Charlton a lot of trouble on the left. After Hurst had led an isolated Charlton raid Johnston was only inches high with a good shot. A clever movement in which Mitten and Rowley figured saw the last named force Bartram to make a brilliant saved. United were playing with dash, skill and confidence.

Half time Manchester United 1 Charlton Athletic 0.

Charlton forced the pace when play resumed, but they could find no loophole in United's defence. Soon United were at Charlton's end. Mitten fired in a terrific shot from thirty yards which sailed inches above the crossbar. Rain was now falling heavily and United had it behind them. The pace slackened a little after Bartram made two more saves to keep Charlton in the game.

Mitten forced a corner and a good shot by Rowley was rather luckily intercepted. Soon afterwards Mitten essayed another shot only to see Bartram bring off yet another fine save. In a Charlton raid McCrea had a good opportunity but he shot wide. MITTEN finally scored the clinching goal for United five minutes before the end of the game.

Result - Manchester United 2 Charlton Athletic.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Battles against relegation 1946-1949

Posted by Tony Hutton

I have only a few fleeting memories of my very first match at Elland Road in September 1946. I know I went with my Grandad and he must have pushed me through the crowd to the front so that I could see. Leeds United were resplendent in their blue and gold quartered shirts and Sheffield United were in traditional red and white stripes.

As far as the players were concerned I can remember a lively red haired wing half for Sheffield United being involved in the thick of the action. This was Alex Forbes, later to find fame with Arsenal and Scotland. For Leeds the man who stood out was burly, balding centre half Tom Holley, who later became a sports journalist with the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw in front of a crowd of 27,500 and one of the goalscorers for the visitors was Albert Nightingale, who I was soon to be watching perform for Huddersfield Town. Although this was a first division game, Leeds United were to have a poor season and ended up being relegated along with Brentford. Sheffield United, who were missing their star player Jimmy Hagan for this match, were themselves relegated two seasons later.

United entertained Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, the side against which they played their last pre-war game on 2nd September 1939, the day before war was declared. Now in the first season of league football since the war, Leeds United obtained their first point of the season, despite being outplayed for long periods of the game.

They were without centre forward George Ainsley and full back Ken Gadsby, both injured. Ainsley was badly missed although his deputy Gerald Henry did score, he is really an inside forward and too small for a centre forward role. They also need more strength at inside forward, although the diminutive Welshman, Aubrey Powell, also scored.

Leeds had no forward as good as Albert Nightingale, a clever ball player, or a wing half with the strength of Scotsman Alex Forbes or a defender with the class of Eddie Shimwell. Nightingale and Brook scored the Sheffield goals and they looked a good side, despite the absence of international Jimmy Hagan. Leeds' best player was commanding centre half and captain Tom Holley, but apart from him the defence looks a long way short of First division standard.

(At the end of the season leeds United were relegated, finishing in last place with only 18 points from 42 games, seven points behind the other relegated team - Brentford and 15 points behind Huddersfield Town who just escaped.)

However, within months I was living at Lascelles Hall, a small village on the outskirts of Huddersfield, more famous for it's cricketing history than anything else. Unfortunately, after seeing my first Huddersfield Town game against Preston North End on 16.11.46 (which Town won 3-0), we were hit by the worst winter in living memory. The next game I saw was not until 17.5.47, when Town again won 3-1 against Middlesborough, while clearing away the backlog of fixtures due to the very heavy snowfalls.

SATURDAY 16TH NOVEMBER, 1946                            Attendance 17,773



Hesford; Hayes, Barker; A. Watson, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Whittingham, Rodgers, Thompson, Metcalfe;

Fairbrother; Scott, A. Beattie; Horton, Williams, Hamilton;
Finney, McLaren, McIntosh, R. Beattie, Wharton;

Tom Finney, who is challenging Stanley Matthews for a place in the England team, showed that he has the craft to beat experienced defenders like Boot and Barker and had not Preston's forwards bunched together in front of goal, or had not Hesford once again produced an exemplary goalkeeping display, Preston might have extended their unbeaten run which stretched back to September 28th.

It was a much improved performance from Town, with Metcalfe again outstanding. Despite this they remain bottom of the table, but only on goal average behind Leeds United and Portsmouth.

SATURDAY 17TH MAY, 1947                                        Attendance 16,238


HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3 (Whittingham 2, Glazzard) MIDDLESBOROUGH 1 (Dews)

Hesford; Hayes, Barker, A. Watson, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Malan; Hepple, Stuart; Bell, N. Robinson, McCabe;
Spuhler, McCormack, Fenton, Dews, Walker;

For this last game of the season, played in the middle of May after the heavy snowfalls earlier in the year, Middlesborough fielded a somewhat below strength side without England regulars George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion. Gordon Hepple made his debut for Boro' and the South African goalkeeper Norman Malan made his final appearance before joining Darlington. It was nearly all one way traffic with Town well on top, despite a consolation goal from Worcestershire cricketer George Dews.

The first division champions were Liverpool after their last match against Wolves. Manchester City and Burnley were promoted from the second division to replace Leeds United and Brentford who were relegated.

So it was not until season 1947-48 that, with a group of new found friends, I soon became a regular at Huddersfield Town's Leeds Road ground, standing behind the goal, on the uncovered terrace below the half time scoreboard.

The journey to the ground which became a regular ritual for the next two seasons started with a walk down the steep hill from Lascelles Hall to the trolleybus terminus at Waterloo. Then a short ride to Moldgreen and another walk past the Dalton cricket ground, pausing to watch the action during early and late season, and then another steep descent down Kilner Bank to the ground. So coming home after a poor game (and there were plenty of those) and in poor weather was literally an uphill struggle.

We always got there early to join the throng of autograph hunters on the wide expanse of pavement outside the ground. Many of the home team players were young men and would slip into the players' entrance unnoticed, but when the visitors' coach arrived everyone would spot the big name players who we had seen pictures of in the football magazines. Remember no television in those days.

Some of the players I remember being more extrovert, like Trevor Ford, the Aston Villa and Wales centre forward, who always wore a camel hair overcoat and looked like a film star. Peter McKennan, the Middlesborough player, was another extrovert always surrounded by a group of admirers and willing to sign autographs. The highlight was probably the last match of Frank Swift, the famous England goalkeeper,  who left the ground in a Manchester City Supporters Club coach bedecked with flags and a banner which read, 'Manchester City, England Great Britain thanks you'. In fact it turned out not to be his last match as due to an injury crisis he was actually recalled briefly at the start of the following season.


Like Swift, Billy Wright of Wolves was a member of the all-conquering England side of those immediate post-war years. When his club won the F.A. Cup in 1948-49 they came to Huddersfield for a mid-week match and Wright appeared with the cup in a battered old wood box and allowed all of us small boys the thrill of being able to touch the cup. Today you would have to pay the appropriate fee to the sponsors to be photographed with the cup before you got anywhere near it.

Town had famously lost the 1936 Cup Final in the last minute when George Mutch of Preston North End scored a disputed penalty which went in off the crossbar.

During the three seasons I watched them Huddersfield Town were perennial strugglers against relegation from the First Division, which they had famously won three seasons in a row in 1924, 1925 and 1926. They had one of the largest grounds in the league, which had attracted a record crowd of 67,037 for a game with Arsenal in 1932. The huge open terrace, opposite the main stand, was perhaps not quite as big as the one at the Valley, Charlton but not far off. The 1950-51 Playfair football annual showed a picture of this large terrace nearly empty, due to dreadful weather, for a game with Chelsea.

Now times had changed and the men in the famous blue and white stripes clung onto their first division status by the skin of their teeth. The man who kept them up during those three season was Irish international, Peter Doherty. He had been a big name player with Manchester City before the war and with Derby County in their cup winning side of 1945-46. His one man crusade, surrounded by players of lesser abilities, was always something of a struggle. He seemed to take all the free kicks, penalties and throws in and it very often didn't work. In other words he seemed to be trying too hard. However he deserved credit for bringing on some of the youngsters around him, notably left wing partnerVic Metcalfe, who went on to play for England. After leaving Town, Doherty became a successful player-manager with Doncaster Rovers. I still have a copy of his autobiography, which I remember my father queued for some time to get, a reflection of his popularity in Huddersfield.

Perhaps because of this lack of success, even at such a young age, I took a somewhat detached view. I did not become a blinkered fanatical supporter, but appreciated more the visiting sides and the quality of their play, thus starting the habit of a lifetime of being for the most part a somewhat neutral observer.

What struck me most from my spot behind the goal were the goalkeepers, who all appeared to me to be old men. They all wore green polo neck sweaters, long shorts and huge boots. Men like George Swindin of Arsenal, Joe Rutherford of Villa, George Marks of Blackburn, Joe Robinson of Blackpool, Stan Hanson of Bolton and particularly Ted Sagar of Everton, who had played in a cup winning side in the early 1930s, alongside the legendary Dixie Dean, all seemed absolutely ancient.

My most vivid memory of those times is not of a Huddersfield Town game, but a cup tie which took place at the Leeds Road ground in February 1948, which I will report in my next blog.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

In the beginning

Posted by Tony Hutton        Website designed by Sam Hutton

A packed crowd at the Clock End, Highbury to watch Arsenal in 1933. Large crowds were again to be seen when football resumed after the war.

A few months after the war ended in 1945 Moscow Dynamo visited England for an unprecedented brief tour of England which aroused tremendous interest and huge crowds attended matches at Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane and Ninian Park, Cardiff. I read about them in the press and my first magazine cuttings featured the remarkable goalkeeper - 'Tiger' Khomich.

The first football match I remember was the 1946 F.A. cup final between Derby County and Charlton Athletic at Wembley. I saw the newsreel coverage, in black and white, at the local Saturday morning cinema show for children. Derby won 4-1 and most of the publicity surrounded the fact that the ball burst and Charlton's Bert Turner scored for both sides. Many years later I obtained a programme for this match.

                                     Derby County 1946

The Derby County players in the picture above are back row:- Jim Bullions, Jack Nicholas (capt), Vic Woodley, Leon Leuty, Jack Howe and Chick Musson.
Front row:- Reg Harrison, Raich Carter, Jack Stamps, Peter Doherty and Dally Duncan

I was hooked on football from the age of nine, when my maternal grandfather, James Matthew Cowan, took me to Elland Road, as the first season of league football after World War Two got underway. Leeds United were playing Sheffield United on the 7th September 1946. A few days later I persuaded my mother to buy me the Sunday Chronicle Football Annual for 1946-47 from a stall in Leeds Market. I still have it today, minus the covers, and I think it probably cost about a shilling. My mother, still struggling with post-war austerity and shortages seemed to think this was the height of extravagance. I still remember her words, 'are you sure you really want this?'.

I read and re-read the small print of this excellent publication, taking in the milestones of soccer history, the lists of league champions and cup winners over the years. The catalogue of international players for the four home countries, the match details of the previous season's F.A. Cup, the only time it was played on a two legged basis and of course the fixtures for the coming season. It started me off on a collection of sports annuals and books which continues to grow almost seventy years later

        Charlton got their revenge and won the cup in 1947, Chris Duffy scoring the only goal of the game.

However, although Leeds was the city of my birth, I did not stick with them throughout my thirty odd years of obsession with the game, although I was to return in the mid-seventies, towards the end of the Revie era, which was the most successful period in their history.

Soon after seeing that first match my father moved the family to Huddersfield and for the next three years I became a regular at Huddersfield Town, then a struggling First Division team. My father, a local government officer, then took a rather drastic step as far as I was concerned, of moving to a job in Birmingham. Although I had not built up any strong affection for Huddersfield Town, any more than I had for Leeds United, it was a considerable culture shock to move to a rugby union playing school in Walsall, where they spoke a very different Black Country language.

I was immediately christened 'utton from 'uddersfield and it took me some time to become assimilated as my Yorkshire accent gradually changed to the local dialect. The only plus point of this upheaval was the number of soccer teams in the Birmingham area. For the next 18 years I did the rounds of Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves and Walsall, building an affection for them all at different periods, without becoming a lifetime supporter of any of them.

This Midlands period was also eventful for several visits to Wembley. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the 1955 Cup Final, as the amateur club for which I was playing got two tickets and a draw was made, one for current players and one for former players. Luckily my name came out. I was even more fortunate to get a ticket for the World Cup Final in 1966 and the European Cup Final of 1968. These big games will be covered later in the match accounts I wrote at the time.

Whereas my previous moves could be blamed on my father, the next twist in the tale was down to my own desire to return to my native Yorkshire, mainly due to my other sporting obsession - Yorkshire county cricket club. I got a transfer by my employer to Bradford which didn't work out and ended up working in Sheffield, but living in Derbyshire. Here I became involved with two clubs who were both about to enter the greatest periods in their history, Derby County, then a Second Division team, and non-league Matlock Town.

Eventually I moved again into Sheffield and unusually watched both United and Wednesday, although this was encouraged by winning a father and son competition in the Sheffield Star newspaper for two free season tickets at Bramall Lane. This meant that however badly they played, we still turned up at every game as it was free! Although my son, Peter, was only seven at the time of this first change of allegiance for him, he has remained faithful to his original club Derby County to this day.

The final move of my business career came in 1975 when I went back to square one in Leeds, where it all started and father and son became season ticket holders at Elland Road for three seasons as Revie's great team came to the end of the road. By this time my son was a teenager and keen to join his pals on the Kop before progressing to the press box and the commentary box in due course.

So finally a combination of factors left me a rather disillusioned forty odd year old who got fed up of going to games, although I still watched on television. The excitement, enjoyment, the anticipation of each week's game had gone. The first sign of old age I suppose, but the game wasn't as good, crowd behaviour was considerably worse, the whole atmosphere had changed. What was once good natured banter between home and away fans became tribal warfare with many people just going to show hatred and contempt for the opposition. The wall of silence which now greets any goal for the visiting side, whether it is the goal of the season or the goal of the century, was not for me.

Rugby League took the place of soccer for the next twenty years until Rupert Murdoch changed it into a summer sport, which then clashed with my greater love of cricket. So in the winter months, I am now a couch potato, but with great memories, which have not dimmed with the years. I hope to bring back some of them over the next few months. This will be a story of eleven teams, with which I had brief affairs and more importantly to record the names of so many forgotten heroes who once lit up those winter Saturday afternoons, long before every move was analysed over and over again by panels of so called 'experts'. You used to have one glimpse of those magical, skilfull and sometimes humorous moments, which stick in the mind forever.

I hope you will enjoy joining me on my journey.