Sunday, 29 October 2017

Season 1962-63 - Walsall are relegated.

Posted by Tony Hutton

In September 1962 I got married for the first time. This rather curtailed my football watching activities and I only saw a dozen games. I have the results and goalscorers and that is about all.
It was also one of the hardest winters for many years and games were postponed week after week between the middle of December  and the beginning of March. The season was extended to the end of May when I do have the full story of Walsall's relegation back to the Third Division.

Pleased to say that normal service will be resumed for the start of season 1963-64.




Boswell; Gregg, Palin; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Wills, Taylor;

Wood; Atkins, Wilson; Saward, Taylor, Dinsdale;
McHale, White, Stokes, Massie, O'Grady;

Huddersfield who had started the season with a draw at Derby looked as if they meant business.
The visitors' close passing game had the Walsall defence in trouble early on and although McHale had been guilty of one pass too many on a few occasions he eventually got the message and tested Boswell with a stinging shot from the edge of the area.

After only fifteen minutes Huddersfield took the lead when Ray Wilson, playing at his constructive best, cantered upfield to cross a perfect ball for Stokes to flick home. Huddersfield now had all the possession but first Stokes, then Massie and later O'Grady  all ballooned the ball over the bar from close range. Wood was hardly called into action, apart from dealing with back passes, in the first half and Walsall's first effort on goal did not come until the second half. Half time 0-1.

Huddersfield immediately were made to suffer for their missed chances when Tony Richards, now nearing the 200 goal mark for Walsall, put them level after a clever pass from Gordon Wills, the new man from Leicester. Palin started the move and then Wills lobbed the ball down the middle for Richards to volley it on the turn past a startled Ray Wood.

Huddersfield were always able to play their way out of trouble and keep possession whereas Walsall were not as efficient. Wood did well to keep out a tremendous drive from Hodgkisson in the closing minutes and Boswell also did well to dive at McHale's fee. A draw was a fitting result.



WALSALL 1 (Taylor) LEEDS UNITED 1 (Johanneson)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Rawlings, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, richards, Wills, Taylor;

Sprake; Reaney, Mason; Bell, Charlton, Hunter;
Hawksby, Payton, Lawson, Collins, Johanneson;

Referee:- N.N. Hough, Littleborough

Leeds United took an early lead through their South African winger Albert Johanneson and looked to be taking both points until Colin Taylor equalised just three minutes before the end with only his secon league goal of the season.



WALSALL 1 (Taylor) CHELSEA 5 (Tambling 2, Moore, Dudley og, Bridges)

Boswell; Gregg, Palin; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Newton, Taylor;

Bonetti; Shellito, Harris (A); Venables, Mortimore, Upton;
Murray, Tambling, Bridges, Moore, Knox;

Referee:- S.B. Stoakes, Nottingham.

These pictures and report are from the following week's Chelsea programme.

 Tambling scores the fifth through the goalkeeper's legs.

The table shows Chelsea at the top of the league with Walsall struggling near the bottom.






WALSALL 3 (Richards 2, Eastham og.) BURY 1

Boswell; Hill, Gregg; Dudley, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Richards, Newton, Taylor;

Harker; Robertson, Eastham; Turner, Stokoe, Atherton;
Mayers, Jones, Calder, Beaumont, Barclay;

Referee:- R.E. Smith, Newport, Mon.






WALSALL 0 MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Harley)                       Attendance 11,553

Boswell; Sharples, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Richards, Taylor;

City team:- Dowd; Betts, Sear; Benson, Leivers, Pardoe;
Dobing, Kennedy, Harley, Hannah, Wagstaffe.

Referee:- H.P. Hackney, Barnsley.

This third round cup tie was originally scheduled for Saturday 5th January, but the date on the programme was Wednesday 30th January, after several postponements due to the wintry weather.
However the bad weather continued and the match was eventually played on Wednesday 6th March.

It was not a particularly memorable game, Manchester City were always in control and won the game by a single goal scored by centre forward Alex Harley.



WALSALL 2 (Taylor, Meek) PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 2 (McParland, Carter)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill (capt), Eden, Dudley;
Meek, O'Neill, Wiggin, Hodgkisson, Taylor;

Leiper; Roberts, Davis; Reeves, Newman (capt), Buckingham;
Corbett, McAnearney, Carter, O'Neill, McParland;

Referee:- T.W. Dawes, Norwich

After the long winter break which had seen seven successive league games postponed during January and February, Walsall had a very poor run of form which has seen them lose their seven matches and they now find themselves at the bottom of the league.

In this game they did at least salvage one point with a much changed side with local youngster Wiggin at centre forward in place of Tony Richards, the club's record goalscorer who has been transferred to Port Vale. Richards scored 196 goals for the club thus beating previous record holder Gilbert Alsop's total of 165. He has been a consistent goalscorer throughout his nine years with the club since he was signed by then manager Major Frank Buckley. He twice scored 36 goals in a season and will be missed by all Saddlers followers.



WALSALL 2 (Newton, O'Neill) CARDIFF CITY 1 (King)

Boswell; Palin, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

John; Stitfall, Edwards; Harrington, Peck, Hole;
McIntosh, Tapscott, Fraser, King, Hooper;

Referee:- K.R. Tuck, Chesterfield

Another valuable two points for the Saddlers in yet another close battle. Newton put them ahead in the first half and they led 1-0 at the interval. King equalised for Cardiff, but O'Neill who has not really settled into the side got the vital winner.



WALSALL 3 (Newton, O'Neill, Meek) NORWICH CITY 1 (Allcock)

Boswell; Palin, Gregg; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

Jones; Kelly, Ashman; Burton, Metcalf, Mullett;
Sutton, Bryceland, Allcock, Hill, Miller;

Referee:- J. Mitchell, Prescot, Lancs.



WALSALL 0 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0 (Game abandoned at half time - torrential rain)

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill, McPherson, Rawlings;
Meek, Hodgkisson, O'Neill, Newton, Taylor;

Wakeham; Sewell, Hewie; Lucas, Tocknell, Edwards;
Kenning, Peacock, Ryan, Kinsey, Durandt;

Referee: G.D. Roper, Swaffem Prior, Cambridge.

This vital game, which if Charlton won would save them and send Walsall back into the Third Division, was played on my birthday. However at half time the sky turned black and an absolute
torrential downpour flooded the pitch and the match was abandoned. It was hastily re-arranged for the night of Friday 24th May, just three days later. The season had already been severely prolonged because of the hard winter in January and February.



WALSALL 1 (Taylor) CHARLTON ATHLETIC 2  (Peacock, Kenning)

This was the night when everything went wrong for Walsall. They had looked confident to get at least the point they needed to avoid relegation in the first match, so sadly abandoned after the torrential downpour at half time.

The story of this memorable game is vividly told by Geoff Allman in his excellent book 'Walsall F.C. - Fifty of the finest matches' published in 2002 re-printed here.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

1961-62 - Part seven (FA Cup semi-final Burnley v Fulham)

Posted by Tony Hutton



BURNLEY 1 (Leggat)  FULHAM 1 (Connelly)                          Attendance 59,989

Blacklaw; Angus, Elder; Adamson, Cummings, Miller;
Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Harris;

Macedo; Cohen, Langley; Mullery, Dodgin, Lowe;
Leggat, Henderson, Cook, Haynes, O'Connell;

Referee:- W. Clements, Birmingham

Fulham, struggling to avoid relegation, could not have imagined when they beat Walsall in a fourth round replay that they would be just one match from Wembley at this stage of the season. However here they were, but very much underdogs against the powerful Burnley side who are currently First Division leaders.

Fulham began well in bright sunshine and took the game to Burnley, who seemed strangely hesitant.
Centre forward Cook twice went close with headers, once following one of Langley's long throws and then Blacklaw made a brilliant save when Cook headed on Langley's corner. McIlroy, the brains of the Burnley attack took an early knock and had to receive treatment. This seemed to slow him down somewhat and Fulham remained on top.

After 28 minutes as the sunshine turned to sleet Cook and Haynes combined to put Leggat through and he scored with a left foot shot from 15 yards. The pitch was now white all over with sleet and hail and the huge crowd on the uncovered Holte terrace were in for a soaking. Blacklaw was continually in action in the Burnley goal first blocking a shot from O'Connell and then sticking out a foot to stop a point blank effort from Johnny Haynes. Connelly lead two brief raids at the other end but Fulham had been by far the better side. Half time Burnley 0 Fulham 1.

The snowstorm continued for a few minutes at the start of the second half and then to the relief of the fans it stopped. No sooner had it done so Burnley went level a square ball from McIlroy, still limping somewhat, found Connelly who scored from ten yards. Fulham came back strongly straight away as the snow began to fall again. The players were finding it difficult to keep their footing and Burnley were finding it hard going against the likes of Mullery and Cohen who both had fine games.

In the last ten minutes Burnley had two opportunities to score the winner and missed them both. First McIlroy put Pointer clear down the middle, he raced through outpacing the defenders only to finish with a drive which went just inches over the bar. The five minutes from the end Robson missed a great opportunity when he headed a great cross just wide. Fulham had been the better side throughout and must have felt hard done to with only a draw.

(The replay took place at Filbert Street, Leicester on 9th April and Burnley went through to the final by winning 2-1. Details of the Final when they played Spurs will follow later).



WALSALL 1 (Meek) LEEDS UNITED 1 (Johanneson)              Attendance 9,005

Boswell; Palin, Sharples; Hill, McPherson, Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Foster, Richards, Taylor;

Younger; Hair, Mason; Goodwin, Charlton, Smith;
Bremner, Collins, Lawson, Peyton, Johnanneson;

Referee:- H. Richards, Oldham

Both teams struggled to control the ball in a heavy cross wind and far too many balls were hit into the air when a pass along the ground was called for. Lowly placed Leeds were still in danger of relegation to the Third Division and their star man proved to be South African winger Albert Johnanneson, whose speedy runs down the left had the Walsall defence in trouble. Indeed with a bit of luck he could have had a hat-trick.

As it was Walsall took the lead after 24 minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Taylor mis-kicked and sliced his shot across goal, where Meek collected and hit a hard shot into the net after being deflected off the diving goalkeeper. Leds came more into the game after this and Goodwin hit the post and Boswell saved well from a fierce drive by Johnanneson. Meek went close at the other end and Tommy Younger, the Leeds goalkeeper needed attention after the ball struck him in the midriff.

Younger soon recovered his breath and did well to finger tip a 30 yard swerving effort from Colin Taylor over the bar. Just before the interval the dangerous Johanneson had a great chance for Leeds. He ran onto a defence splitting pass and his hard shot was blocked by Boswell. The rebound went straight back to him but he lofted it high over the bar when he seemed certain to equalise.
Half time 1-0.

In the second half Leeds began to play the better football, despite the high wind and it was backs to the wall time for the Walsall defenders. Boswell had to race out of goal to stop Johanneson again and had to boot the ball out of play. Younger was injured again when he got a knock in the ribs as Foster tried to head in a Richards cross. Both sets of forwards struggled in the windy conditions and the game deteriorated as both teams missed several good chances.

In the 75th minute Boswell could only palm the ball out. It went straight to Johanneson who hit it back just inside the far post from a narrow angle. With Leeds now on level terms they went all out for the winner. Boswell had to push an effort from Lawson over the bar but Walsall managed to hold out for the draw despite constant late pressure from Leeds.

(Walsall finished their up and down season in a satisfactory 14th place certainly managing to hold their own in the division. Leeds finished in 19th place just three points away from relegation)


F.A. CUP FINAL AT WEMBLEY  (On Television)           Attendance 100,000

TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 3 (Greaves, Smith, Blanchflower pen) BURNLEY 1 (Robson)

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Norman, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones;

Blacklaw; Angus, Elder; Adamson (capt), Cummings, Miller;
Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Harris;

Referee:- J. Finney, Hereford

This start to the Cup Final obviously gave Spurs the edge yet Alan Hoby of the Sunday Express did not pick Jimmy Greaves as man of the match, nor did he pick skipper Danny Blanchflower whose stroking and caressing of the ball he described as sheer poetry. He also considered 'The Ghost' as inside forward John White was known and the Scottish warrior Dave Mackay known to the fans as 'The Tank'. Hoby's selection was giant centre half Maurice Norman, who in the past has been accused of defects of temperament and tecnique. Going a bit over the top Hoby said Norman bestrode the middle like a mountain peak in his task of subduing the dangerous Ray Pointer.

Goal number one for Jimmy Greaves.

So with Pointer to some extent bottled up it was left to mid field maestros McIlroy and Footballer of the Year Jimmy Adamson to try other avenues of attack. Harris hit one over the bar and Robson had a header saved with ease by the capable Bill Brown in the Spurs goal. Spurs had a scare when Mackay went down injured but the tough Scot was soon back in action after treatment. John White then tried a lob which Blacklaw saved well under the bar but Burnley were on top just before the interval and the game was by no means over. Half time Spurs 1 Burnley 0.

Five minutes after the interval Burnley were level and it was a mistake from the normally immaculate John White who tried to flick the ball to Mackay but left him stranded. Pointer was away and gave the ball to Harris on the left who turned a short pass inside for Robson to score easily. The Burnley supporters found their voice and the North had come from behind to rock the South back on it's sophisticated heels. Not for long though.

Goal number two for Bobby Smith.

White was immediately away down the left after the kick off and floated a beautiful ball into the middle and there was centre forward Bobby Smith, with socks around his ankles, taking the ball from Tommy Cummings he went round him with a double shuffle and hammered the ball home. 2-1 to Spurs and now it was Burnley back on their heels. They came back though with Adamson and McIlroy scheming away in midfield. Connelly missed a golden chance with an open goal, then Robson missed another and even though Bobby Smith was by now limping after a fierce Cummings challenge Spurs were in control.

Eight minutes from the end a slice of luck ended Burnley's hopes. Greaves who had made little impact in the second half slipped a nice ball through to Medwin on the left, who passed it on to White. His immaculate cross found a group of Burnley defenders jumping to clear and the linesman flagged as Smith appeared to have impeded goalkeeper Blacklaw. Referee Finney ignored this signal and waved play on so Medwin shot for goal and the ball struck the unfortunate Cummings who was standing on the goal line. Referee Finney had no doubt - handball by Cummings and a penalty to Spurs.

Goal number three from Blanchflower.

Danny Blanchflower, the Spurs captain, took the kick with his usual precision, sending Blacklaw the wrong way and the ball into the opposite corner of the net. 3-1 to Spurs and the game was all over.
Sadly Burnley had not risen to the occasion and Spurs after their double triumph last season had the confidence to perform on the biggest of stages.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

1961-62 - Part five (Spurs in the Midlands)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Having been pre-occupied with Walsall for most of the season so far it made a change to go to Molineux to see Wolves, who had been struggling for once this season, entertain double winners Spurs. So far Villa and West Brom. were the top two Midland teams in the First Division with Wolves and Birmingham City both in the bottom half of the table. Wolves, having lost 7-2 in their last league match at Blackpool and then knocked out of the cup by local rivals West Bromwich, were looking for a revival.



WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 3 (Wharton, McParland, Crowe)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 1 (White)                                                    Attendance 45,687

Davies; Stuart, Thompson; Kirkham, Slater (capt), Flowers;
Wharton, Crowe, Murray, Broadbent, McParland;

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Norman, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Allen, Greaves, Jones;

Referee:- H.P. Hackney, Barnsley

Wolves, only two points off the two relegation places, introduced two new signings Peter McParland, the Irish international winger, from Aston Villa and inside forward Chris Crowe from Blackburn. Spurs on the other hand were beginning to reproduce their form of last season, when they won the double, with the recent introduction of Jimmy Greaves from Chelsea. They were now second in the league just two points behind leaders Burnley.

Today however, the form book went out of the window and Wolves for once played with their old determination. It was not just the two newcomers who brought added zest as the rest of the forward line, all played as if inspired. Wolves were well on top and deserved their early lead which came after fifteen minutes. McParland made a characteristic run down the left before being knocked off the ball, but he recovered his footing and sent over an excellent cross which Wharton, not the tallest of men, headed past Brown into the net. Wolves continued to attack and Spurs had Brown to thank for two excellent saves.

Spurs did fight back very quickly when the Scotsman John White took a pass from Allen and hit a wonderful 20 yard goal over goalkeeper Davies to make it 1-1. Soon after this Les Allen was injured in a fierce tackle from Crowe and had to move onto the right wing with Medwin taking over at centre forward. Crowe was already becoming a firm favourite with the crowd and was always in the action but the other new boy McParland scored the next goal with a flying header from Wharton's right wing cross. Half time 2-1.

Spurs still had the limping Allen on the right wing at the start of the second half  (remember no substitutes were allowed at this time). The visitors continued to attack and after a series of hard tackles from full back Stuart, they appealed strongly for a penalty when Jones was sent flying inside the area. Greaves led the protests, which were of no avail, and got booked for his pains.

Just when Spurs seemed to be getting back into the game Wolves scored a third and probably decisive goal. Murray broke clear when Mackay misheaded the ball, but as Norman was about to tackle him turned the ball inside to Crowe, already a new hero, who calmly stroked the ball past Brown. 3-1 and surely were assured of the points now. Wolves attacked for much of the rest of the game but failed to add to their score.

Spurs did not lie down and Mackay in particular had two long range efforts, one saved by the young goalkeeper Davies and another which went narrowly wide. Spurs were no doubt handicapped by the injury to Allen, but were already behind when that happened. Wing half Kirkham should also be congratulated for keeping Jimmy Greaves out of the action for most of the game. As it was the whole crowd rose as one to salute the Wolves at the end of the game - a rare sight indeed this season.



WALSALL 2 (Taylor 2) HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (McHale, Balderstone)

Boswell; Palin, Guttridge; Hill, McPherson (capt), Dudley;
Meek, Hodgkisson, Foster, Richards, Taylor;

Wood; Atkins, Wilson; Saward, Coddington, Dinsdale;
McHale, White, Stokes, Balderstone, O'Grady;

Referee:- A.W. Sparling, Grimsby

The League Table before today's match with Walsall just having slipped into the bottom half.

Walsall were still trying to find a replacement centre forward for injured Tommy Wilson and this time tried local lad Trevor Foster, normally a winger or inside forward. Meek replaced Askey on the right wing for the Saddlers. Huddersfield included Len White signed from Newcastle on Monday at inside right. Huddersfield had a few other big names in goalkeeper Ray Wood, formerly with Manchester United, Ray Wilson at left back, Irishman Pat Saward at right half and Yorkshire cricketer Chris Balderstone at inside left.

Walsall had an early fright when McHale easily beat Guttridge on the right wing and flashed the ball across the goalmouth where Stokes missed the ball completely with the goal at his mercy. Walsall then took the lead after only seven minutes when a defensive mix up left Colin Taylor with only the goalkeeper to beat. His first shot came back to him off Wood, but he smashed the second attempt into the far corner of the net.

For the rest of the first half Walsall dominated possession and had several good chances which all went astray until the 36th minute when Taylor scored again after a defensive blunder by Coddington as Hodgkisson found Rchards, who flicked it into the area. George Meek let the ball run to Taylor who this time hit a hard right foot shot past Wood. Five minutes later Huddersfield pulled one back when the Walsall defence failed to clear a left wing cross and McHale scored with a perfect right foot shot. Half time 2-1.

Huddersfield caught Walsall cold in the first minute of the second half when Stokes rounded McPherson and put across a perfect ball from the bye line and a defender's attempted clearance struck Balderstone and bounced in off his chest before Boswell could get to it. 2-2 and all to play for. However the game seemed to deteriorate from this point onwards  with Walsall's forwards unable to click into gear. I got even worse when a terrific thunderstorm drenched the ground and the crowd.

During this downpour Len White nearly scored the winner for the visitors but Palin somehow managed to clear off the line. Boswell did well in the Walsall goal during this period but the home side, despite frantic attempts to get the winner, were thwarted by the other goalkeeper Ray Wood who kept his nerve and defied everything Walsall threw at him in the final stages.



ASTON VILLA 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 0                       Attendance 50,063

Sims; Lee, Aitken; Crowe, Sleeuwenhoek, Deakin;
MacEwan, McMorran, Thomson, Hale, Burrows;

Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower (capt), Marchi, Mackay;
Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Dyson;

These two teams have been drawn together in the sixth round of the F.A. Cup next month so tonight was something of a rehearsal for the game at White Hart Lane. The visitors were without three regulars centre half Norman, Les Allen and Cliff Jones but still fielded a very strong side. The Villa took the game to them right from the word go and only poor finishing stopped them from being well in the lead. Perhaps they missed chief goalscorer Derek Dougan but their attacking game soon got the vast crowd behind them. They bombarded the Spurs goal but a combination of their very agile goalkeeper Bill Brown and the barrier of defenders in front of him kept them out.

Spurs perhaps had the best chance of the game when Medwin crossed, only for it to be missed by Bobby Smith in the middle. It ran to left winger Terry Dyson but he could only hit the post. Mackay played his usual tough game for Spurs and was repeatedly penalised for fouls, becoming a target for the Villa crowd. A great long distance shot from Bobby Smith had Nigel Sims scrambling across the goal to save, but Spurs were nearly always on the back foot throughout the game. The vital goal would not come yet Villa will fancy their chances in the forthcoming cup tie after a really fighting performance.

In another game played that night Manchester United beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in a fifth round replay 2-0 in front of a crowd of 65,009.

(Villa in fact lost the cup tie 2-0 at White Hart Lane in March and Spurs went on to win the cup for the second season in succession by beating Burnley in the final).