Showing posts with the label Fish Sands

Crystal Palace

Fish Sands

My first "encounter" with Palace came on a very cold February night back in 1976. My father, a Sunderland fan, was working so I volunteered to queue all night outside Roker Park to get two tickets for their much-anticipated quarter final FA cup clash with Division Three Palace. 

Sunderland were going well in division 2 (now the Championship) and in fact were champions that season. I remember a load of hype over this game with Palace's larger-than-life manager Big Malcolm Allison, who sported a fur coat, large fedora hat and cigar at games. 

Anyway, with no idea of the glorious summer to follow, I almost froze outside Roker Park, queueing from around 6pm until I think around 9 or 10am on the Sunday morning when the ticket office opened. I did manage to get two tickets and dad was delighted and I had helped cement good Poolie-Mackem relationships whilst finishing further back in the queue than when I had started!

As it happened, Palace won 1-0 with Malcolm Allison upsetting the Sunderland crowd with his fedora cigar routine plus giving the Fulwell End the V sign and was probably saved from a lynching by the bobbies. Also that day, a train load of Palace fans travelling up from London and passing through Hartlepool railway station, were met with a hail of stones from some Pools fans who smashed the train windows. The northbound train was late and when it reached the disused Ryhope station on the outskirts of Sunderland, most of the Palace fans believed they had already arrived and piled out of the train. They all missed the first half of the game.
"...most of the Palace fans believed they had already arrived and piled out of the train. They all missed the first half"

As fate would have it, the Poolies showed the Mackems how it was done when, two short years later, Palace were drawn away at Pools in the FA Cup 3rd round, a game famous for Pools winning 2-1 with two Bob Newton goals after the blues went a goal down in 9 minutes.

I can still see the thousands of Palace fans stunned to silence at The Town End, where Newton had scored both goals. Roared on by a crowd of over 9,000 it was a heady victory for Pools who had been so shite in the league.

Big Bob Newton won himself a suit for his exploits and Pools were off to Ipswich Town in round 4, being the last 4th division side left in the competition. Ipswich won 4-1 and went on to win the cup that season.

Pools would of course meet up again with Palace in 1993 when that famous Andy Saville goal knocked them out by 1-0! But back to the 1978 clash. Apparently the Terry Venables Palace team had stayed at their "lucky" Staincliffe Hotel in Seaton where they had stayed before beating Sunderland. Not so lucky this time.

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Terry Cooper and Leeds United


In recent weeks a couple of great players from the golden years of Leeds United have sadly passed away, Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry.

Nobody interested in football in the 1970s could have not heard or been aware of either of them and likewise their fearsome teammate, full-back Terry Cooper.

In fact they all were in a team of, I believe, 11 international players at one stage. Apparently Gareth Sprake was the alleged weak link but he was a fair keeper and a Welsh International to boot who was crucified for one high-profile, televised mistake when the ball spun out of his hands with no apparent danger.

But back to Terry Cooper. We have all read about what a great player Terry Cooper was and I agree. But my honest opinion is that he was a cynical player whose over-the-top fouls tarnished his reputation as a great player. Ask Sunderland's George Mulhall and Bobby Kerr what they thought of playing against Terry Cooper and Leeds United in general. We Pools fans would chant "you dirty Yorkshire b******s!" And I feel in Leeds United's case it was justified.
" Leeds United were undoubtedly a great team but would have been even greater if they had stuck to football."

A certain Don Revie encouraged this cynicism and Leeds had a policy of going in hard and nailing the opposition's most dangerous player early on and if any got a booking he laid off and the bookings got spread around the team. Leeds United were undoubtedly a great team but would have been even greater if they had stuck to football.

Other players in that Leeds United team were cynical foulers as well and wind-up merchants who went beyond gamesmanship like Paul Reaney and Jack Charlton (who favoured climbing on a centre forward's back or standing on a goalie's foot on a corner kick. There were others: Paul Madeley, Billy Bremner and later Terry Yorath. Johnny Giles was a midfield genius second only to Pools' Eric McMordie but he too good put the boot in when he felt like it.

Leeds United had a reputation of being a dirty team which sticks even to this day. It's justified in my opinion. I suspect that if all clubs' fans were to vote on the dirtiest team Leeds United would come somewhere near the top.

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