Memory Lane: Football in 1962-63
This month's Memory Lane comes from Alan Williams (Industrial Economics, 1964):
I was clearing out our loft and came across a football programme from 1962 involving the University and Commercial Union's team (CUACO). It was the final of the AFA Senior Cup which involved amateur teams from all over the country. Unfortunately we were beaten 3-0 on the day but went one better the following year when we again reached the final and defeated Midland Bank by the same score at Wealdstone FC's ground in Harrow.
Nottingham University had a strong football club in the early 1960s and reached the final of the AFA Senior Cup in consecutive years. The Amateur Football Alliance had teams from many parts of the country including the Midlands, South and South West with the majority coming from London and the South East.
In 1961/2, the club played Commercial Union (CUACO) in the final and despite having at least an equal share of the play were beaten 3-0 with all the goals coming in the last 15 minutes after Nottingham had come close to scoring first. The team was as earlier noted in the copy of the match programme and the photo above shows the 1st XI squad. The names are as follows: Back row, left to right – John Durham, Bill Swan, Tony Armor, Derek Owen, Ron Moss, Jim Clark, Geoff Causey. Front Row – Alan Williams, George Shipley, Trevor Lightbown (captain), Pat Morrissey, Peter Skellern. (Eric Turner played in the final but is not in the photo).
1962/3 was the time of the big freeze and we did not play after Christmas for several weeks. We still trained at Highfields in the snow but matches were either cancelled or in the case of the AFA Cup, postponed. This led to a memorable semi final as it took place over the period around Easter when students had returned to their homes.
We were drawn to play against Ilminster Town on a neutral ground in London. Communications and travelling were problems and arranging for 11 players from all over the country to be at the same place was not the simplest of tasks – email alone would have certainly helped.
Information was sent by post, phone and the occasional telegram, including one from the captain letting me know that he had been injured in a match in his Lancashire town and could not play. We managed to find a late replacement and to have a 11 players at the venue. This had meant that some players had to travel to London the day before and we arranged between us to put up all those who needed accommodation. In my case Bill Swan came from Morpeth and stayed with my family in Ruislip, Middlesex.
The semi-final itself had some late drama as we had been losing 1-0 for an amount of the game. However, we equalised very late in the match (with 38 seconds to go, I found out later) then scored two more in extra time to win 3-1. The final against Midland Bank was played at the ground of Wealdstone FC in Harrow in front of a good crowd. Our regular goalkeeper, Neil Tranter, was unable to play due to a family wedding and Dave Davies took his place in what was I think his only game for the 1st XI.
Our defence held firm and we scored shortly before half time to lead 1-0. We added two more after half time to win 3-0 which looks a more comfortable victory than it was after being under pressure in the early part of the game. It was a very pleasing victory and was probably helped by the fact that seven of the team had played in the final a year earlier.
The second attached photo shows the squad and the trophy. The names are as follows (with PF showing those who played in the final): Back Row, left to right – Alan Williams (PF), Stuart Horsfield, John Catherall, Geoff Causey (PF), Ron Moss (PF), Dave Davies (PF), Pete Skellern (PF), Ced Gillott (PF). Front Row John Durham (PF), Tony Armor (PF), Trevor Lightbown, Captain (PF), Dr Addison (Club President), Pat Morrissey (PF), Neil Tranter, Hughie Pratt (PF).
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