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A strange season: 1974-75

By Mark   Roberts  ::  22/05/2012   42 Comments (Last) Whilst trawling through the names mentioned in the "Underrated" thread my mind wondered back to a season that at one point with 9 games to go (42 in those days) promised plenty but ultimately ended up delivering fuck all after some crucial and bizzare defeats to some of the division's bottom clubs.

Despite being nicknamed "Bingham's Robots", I, as a 14-year-old standing near the post in the center of the Street End used to love watching this team, Dai Davies, Dobson, Latchford, Lyons, Jones, Telfer & a young David Smallman arrived late on to excite us with his potential that was sadly ruined through injury.

After going through the pre-match repertoire of songs...

Those were the days, my friend; we took the Stretford End,
The Everton bootwalk,
We hate Nottingham Forest,
When you're smiling,
Bobby Latchford walks on water,
Now your going to believe us,
We shall not be moved,
Dai Dai Dai - Dai Dai Dai,
Lyons for England etc...

We had usually roughed each other up to the point of being knackered by the time the teams came out.

Anyway, back to the season: it started with a strike partnership of Joe Royle (soon to depart) and big Bob Latchford with an uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Derby but with 3 wins and 2 draws before tasting defeat for the first time, it was a pretty good start (fuckin brilliant by today's standards). Too many draws were slowing down the progress before a Mick Lyons inspired 3-2 home win over reigning champions Leeds got us all excited again.
More draws and a couple of wins took us to one defeat in 21 before the first of the bizzare defeats, after being 2-0 up at home to bottom club Carlisle they stunned us into silence with a 3-goal comeback that saw them leave with the points.

The turn of the year saw us embark on an FA Cup run that ended disappointingly at home to 2nd Division Fulham but not before we had been on a great away day in the 4th round to Plymouth. I remember looking back up the small terrace at the end of the game and seeing about 30 Bob Latchford lookalikes (center part and scruffy beard) standing on the barriers, celebrating the 3-1 win singing "We shall not be moved." The train journey home made me laugh as everyone seemed to have a green and white scarf that they had liberated from the Plymouth fans brave enough to have a go after the game in the park between the ground and the station.

A couple of good 3-0 wins got us back on track in the league before my first trip to Maine Road, arriving about 20 mins before kick off in the Platt Lane stand behind the goal... It was fuckign bedlam, there was no segregation and it was going off all over the place. I was just delighted to get away without a kicking, a 2-1 defeat was the least of my worries.

A 0-0 draw at Anfield followed by three wins on the bounce saw us top of the league before a tough trip to Leeds, where we did enough to win but the latch missed a great chance late on but the draw was a decent return from Elland Road back then. The MotD pundits at the time had us down as Champions elect that night.

Four defeats in the last nine games, Boro, fuckin Carlisle again, Luton and then Sheff Utd at home after being 2-0 up (Dave Smallman's finest hour) saw us drop like a stone. Just to rub it in even Liverpool overtook us that day after we had looked down on them for most of the season. A final day draw at Chelsea was our 18th draw of a season that could and should have made our 70s memories a little different, but for me in my teens on the terraces and the specials, it was a magical even if trophyless time.

The experience of a packed terrace in full voice is something that has rightly been lost in the evolution of modern day football but it is a memory that I cherish.

How about you ?

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Derek Turnbull
136   Posted 23/05/2012 at 08:29:55

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Great read Mark!

I may be out on my years here but can you remember what Jim Pearson's song was?
David Harrison
147   Posted 23/05/2012 at 09:22:28

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Add in Gordon Lee's near miss & the 3 match League cup final & we might well be looking back at the 70s as a golden era...but then again
Paul Ellam
155   Posted 23/05/2012 at 09:41:12

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The 1970s was an era of steadiness and near misses ? a bit like the last 10 years for us!

Hopefully that means glory is just round the corner.
Thomas Lennon
171   Posted 23/05/2012 at 10:52:27

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"Robot's, robot's Top of the League" was sung against Derby as Revie had called us a team of robots.

I remember the Carlisle matches very well - there was a lot of disappointment as we genuinely felt we could win in those days. Magical compared to now anyway!
Chris Hockenhull
186   Posted 23/05/2012 at 12:02:03

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I read this with great interest. It all comes to light again.

I recall we got a lot of anti-press from the media... we drew lot of games away and the press used to refer to us as 'Bingham's Air Force'. I recall Leeds's Terry Yorath actually saying that he thought we were playing it exactly right in the closing weeks of the season and believed we were certain Champions!!!

The December 74 game against Carlisle at Goodison I rememeber well. Took a young laqdy to her only ever football match in the Park End Stand and we strolled into a 2-0 lead only to blow it in the second half. Also a game toward the end of the season against Ipswich at home where we went 1-0 down and proceeded to blitz them endlessly and eventually got an equaliser to draw. And a friday night game night before the National exactly the same and another 1-1 draw.

Too many dropped points. It was there for the taking that year and who knows what would have happened. But weve seen that movie before, haven't we?
Dennis Stevens
221   Posted 23/05/2012 at 14:17:27

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Those two defeats to Carlisle cost us the title, is how I've always looked at it. D'you also remember Leed United in the European Cup final suffering the sort of refereeing we've become only too accustomed to & the French police beating the crap out of the Leeds supporters to add injury to insult. Still, at least Newcastle United won the Texaco Cup - they're probably still celebrating as they've won fuck all since.
Gerry Morrison
252   Posted 23/05/2012 at 16:18:41

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Thanks for the memory Mark. I remember the train trip to Plymouth. Who knows what route we took on the way home, but I remember getting into Lime Street at about three in the morning. No late night buses in those days; me and a mate walked all the way home to Bootle.
Eugene Ruane
263   Posted 23/05/2012 at 16:30:24

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So much of this is SO familiar Mark

One of the things that stands out (and seems relevant to TW) is how at a certain young age, you can see no wrong in your heroes.

For me, at this time Bob Latchford was almost God.

(nb. I wouldn't want to offend religious blues - God was and always will be Alan Ball).

I could see NO 'laziness' in Latch- he was a goal 'hunter', pure and simple.


'Classic British centre-forward' shape SURELY!

And so my reaction to my dad referring to him as 'fat arse' or 'that puddin'' was similar to how many young blues now react if it is suggested that Duncan might have played/scored more etc.

Also difficult now to convey just how scary away games were at this time (I was 15/16).

You HAD to go (or suffer 'fuckin' part-time supporter') but would be shitting yourself getting to and from loads of grounds.

City I remember had a group of black lads called (I kid you not) 'The Cool Cats' who wore those long leathers and had afros - VERY unusual for a North West side at that time to have supporters of any other hue than pasty).

They actually looked like those characters incorporated in the 'muriel' on the wall inside the Gladray (sounds funny now but scary then - like encountering 10 Richard Rowntrees)

It was incredibly exciting though.

You'd put the shites up each other up on the train about how "Hey these are fucking mad you know, all carry axes" etc blah.

Wolves, Boro, Sheffield, Coventry, Stoke - all scary in a kind of stone-age way and going to West Ham, Chelsea or Spurs meant a real possibility of something horrible happening.

Fortunately, I only came a cropper twice (City at Goodison and Villa at Wembley in 77) but nothing too serious (well..not until I told my version and turned myself into Kwai Chang Cain).

Happy days..........I think.
Cameron White
271   Posted 23/05/2012 at 17:41:41

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There's a great account of this season and the rest of the decade in this book available from the Everton Former Players' Foundation -

All profits go to the foundation so well worth a read.
Brian Garside
340   Posted 23/05/2012 at 21:21:56

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I remember the Carlisle and Shef,U games too. Sooooo frustrated that we gave away the title. I seem to recall the Friday 1-1 game was against Burnley. I was in the Lower Bullens and had a perfect view of baldy Brian Noble scoring with a header.
It was almost a great and sucessful team. It certainly gave us somthing to sing about. The atmosphere was much better,. I mean not the odour of mild+pie emitting from the congregation. Boy that surge in the St. End was scary but at least it cleared the air!!!.
David Hallwood
363   Posted 23/05/2012 at 23:35:39

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The thing I remember about the Leeds game was Mike Lyons diving header and nearly getting his head kicked off for his troubles, and of course the Carlisle game which I remember seem to knock us off course,

Great read Mark brought back some happy memories

Andy Crooks
514   Posted 24/05/2012 at 20:30:11

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Good article article, Mark. If I recall correctly Billy Bingham was a surprise appointment. I know that when he managed in the Irish league he brought a professionalism that hadn't existed before. He doesn't get much of a mention when comparing Everton managers but did he sign Rioch and McKenzie on the same day? What do Evertonians who went to the game in his era think og him?
Carl Thomas
624   Posted 25/05/2012 at 08:04:43

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My first game was in that season ? QPR at home some time in 1975, I think. It's a bit hazy but I think we won 2-1 after being a goal down. Also seem to remember that the win put us top of the league.

Can remember the crowd's reaction after the winner was scored, it seemed way over the top to my young mind ? oh how I'd learn!

What sticks in my mind the most though was the half-time police dog dispay team. Great stuff!

Chris Hockenhull
689   Posted 25/05/2012 at 13:30:26

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Something I vividly remember but never see in print was the fact that our manager was initially supposed to be none other than Don Revie!!. As I recall Everton approached him and I remember Leeds being involved in a European game - may have been a final- that was on telly. Jack Charlton was not playing and was on the 'panel' and informed all that Don had told the players about Everton's interest. Brian Moore asked if he thought he'd go and Charltion instantly stated that if he had told the players then yes he was off to Everton. Then Leed's chairman Manny Cousins statred on a few days later about Everton's approach being in contradiction with the then government's Pay Freeze they'd put on wages and it was illegal. End of story Revie stays and another Everton 'What If' scenario comes into folklore. Anyone else remember this?
Mark Roberts
722   Posted 25/05/2012 at 16:29:22

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Thanks Derek 136, glad you enjoyed.

I can't recall any song relating to Jim Pearson although there must have been something as we used to go through the team chants as they were walming up on the pitch, possibly something to do with his "Jinky Jim" nickname.

Does anyone remember taunting the RS around that time with a chant about 14 to West Ham after a special had been cancelled due only 14 bookings?
David Booth
759   Posted 25/05/2012 at 19:26:48

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Even to this day, that Plymouth F A Cup tie is still, by far, THE best away match I have ever been to.

Anyone who was there will probably agree.

I arrived at around 6.00am after travelling down in the back of a furniture van with about 30 fellow Evertonians and, of course, went straight to the ground (as one did in those days) - to find it daubed with 'Everton die' and 'Swilly rules'.

Cue great mutual puzzlement as to who this mysterious 'Swilly' character was: the leader of the Plymouth mob seemed to be the general consensus.

Turns out it WAS the Plymouth mob. Now there's a name to instil fear into any visiting fans. You be goin' to get a kickin' from the Swilly you be...

Seven football specials, a ground more than half-full of Evertonians and a rollocking 3-1 win later, the much sought after 'Swilly' ought to have had their moment, but it had been an absolute Merseyside invasion and the funniest thing I remember was a gang of junior scallies chasing much older would-be Plymouth hoolies around a park on the way back to the station, while the older Evertonians made sure they couldn't do a complete runner!

A wonderful, Boys Own adventure of a day that I will never forget.

Barry Rathbone
765   Posted 25/05/2012 at 19:40:00

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Memories of still "'aving a go", Goodison really at it, excuses not accepted, standards etc.

All very true and a million miles away from what limps along as EFC these days but I do KNOW one thing:-

That team winning the league??

C'mon .... we accuse the kids of today of having blue tints on.

Eugene Ruane
771   Posted 25/05/2012 at 20:26:47

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Mark (722) - '14 to West Ham'.

Absolutely, this was thrown at them for quite a while.

I remember me chucking it at red mates - ie: "Never mind European cups, FOURTEEN to West Ham!"

(I know, I know, but looking to score debating points against them them back then was a losing battle if you were discussing matters ON the pitch).

Andrew Gilbert
776   Posted 25/05/2012 at 21:05:20

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I remember another Plymouth cup game in the eighties, everyone was expecting it to kick off after the game but the Police had other ideas and led the entire away support on to the pitch (having waited the obligatory 20 mins) and walked us to the home end and the exits there! The tactic merely delayed the inevitable.

At another game at Windy Gillingham (there was a call out over the tannoy for the vicar as the Church roof had blown off!), this guy came back from the ice cream type tea van complaining of being punched in the face by a Gill supporter, his mates asked if he punched them back...'of course I fking didn't I just paid 10p for my tea, wasn't going to spill it!' (That was the eighties recession!)

Thomas Windsor
861   Posted 26/05/2012 at 09:48:14

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Like any era, the Everton away support was always brilliant. I remember that Plymouth game, we took 9 specials from Lime Street and the Shite who were playing ipswich away only took 5 special trains.

The song we used to sing to the Red Shite, "14 to West Ham", was a reference to a story in the Liverpool Echo that Lawrensons Coaches had only sold 14 seats to the midweek match at West ham.
Paul Ferry
932   Posted 26/05/2012 at 18:37:09

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Ha, nice shout, Mek.

'Fuck em all, fuck em all
Paisley's red army and all,
Took 14 to West Ham oh isn't that great?
They are the bastards that we fucking hate,
So I'm saying you blues fuck em all,
Come on you blues fuck em all,
Coz we won't be mastered by red and white bastards,
Coz we are the cream of them all.

Sung to the tune of ...

Stinky special trains Star jumpers. Letting off fire extinguishers on aforementioned special when cops came down the (remember) little corridor next to the comparrments.

Indian Joe. Charlie Bronson. Sid Snot.

Special coming back from Ipswich came to a stop outside Stafford station and half the special is hanging out windows watching a fine Staffordshire lass undress...

The enclosure mob.

Songs that would shame us now in the same way that Love My Neighbour could never see the light of the day on the screen.

Brian Denton
937   Posted 26/05/2012 at 18:51:52

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Almost makes you feel nostalgic for the days of football hooliganism. It would certainly keep the prawn sandwich brigade away. Now there's a thought......

Eugene, I remember those tales of other fans' USPs, as a means of scaring each other. Forest fans would throw you in the Trent, dontchaknow, and honest to God once when we were chasing Newcastle fans through Stanley Park one of then turned round and pulled out a sawn off shotgun......

Brian Denton
939   Posted 26/05/2012 at 19:07:45

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And are you Alan Roberts's brother?
Mark Roberts
952   Posted 26/05/2012 at 20:57:23

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Sorry Brian 939, only one bro named Peter.
Derek Turnbull
004   Posted 27/05/2012 at 10:20:06

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Mark, would you remember Garry Stanley's or Roger Kenyon's songs?
Mark Roberts
080   Posted 27/05/2012 at 21:27:06

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Sorry Derek 004, I don't recall either of them getting beyond a simple name chant followed by clap of the hands, Gary Stanley !! What on earth made you think of him ?

My only memory of Gary Stanley apart from his hand bags with RS McDermott was slagging him off for not appearing to give a shit on a miserable night in Grimsby where we had just lost a League Cup tie, it pissed down most of the night and he left the field without a hair out of place ( I'm only jealous cos I've got a head like Carsley).

Did he contribute much ? I'm struggling to find any recollection of a goal or something like a free kick or even a great shot.
Cameron White
113   Posted 28/05/2012 at 10:26:02

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'That team winning the league??

C'mon .... we accuse the kids of today of having blue tints on.'

Agree with Barry 765 that it was far from a great side, nowhere near the quality of Catterick's 1970 team or Kendall's mid-80s, but they should still have won the league that year.

It was one of the most mediocre seasons that I can remember with Derby winning the title with just 53 points (2 for a win) when you usually needed around 60 to win it. 8 points from the last 10 games did them in, including taking only 1 point from 3 games against relegated Carlisle, Luton and Chelsea.

It was only Bingham's second season in charge and he was still rebuilding with the likes of Dobson, Pearson, McNaught and Smallman making their debuts that season but things fell apart for him after that and he was gone a couple of seasons later.

Karl Masters
250   Posted 29/05/2012 at 10:08:53

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Best thread I have read on here in ages. All these years later, I still cannot believe we lost that title race. Crazy results against the bottom teams and we seemed to specialise in losing 2 - 3 at home after being two up!

Garry Stanley only scored two goals for Everton at Goodison, one a 20-yard belter v Southampton in April 1980, and (I'm surprised you have forgotten this, Mark) a flying header against Liverpool in October of the same year in a 2 - 2 draw when we led two-nil, but threw it away (familiar story?).

I also remember the Grimsby cup defeat on a very wet night in Grimsby when their striker named Mike Brolly (I kid you not) scored both their goals in a 2 - 1 defeat......
Steve Cavanagh
338   Posted 29/05/2012 at 23:08:12

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Ah, the FA Cup defeat at home to Fulham (weren't Bobby Moore and George Best playing for them that day?). I can still see the cushions raining down onto the pitch from the Upper Bullens!
Paul Washington
459   Posted 30/05/2012 at 20:09:00

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What an article! Memories come flooding back... as a 12-year-old starting to go to matches with mates, even the odd away game, we seemed to take about 5 or 6 thousand everywhere, or is that my blue clouded memory?

Big Bob was / is my all-time hero. I met him a few years ago at his book signing, what a gent! My son was embarrassed because there were tears in my eyes!
Michael Mulholland
548   Posted 31/05/2012 at 11:21:00

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What does the CelticRangers mean in the chant?
Eugene Ruane
555   Posted 31/05/2012 at 11:36:31

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Steve (338) During that game, someone flung one of those BIG cider flagons at their keeper Mellor (Mellors?), who looked like he was from some small Hamlet in Finland. Had it hit him it could have killed him. Actually there were a few bottles lobbed that day and about 700 nicker in change (maybe it was after this game, the 'missile' signs went up?).

As for Viv Busby, CONVINCED he was only born to fuck us up that day (like that Waddle feller who scored against us for the victims in a derby, then vanished up his own 1950s tea-towel holder, never to be heard of again).
Steve Cavanagh
658   Posted 31/05/2012 at 22:40:38

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I can only remember the cushions, as we were underneath at the time. I didn't want to be the first 10 year old to die from cushion-related football violence!
Michael Brien
722   Posted 01/06/2012 at 14:16:17

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David Smallman - what a goal against Sheffield United. But for injury I am convinced he would have been an Everton legend.
Cameron White
833   Posted 02/06/2012 at 09:20:56

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Steve (338) - no it was Bobby Moore and Alan Mullery who were in the Fulham team that day.

Eugene (555) "As for Viv Busby, CONVINCED he was only born to fuck us up that day." Hope you've not forgotten Viv was Assistant Manager under HK (3). Met him a couple of times - top man, incredibly loyal to Howard during that turbulant time.

David Prentice
946   Posted 02/06/2012 at 20:40:42

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Wonderful memories Mark.

But Karl Masters, 250... Wasn't that flying header in the derby Asa Hartford? Joe McBride also scored that day. Garry Stanley was supposed to have a Hot Shot Hamish kind of shot (like Bruce Rioch) but I don't think either of them scored a screamer while with us. (I was on the Street End for that Stanley goal v Southampton and don't remember it being that much of a cannonball... but then I've been corrected before on which end Martin Dobbo's winner went in against Coventry on Easter Monday 1975... my first visit to Goodison.

The 1974-75 season was my Goodison debut. It really was a magical, memorable time. The crowd violence was so high profile at the time I had to persuade my mum to let me go on my own. My dad was a long distance lorry driver and usually away. (I was with him in Italy listening to BBC World Service when Fulham won that cup tie and Clive Thomas disallowed what was apparently a good Mick Lyons header!)

Second match was that Friday night game v Burnley and third was the Sheffield United match which was televised by ITV but still hasn't appeared anywhere on those nostalgia DVD sites or YouTube. Davey Smallman hooked one over his shoulder that day and I think Gary Jones slotted a penalty before it went pear-shaped.

Bingham's team was robotic... as were Champions Derby County, but Gary Jones definitely added flair and excitement ? at least until he got substituted against Leeds and spat at the dug-out! Cue a transfer to Birmingham.

I was only 12 so didn't truly appreciate just how close we came to winning the league. I've spoken to Latchford subsequently and he believes that, if we'd had a top class keeper, we'd have walked it. You could say the same about 1977-78 when Forest had Peter Shilton and we had the occasionally brilliant (Anfield derby in 1978) and sometimes hopeless (Newcastle at home in the 4-4 draw) Georgie Wood.

Paul Washington
071   Posted 03/06/2012 at 15:59:20

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David P

Gary Jones, for a spell was absolutely unplayable; then, all of a sudden, seemed to become a bit of a prima donna... next thing, shipped out to Brum.

I remember waiting in the Park End car park for players autographs and he refused everyone, just storming through to the gates between the Bullens and the old Park End into the ground.
David Prentice
110   Posted 03/06/2012 at 19:40:05

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Agreed Paul. I'm sure I heard his name mentioned in the same sentence as 'George Best' and that was it.

Another example of a player believing his own publicity. I think Birmingham took John Connolly as well and went with a highly ambitious 4-2-4 with two wingers.

They were involved in some great games, see link from the Birmingham Mail, but I think were relegated!

I used to get into the ground at 1.30pm (the old enclosure by the dug-out) to get players' autographs as they crossed the pitch. Can't recall ever asking Gary Jones.

Barry Rathbone
119   Posted 03/06/2012 at 22:34:02

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Michael @ 548

The "Celtic/Rangers" chant was a catholic/protestant thing, you chanted "celtic" if you were catholic and answered "rangers" if you were a proddy dog (as we catholics called 'em), fortunately I never saw bother in the ground.

As an 8 yr old I remember going on an orange lodge march with my mate up rice lane toward aintree.

It was when the march got stoned from the railway bridge by lads from my catholic school I understood what it was about.

Still it was my own fault for liking marching bands and not understanding bigotry.

Thomas McGrath
223   Posted 04/06/2012 at 18:59:06

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I rember going to derby latch scored a header off the post everton had thousands there also playing altrincham at old Trafford .
Steve Cavanagh
258   Posted 05/06/2012 at 01:01:40

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Cameron (833). Cheers mate, I found an old Fulham squad picture on one of the auction websites. I think Georgie played for them the following season.
Karl Masters
870   Posted 08/06/2012 at 18:14:58

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Dave P,

Yes, it was Asa Hartford! I wondered why I thought it was Garry Stanley and dug out an old picture of the goal and a report and then I realised it was from a cross by Garry Stanley that Asa got that goal in the Goodison Autumn sunshine. Garry can be seen in the background of the picture.

Well it was nearly 32 years ago!

I do remember Garry Stanley scoring a long range belter against Manchester City though ? sadly he was playing for Swansea at the time!

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