Modern Non-League History
1970-77 Seventies Football
The popularity of football throughout the country had spread over the last ten years and every city, town and even village appeared to be represented in a competitive league.
The Football Association was full of hard working administrators dedicated to the game and had been led by such real football men as Sir Stanley Rous and Ted Croker.
The game enjoyed good press coverage but the new non-League world was settling down with the FA Trophy launched in 1970. The Amateur Internationals finished in 1973 and the last Amateur Cup Final contested in 1974 with the FA Vase being introduced in 1975.
Non-League football was certainly changing and would take time to settle into the new modern standards.
Being in the right place at the right time is often down to pure luck. So I suppose the fact that I had been invited to join The Rothmans marketing department at a time when I had worked closely with Jimmy Hill and knew that The Isthmian Chairman Barry East was looking for financial backing for his league, was a lucky break.
Not being a smoker I tended to look towards my football contacts for help and soon realised that The Isthmian League, in which I had played, was looking for help and Jimmy Hill would be the ideal entrepreneur to set up a financial football deal.
Doug Insole, the famous cricketer, with whom I had played in the same forward line with Cornthian-Casuals and Jimmy agreed to put a sponsorship deal together and once the idea had been agreed by the Isthmian League, it was my job to convince Rothmans that sponsorship of senior non-league football would be beneficial to all concerned.
To cut a long story short, it was agreed and initially The Hellenic League were also included with lesser financial help. I considered my job to be the best in the world - I was helping a generous and world famous company to sponsor non-league football. The scheme became so popular that every league in the country eventually looked for sponsors and we know what happened to the Football League and its big brother The Premier League.
Full marks to Jimmy Hill and Doug Insole, to Isthmian League Chairman Barry East and his League Secretary Gordon Whittington, Norman Matthews the Chairman of the Hellenic League and of course the senior executives at Carreras Rothmans, who took the risk of being the first national sponsors for Association Football Leagues in England.
The publications that you see under Rothmans name all promoted the sponsorship principles for attractive and sporting football. Featuring the Isthmian and Hellenic clubs, who were soon joined by The Northern and The Western Football Leagues. The four competitions that featured in the areas where Rothmans considered they needed more company awareness.
The whole scheme was encouraged and supported by The Football Association as can be seen from Ted Croker’s article below which welcomed Rothmans involvement. T.W.
THE FA CUP
One of the most famous FA Cup runs by a non-league club was achieved by Hereford United in the 1971-1972 campaign. Northampton Town were beaten 2-1 in a Second Round second replay held at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich and this result gave ‘The Bulls’ the chance to visit St James Park, home of the famous First Division cup fighters Newcastle United.
The rest of the little clubs’ FA Cup run conjures up wonderful memories for all non-league enthusiasts, as a thrilling 2-2 draw brought Newcastle back to Edgar Street where those famous goals from Radford and George set up a home tie with West Ham United.
A goalless first game was followed by a 3-1 defeat in London but wonderful FA Cup memories are still enjoyed when reminiscing about Hereford United’s famous cup run.
Altrincham and Yeovil Town were also feared by the League clubs in the First and Second rounds during the seventies. However, the other non-league clubs to reach the Fourth Round, apart from Hereford United, were Leatherhead and Wimbledon who lost to First Division opposition in Leicester City and Leeds United respectively in 1974-1975.
While Tooting & Mitcham United from the Isthmian League met fellow non-leaguers Romford in the First Round, beat Leatherhead at the third attempt in the Second Round, did claim a League scalp in the Third Round, by beating Swindon Town in a replay, but had the disappointment of being drawn against Fourth Division Bradford City, who beat them 3-2 in the Fourth Round.
One more powerful non-league cup fighter of the period was Northwich Victoria who had beaten Peterborough United and Watford in the 1976-77 campaign, before losing to Second Division Oldham Athletic in the Fourth Round.
The FA Challenge Cup certainly continued to produce the headlines and many of the outstanding results have been treasured by supporters ever since.
FA Cup Stats:
FA Cup Giant Killers - 1970-1977
THE FA AMATEUR CUP
F.A. Amateur Cup Finals in the Seventies
1970-1971 (Att: 45,000)
Skelmersdale United (Lancashire Combination) 4 ( Dickin 3 Windsor)
Dagenham (Isthmian League) 1 ( Bass)
Skelmersdale United: Frankish, Allen, Poole, Turner, Bennett, McDermott, Swift, Wolfe, Dickin, Hardcastle and Clements. Substitute: Windsor.
Dagenham: Huttley, Ford, Dudley, Davidson, Still, Moore, Leakey, Fry, Bass, Baker and Dear. Substitute: Smith
1971-1972 (Att: 38,000)
Hendon (Isthmian League) 2 (Smith og, Bass)
Enfield (Isthmian League) 0
Hendon: Swannell, Jennings, Hand, Deadman, Phillips, Haider, Childs, Connell, Bass, Baker and Jameson. Substitute: Moore.
Enfield: Williams, Gibson, Hill, Payne Betson, Smith, Albom (Brooks), Adams, Butterfield, Gray and Turley.
1972-1973 (Att: 41,000)
Walton & Hersham (Athenian League) 1 ( Connell)
Slough Town (Athenian League) 0
Walton & Hersham : Teale, Thomas, Edwards, Bassett, Donaldson, Lambert, Woffinden, Connell, Smith, Morris and Somers. Substitute: Foskett
Slough Town: Wolstenholme, Read, Eaton, Mead, D’Arcy (Jamieson), Reardon, Chatterton, Day, O‘Sullivan, Gaine, Anthony.
1973-1974 (Att: 30,500)
Bishop’s Stortford (Athenian League) 4 (Lawrence, Murphy, Leakey and Smith pen).
Ilford ( Isthmian League) 1 (Drabwell)
Bishop’s Stortford: Moore, Gibson, Coombes, Lawrence, Still, Payne, Leakey, Dear, Bass, Smith and Murphy. Substitute: Scott
Ilford: James, Bowhill, Bennett, Betson, Anderson, Day (Guiver), Bookman, Butterfield, Drabwell, McDermid and Turley.
FA Amateur Cup Stats:
FA Amateur Cup - 1945-1974
THE FA TROPHY FINALS 1970-1977
1969-1970 Macclesfield Town celebrate as the first ever FA Trophy Winners.
MACCLESFIELD TOWN (Northern Premier League) 2 - Lyons, B Fidler
TELFORD UNITED (Southern League) 0
Wembley Stadium - Att: 28,000
Macclesfield: Cooke, Sievwright, Bennett, Beaumont, Collins, Roberts, Lyons, B Fidler,Young, Corfield, D Fidler.
Telford: Irvine, Harris, Croft, Flowers, Coton, Ray,Fudge, Hart, Bentley, Murray, Jagger.
Referee: K Walker.
TELFORD UNITED (Southern League) 3 - Owen, Bentley, Fudge
HILLINGDON BOROUGH (Southern League) 2 - Reeve, Bishop
Wembley Stadium - Att: 29,500
Telford: Irvine, Harris, Croft, Ray, Coton, Carr, Fudge, Owen, Bentley, Jagger ,Murray.
Hillingdon Borough: Lowe, Batt, Langley, Higginson, Newcombe, Moore, Fairchild,Bishop, Reeve, Carter, Knox.
Referee: D Smith.
STAFFORD RANGERS (Northern Premier League) 3 - Williams 2, Cullerton
BARNET (Southern League) 0
Wembley Stadium - Att: 24,000
Stafford Rangers: Aleksic, Chadwick, Clayton, Sargeant, Aston, Machin, Cullerton, Chapman, Williams, Bayley, Jones.
Barnet: McClelland, Lye, Jenkins, Ward, Embrey, King, Powell, Ferry, Flatt, Easton, Plume.
Referee: P Partridge.
SCARBOROUGH (Northern Premier League) 2 - Leask, Thompson
WIGAN ATHLETIC (Northern Premier League) 1 - Rogers (After Extra Time)
Wembley Stadium - Att: 23,000
Scarborough: Garrow, Appleton, Shoulder, Dunn, Siddle, Fagan, Donoghue, Franks, Leask (Barmby), Thompson, Hewitt.
Wigan Athletic: Reeves, Morris, Sutherland, Taylor, Jackson, Gillibrand, Clements, Oats (McCunnell), Rogers, King, Worswick.
Referee: H Hackney.
MORECAMBE (Northern Premier League) 2 - Richmond, Sutton
DARTFORD (Southern League) 1 - Cunningham
Wembley Stadium - Att: 19,000
Morecambe: Coates, Pearson, Bennett, Sutton, Street, Baldwin, Done, Webber, Roberts (Galley), Kershaw, Richmond.
Dartford: Morton, Read, Payne, Carr, Burns,Binks, Light, Glozier, Robinson (Hearne), Cunningham, Halleday.
Referee: B Homewood.
MATLOCK TOWN (Northern Premier League) 4 - Oxley, Dawson, T Fenoughty, N Fenoughy SCARBOROUGH (Northern Premier League) 0
Wembley Stadium - Att: 21,000
Matlock Town: Fell, McKay, Smith, Stuart, Dawson, Swan, Oxley, N Fenoughy, Scott, T Fenoughty, M Fenoughty.
Scarborough: Williams, Hewitt, Rettitt, Dunn, Marshall, Todd, Houghton, Woodall, Davidson, Barnby, Aveyard.
Referee: K Styles.
SCARBOROUGH (Northern Premier League) 3 - Woodall, Abbey, Marshall (p)
STAFFORD RANGERS (Northern Premier League) 2 - Jones 2 (After Extra Time)
Wembley Stadium - Att: 21,000
Scarborough: Barnard, Jackson, Marshall, H Dunn, Ayre (Donoghue), HA Dunn, Dale,Barmby, Woodall, Abbey, Hilley.
Stafford Rangers: Arnold, Ritchie, Richards, Sargeant,Seddon, Morris, Chapman, Lowe, Jones, Hutchinson, Chadwick.
Referee: R Challis.
SCARBOROUGH (Northern Premier League) 2 Dunn (p), Abbey
DAGENHAM (Isthmian League) 1 Harris
Wembley Stadium - Att: 21,500
Scarborough: Chapman, Smith, Marshall (Barmby), Dunn, Ayre, Deere, Aveyard,Donoghue, Woodall, Abbey, Dunn.
Dagenham: Hutley, Wellman, P Currie, Dunwell,Moore, W Currie, Harkins, Saul, Fox, Harris, Holder.
Referee: G Courtney.
THE FA VASE
The famous FA Amateur Cup competition celebrated its last Cup Final, at Wembley in 1974, when Bishop Stortford beat Ilford in front of 30,500.
The competition had given its members a national knock out cup for 81 years and with recent finals being played at Wembley Stadium, everyone involved with the amateur game had considered an appearance in the final to be the very pinnacle within their levels of English football.
So the FA Vase was introduced to ensure all little clubs still had a national knock out competition with a glamourous climax at the end of the season. Many senior ex amateur clubs were now competing alongside traditionally professional or semi-professional clubs in league where member clubs entered The FA Trophy so the standard of clubs now qualifying to compete in the new FA Vase were not likely to compare in standard or support with the old FA Amateur Cup heroes.
The first FA Vase final was contested by Epsom & Ewell, who had been dismissed from The Athenian League and were re building, with obvious success, in the Surrey Senior League and Hoddesden Town from the South Midlands. Two very humble clubs who not surprisingly only attracted 9,400 for their final.
However, the smaller leagues realized they had a competition in which any of their members had a chance of national fame and one club in particular took full advantage of the situation. Billericay Town built a squad capable of challenging every season and won the competition three times in the Seventies while also moving up from The Essex Senior League into The Athenian League.
Billericay Town gave The FA Vase national headlines and alerted clubs all over the country that the competition could open up a new football world for even the smallest of clubs. This was a special message that could be very important to North Eastern clubs in the future.
HODDESDON TOWN (South Midlands) 2 Sedgwick 2
EPSOM & EWELL (Surrey Senior) 1 Wales
Wembley Stadium - Att: 9,500
Hoddesdon Town: Galvin, Green, Hickey, Maybury, Stevenson, Wilson, Bishop, Picking, Sedgwick, Nathan, Schofield.
Epsom & Ewell: Page, Bennett, Webb, Wales, Worby, Jones, O’Connell, Walker, Tuite, Eales, Lee.
Referee: Mr R Toseland
BILLERICAY TOWN (Essex Senior) 1 Aslett
STAMFORD (United Counties) 0 (After extra time)
Wembley Stadium - Att: 11,848
Billericay Town: Griffiths, Payne, Foreman, Pullin, Bone, Coughlan, Geddes, Aslett, Clayden, Scott, Smith.
Stamford: Johnson, Kwiatowski, Marchant, Crawford, Downs, Hird, Barnes, Walpole, Smith, Russell, Broadbent.
Referee: Mr A Robinson
BILLERICAY TOWN (Essex Senior) 1 Clayden
SHEFFIELD (Yorkshire) 1 Coughlan og
Wembley Stadium - Att: 14,000
Billericay Town: Griffiths, Payne, Bone, Coughlan, Pullin, Scott, Wakefield, Aslett, Clayden,Woodhouse, McQueen. Sub: Whettell.
Sheffield: Wing, Gilbody, Lodge, Hardisty, Watts, Skelton, Kay, Travis, Pugh, Thornhill,Haynes. Sub: Strutt.
Referee: Mr J Worrall
BILLERICAY TOWN 2 Aslett, Woodhouse
SHEFFIELD 1 Thornhill
Nottingham Forest F.C. - Att: 3,482
Billericay Town: Griffiths, Payne, Pullin, Whettell, Bone, McQueen, Woodhouse, Aslett, Clayden, Scott, Wakefield.
Sheffield: Wing, Gilbody, Lodge, Strutt, Watts, Skelton, Kay, Travis, Pugh, Thornhill, Haynes.
NEWCASTLE BLUE STAR (Wearside) 2 Dunn, Crumplin
BARTON ROVERS (South Midlands) 1 Smith
Wembley Stadium - Att: 16,858
Newcastle B.S.: Halbert, Feenan, Thompson, Davidson, S Dixon, Beynon, Storey, P Dixon, Crumplin, Callaghan, Dunn. Sub: Diamond.
Barton Rovers: Blackwell, Stephens, Crossley, Evans, Harris, Dollimore, Dunn, Harnaman, Fossey, Turner, Smith. Sub: Cox.
Referee: Mr T Morris
1978-1979 BILLERICAY TOWN (Athenian) 4 Young 3, Clayden
ALMONDSBURY GREENWAY (Gloucestershire County) 1 Price
Wembley Stadium - Att: 17,500
Billericay Town: Norris, Blackaller, Bingham, Whettell, Bone, Reeves, Pullin, Scott, Clayden,Young, Groom. Sub: Carrigan.
Almondsbury: Hamilton, Bowers, Scarrett, Sulllivan, Tudor, Wookey, Bowers, Shehean, Kerr, Butt, Price. Sub: Kilbaine.
Referee: Mr C Steel
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