Brief encounter – The FA Amateur Cup

CupThe collapse of the North Eastern League for a 2nd and last time at the end of the 1963/64 season left Blyth Spartans needing to find a new league. With the lack of a suitable Semi Professional league the club turned amateur and only just managing to gain entry to the Northern League.
As amateurs the club became legible to play in the illustrious FA Amateur Cup for the 1st time.

Bob Hardisty, Bishop Auckland, is proudly holding the trophy that his team had just won. They won the match 2-0

Legendary Bishop Auckland player Bob Hardisty shows off the trophy.

Northern League sides had won the cup 26 times before, with Bishop Auckland the dominating amateur club with 10 victories 1896, 1900, 1914, 1921, 1922, 1935, 1939, 1955, 1956, 1957,
other Northern League winners were:
Crook Town – 1901, 1954, 1959, 1962, 1964
Stockton – 1899, 1903, 1912
Middlesbrough – 1895, 1898
North Shields  – 1969
South Bank  – 1913
West Hartlepool  – 1905
Willington  – 1950

Picture 1Willington’s victory on 22nd April 1950 saw them become the 1st Northern League club to win the Cup at Wembley. They avenged their 1939 Final defeat at the hands of 7 times winners Bishop Auckland causing an upset by hammering their local rivals 4-0 on the hallowed turf.

The first tournament in 1893 featured amateur teams from throughout England and was won by Old Carthusians, the team for former pupils of Charterhouse School, who defeated Casuals.
The old boy teams competed in the Amateur Cup until 1902, when disputes with the FA led to the formation of the Arthur Dunn Cup, a dedicated competition for such teams.

  • The Carthusians had won England’s premier national competition, the FA Cup, in 1881, and thus became the first team to win both cups.
  • The only other club to achieve this feat was Wimbledon, who won the Amateur Cup in 1963 and the FA Cup in 1988.

With the exception of a second win for Carthusians and a victory for Old Malvernians, the competition’s first decade was dominated by teams from the North East.
The competition was not staged during the First or Second World Wars, other than in the 1914–15 season, Southern clubs were the most successful during the inter-war period winning the tournament 15 times in 19 seasons.
Interest in the competition peaked soon after the Second World War and the Final was moved to Wembley Stadium attracting crowds of up to 100,000.
In 1960’s interest in the Amateur Cup had started to decline and crowds for the Final dropped to less than half the level of the early Wembley Finals.

When Blyth Spartans entered in 1964/65 Crook Town were the current holders having beaten Enfield 2-1 at Wembley, but the Northern League’s dominance had waned and aCrook 1964 Northern League club only won it once more, in 1969.
Picture 3That victory was by North Shields in only their 4th season in the competition, it was some achievement because clubs had to play 4 regionalised qualifying rounds just to reach the national 1st Round and in 1967/68 season a Preliminary Round was added meaning it would take 5 games to reach the 1st Round proper and take 10 victories just to reach the Final.

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell, scorer of the clubs 1st ever Amateur Cup goal.

Blyth’s first ever Amateur Cup game was on 10th October 1964 when they played Walker Naval Yard FC in a 1st Qualifying Round tie, the Northern Alliance side were a works team from the Naval shipyard at High Walker on the Tyne, Jim Campbell had the honour of scoring the clubs 1st Amateur Cup goal in a 3-1 victory.

Walker Naval Yard FC were not the only Tyne shipyard team Blyth played in the cup, a year later they drew Marine Park FC winning 4-1 on 23rd October 1965 in a 2nd Qualifying Round tie.
Founded in 1934 the Northern Alliance side were a works team from engine builders George Clark and North East Marine Ltd company in Wallsend, they were a more successful team than the Naval Yard side winning back to back Northern Alliance titles in 1972/73 & 1973/74.

The competition through up an array of different opposition for the club, the Spartans played Newcastle’s University team twice, in 1964 they were ‘University of Newcastle’,
Jim Campbell scored all the goals in the 4-1 victory by the next meeting a 1968 Preliminary Round tie the Northern Alliance side were simply called ‘Newcastle University’, they fared little better as the Spartans ran out comfortable 5-0 winners.
New opponents came in the form of Teesside club Norton CCT who are the founding club for the current Norton & Stockton Ancients club but back in the 1950’s they were a cricket club, the Norton Cricket Club Trust decided to start a football section to give a winter option for its members.
hendonmarineleather headOther new opponents from further a field came in the form of Manchester club Curzon Ashton & Barnsley side Worsbrough Bridge Miners Welfare & Athletic Football Club.
There was a plenty of traveling involved for the club, a journey to Worcestershire to play Alvechurch in January 1972 was made to look a short hop when Blyth had to travel to London twice within a month to play Woking & Leatherhead.
Further long trips south were required for games against Hendon, Slough Town & Bishops Stortford while both Fareham Town & Wycombe Wanders made the long haul north in 1974.

Blyth even endOld Heart crested up playing 2 teams from Scotland!.
In October 1967 the Spartans were drawn against the quaintly named Hearts of Liddesdale FC.
The away tie in the Scottish Borders took the Spartans to Newcastleton, a village in the Liddesdale Valley.
Founded in 1880 as Newcastleton FC they changed their name to Hearts of Liddesdale in 1909. The Carlisle & District League side were no match for the Spartans with the prolific Tommy Orrick scoring 4 as they romped to a 6-0 victory.

  • Due to their geographical location Hearts played most of their football under the control of the Cumberland Football Association, mainly in the Carlisle & District League however the League disbanded in 2003. The Club then joined the Dumfries Amateur League but after 3 seasons rejoined Cumberland County League and now play in the Border Amateur Football League A Division.

The Spartans were drawn against Scottish opposition again in September 1971 when another Carlisle and District League side, Annan Athletic came to Croft Park.  The Black & Golds did manage to score unlike their fellow countrymen but were sent packing back over the Border on the end of a 6-1 thrashing.

  • Annan may have fared only slightly better than Hearts did by virtue of scoring a goal but their fortunes have fared better. In 1977 Annan  returned to Scottish football in the South of Scotland Football League and in 2008 they were successful in applying to join the Scottish Football League.

020That Preliminary Round victory over Annan set the club off on it’s longest run in the cup and would agonisingly ended in a 0-2 Semi Final defeat to Isthmian League Enfield at St James Park in front of a 18,650 crowd, it was the closest Blyth came to reaching the Final and the Wembley appearance the club craved so much.

Enfield SJP

The tie at St James Park was played with the back drop of the East Stand construction.

Enfield outclassed Blyth that spring day at St James Park but would in turn lose 0-2 in the Final to fellow Isthmian League side Hendon, the following season brought the 3 times winners and reigning holders Hendon to Croft Park.
After being held to a 1-1 draw the Spartans made the long haul to London and a Allan Young goal saw Blyth cause an upset to knock the holders out. Young scored again in the next round as Blyth beat local rivals North Shields 1-0 at Appleby Park in the 3rd Round and he was on the score sheet once again in the 4th Round but his goal wasn’t enough as Blyth lost 1-2 at Athenian League Champions Slough Town.

034The clubs last game in the competition came in a 4th Round defeat at Bishop Stortford on 2nd  March 1974, Mick Dagless got the Spartans last ever Amateur Cup goal in a 1-3 defeat.

last winners

Bishops Stortford celebrate their Wembley victory.

Fittingly in their centenary season, the Bishops would go on to beat Ilford 4-1 in the Final at Wembley on 20th April 1974 in what became the last ever Amateur Cup game, a sign of how the popularity of the competition had dwindled from it’s hey days was shown with a crowd of only 30,000 at Wembley that afternoon.

In 1969 the FA had given Semi-Professional teams an opportunity to compete for the chance to play at Wembley Stadium with the creation of the FA Trophy, fully amateur clubs still took part in the long-standing FA Amateur Cup, but most of the leading Non-League clubs made at least some form of payment to their players and were therefore ineligible to enter the Amateur Cup.

In 1974 the FA abandoned its policy of classifying all clubs as either fully professional or fully amateur and the Amateur Cup was duly abolished.

  • Amateur Cup winners who later turned professional and gained entry to The Football League include Middlesbrough, West Hartlepool (merged to form Hartlepool United), Wimbledon, Wycombe Wanderers and Barnet, thirty-six different clubs won the cup.

It was a case of oh so close in the Spartans attempt to reach Wembley coming within 90 minutes of playing at the famous twin towers, in 1973/74 the club entered the FA Trophy.

Blyth competed in the FA Amateur Cup for 10 seasons playing a total of 42 games winning 30, losing 10 and drawing 2, scoring 100 goals in the process of which 3 were own goals
(also 7 hat tricks were scored and their were 4 four goal hauls and 5 penalties).
Brian Slane was the club’s top scorer in the competition with 17 goals while Tommy Orrick got 11.

Blyth Spartans Complete FA Amateur Cup record:

1964/1965
10 Oct 1964            1Q                        Walker Naval Yard                        A                        3-1            Scorers: Campbell, Dodd, Nixon
24 Oct 1964            2Q                        University of Newcastle               H                        4-1            Scorers: Campbell 4
07 Nov 1964            3Q                        North Shields                                A                        4-1            Scorers: Campbell, Tatum (og), Duffell 2
28 Nov 1964            4Q                        Tow Law                                         A                        0-2

1964/1965­­
23 Oct 1965            2Q                        Marine Park                                    A                        4-1            Scorers: Hewitt 2, Orrick, Pink
06 Nov 1965            3Q                        North Shields                                A                        1-3
Scorer: Hewitt

1966/1967
08 Oct 1966            1Q                        North Shields                                  H                      2-5
Scorers: Orrick, n/k

1967/1968
23 Sep 1967            Prelim.              Heaton Stannington                        H                     5-2            Scorers: Orrick 2, Feenan, Winskill 2
07 Oct 1967            1Q                        Durham City                                    H                     2-1            Scorers: Orrick (p), Winskill
21 Oct 1967            2Q                        Hearts of Liddesdale                      A                     6-0            Scorers: Orrick 4 (2p), Alder, Pope (og)
04 Nov 1967            3Q                        South Bank                                     H                     3-0            Scorers: Evans, Orrick 2
09 Dec 1967            4Q                        West Auckland                               H                     1-1
Scorer: Flaherty
16 Dec 1967            4Q Replay            West Auckland                              A                     0-4

1968/1969
14 Sep 1968            Prelim.                  Newcastle University                 H                      5-0            Scorers: Watts, Oakley (p), Duffell 3 (1p)
28 Sep 1968            1Q                        Consett                                            H                     1-0            Scorer: Jardine
12 Oct 1968            2Q                        Billingham Synthonia                   A                      3-4            Scorers: Duffell, Scott 2

1969/1970
13 Sep 1969            Prelim.              Heaton Stannington                        H                     5-1            Scorers: Feenan, Slane 3, A Young
27 Sep 1969            1Q                        Stanley United                                H                     3-0            Scorers: Robson, Slane, Evans
11 Oct 1969            2Q                        Willington                                        H                     2-1            Scorers: Alder, Lister
30 Oct 1969            3Q                       Billingham Synthonia                    A                     0-2

1970/1971
12 Sep 1970            Prelim.               Washington                                       A                    5-0            Scorers: Slane 3, Evans, Scott
26 Sep 1970            1Q                        Bishop Auckland                             A                    0-2

1971/1972
11 Sep 1971            Prelim.                   Annan Athletic                              H                    6-1
Scorers: Lister 3, Jardine 2, A Young
25 Sep 1971            1Q                        Curzon Ashton                                A                     2-0
Scorer: Slane 2
16 Oct 1971            2Q                        Norton CCT                                      H                    5-1
Scorers: Alder, Slane 4
30 Oct 1971            3Q                        Worsborough Bridge                      A                    2-0
Scorers: Romaines 2
27 Nov 1971            4Q                       Willington                                        A                    3-0
Scorers: Lister 2, Young
08 Jan 1972            1                          Alvechurch                                       A                    1-0
Scorer: Jardine
29 Jan 1972            2                         Tow Law                                            A                    4-0
Scorers: Smith, Alder, Slane 2
19 Feb 1972            3                         Woking                                              A                     3-0
Scorers: Lister 2, Scott
04 Mar 1972           4                        Leatherhead                                     H                     1-1
Scorer: Scott
11 Mar 1972            4 Replay           Leatherhead                                     A                     1-0
Scorer: Nixon
18 Mar 1972           SF                        Enfield                                           SJP                  0-2

1972/1973
09 Dec 1972            1                        Marine                                              A                     1-0
Scorer: R. Young
06 Jan 1973            2                        Hendon                                            H                     1-1
Scorer: Scott
13 Jan 1973            2 Replay         Hendon                                              A                      1-0
Scorer: A. Young
27 Jan 1973            3                        North Shields                                  A                      1-0
Scorer: A. Young
17 Feb 1973            4                        Slough                                               A                      1-2
Scorer: A. Young

1973/1974
05 Jan 1974            1                        Sutton Coldfield Town                 H                      3-0
Scorers: Slane, Lister, Nixon
26 Jan 1974            2                        Fareham Town                              H                      2-0
Scorer: Slane 2
09 Feb 1974            3                        Wycombe Wanderers                  H                      2-1
Scorers: Slane, Mead (og)
02 Mar 1974            4                        Bishops Stortford                         A                      1-3
Scorer: Dagless

  • Credits, Acknowledgments & Thank you’s:

Ken Sproat the oracle on Blyth Spartans history and of course his superb history book ‘We’re the Famous Blyth Spartans’ provided vital information.

Kevin Tilmouth who once again provided memorabilia from his collection that was used in this article.

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5 Responses to Brief encounter – The FA Amateur Cup

  1. spen666 says:

    As ever a great read,

    Think you need to check your data as you say

    “Blyth competed in the FA Amateur Cup for 10 seasons playing a total of 74 games winning 30, losing 10 and drawing 2,”

    That only accounts for 42 of the 74 games. I think the number of games is wrong.

  2. George Alberts says:

    Good Evening From Thailand

    I received the Blyth Spartans book BUT was away for a while in North East Thailand so gave it to a friend of mine who, like me, lives here and I was surprised when I returned to see I was mentioned when the book was written with a reference to Blyth’s new goalkeeper when we won our first points in a 4-0 home win against Durham City. I came from Gateshead Football Club and returned BUT always regretted not staying at Blyth BECUASE Jim Turney treated me so well. I played that season in a 4-3 FA Cup match when we lost at Scarborough BUT didn’t realise that in THE FIRST FA Amateur match when we won 3-1 against WALKER NAVAL YARD when Ken Duffell scored the first Blyth goal in a FA Amateur Cup match…….I was the first Blyth goalkeeper to play in an FA Amateur Cup match……A GOOD LOCAL QUIZ QUESTION which nobody would know.

    I was the Blyth first team keeper, well respected and treated so well, but as a 19 year old

    returned and played mainly for Gateshead Reserves under Bobby Mitchell and Lawrie Mcmenemy. If I had my time again I should and, perhaps would, have stayed at Blyth BUT when you are basically a kid PEOPLE want to play for their home team….Gateshead being mine. NEVER MIND………………….it happened as it happened BUT a shame I didn’t stay.

    Rest assured HOWEVER I always, naturally, look at Gateshead’s results first BUT Blyth have always been a close second. If George Watson is still about [and I think he is] give him my Kind Regards.

    Best Wishes from Thailand….and sorry to see that there are bad feelings between the supporters of Blyth and Gateshead. There is nothing BUT GOOD FEELINGS from this ‘old man’ in Asia to Gateshead and Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.

    GEORGE ALBERTS

    MIKE

    You may be interested in this little note…….lovely Book…..plus this Appendix.

    GEORGE

    Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 07:09:31 +0000 To: georgedda@hotmail.com

  3. George Alberts says:

    AS A PS…………………………

    There was a North Shields supporter WHO RAN A BAR OVER HERE [sadly died around 4 years ago called ‘QUINNY’…….known to everyone locally in North Shields and in Thailand as that BUT ‘CHRIS QUINN’ being his full name. His family had a milk business in Shields. I spoke to him one day about a Northern League Cup match in which I played at Appleby Park when it finished North Shields 2 Blyth Spartans 1. Shields had had their floodlights upgraded and there was around 2,500/3,000 at the match. We, at Blyth, were reduced to 9 men. One was injured, and one sent off. No substitues in those days. QUINNY told me that he was at the match as a 12 year old and threw toilet rolls at me. HE, NATURALLY DID NOT KNOW IT WAS ME, but remembered the match. He knew he had because AT EVERY HOME MATCH he and his mates TOSSED TOILET ROLLS at the visiting GOALKEEPER. I remember the BLOODY THINGS COMING OVER but could not have ever thought that I would meet one of the culprits. JUST A MEMORY because he told me they got them ‘cheap’ at a shop just outside APPLEBY PARK but a nice one.

    GEORGE ALBERTS

    From: georgedda@hotmail.com To: comment+r6bfvjjsy5qawfwq0o1c_lv@comment.wordpress.com; sales@blythsgreenarmy.com; georgedda@hotmail.com; mikeamos81@aol.com Subject: RE: [New post] Brief encounter The FA Amateur Cup/BLYTH HISTORY BOOK Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2014 16:51:32 +0000

    Good Evening From Thailand

    I received the Blyth Spartans book BUT was away for a while in North East Thailand so gave it to a friend of mine who, like me, lives here and I was surprised when I returned to see I was mentioned when the book was written with a reference to Blyth’s new goalkeeper when we won our first points in a 4-0 home win against Durham City. I came from Gateshead Football Club and returned BUT always regretted not staying at Blyth BECUASE Jim Turney treated me so well. I played that season in a 4-3 FA Cup match when we lost at Scarborough BUT didn’t realise that in THE FIRST FA Amateur match when we won 3-1 against WALKER NAVAL YARD when Ken Duffell scored the first Blyth goal in a FA Amateur Cup match…….I was the first Blyth goalkeeper to play in an FA Amateur Cup match……A GOOD LOCAL QUIZ QUESTION which nobody would know.

    I was the Blyth first team keeper, well respected and treated so well, but as a 19 year old

    returned and played mainly for Gateshead Reserves under Bobby Mitchell and Lawrie Mcmenemy. If I had my time again I should and, perhaps would, have stayed at Blyth BUT when you are basically a kid PEOPLE want to play for their home team….Gateshead being mine. NEVER MIND………………….it happened as it happened BUT a shame I didn’t stay.

    Rest assured HOWEVER I always, naturally, look at Gateshead’s results first BUT Blyth have always been a close second. If George Watson is still about [and I think he is] give him my Kind Regards.

    Best Wishes from Thailand….and sorry to see that there are bad feelings between the supporters of Blyth and Gateshead. There is nothing BUT GOOD FEELINGS from this ‘old man’ in Asia to Gateshead and Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.

    GEORGE ALBERTS

    MIKE

    You may be interested in this little note…….lovely Book…..plus this Appendix.

    GEORGE

    Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 07:09:31 +0000 To: georgedda@hotmail.com

  4. Pingback: Green & White Cult Heroes – Mick Dagless | Blyth Spartans AFC – making history since 1899

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