In a new series, TT contributor Andy Charles delves into his extensive TUFC collection and discusses various programmes from the history of the Gulls:
Andy Charles – @capitalgull
No.1 – TORQUAY UNITED 0-1 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN, 29th January 1955
Attendance 21,908 (club record)
I’m starting off this series with the oldest Torquay United programme I own, one I picked up as part of a bundle at the West London Programme Fair earlier this year – a few more of those might just feature in the coming weeks.
FA Cup fever came to Plainmoor on one of the club’s most memorable days, a fourth round FA Cup tie against First Division side Huddersfield Town. Nearly 22,000 fans would pack themselves into Plainmoor, setting a club attendance record which still stands up to this day and, let’s be honest, will never be bettered.
Sadly for the Gulls, a sole goal from Jimmy Glazzard, who hit the target 32 times that season, would be enough for Huddersfield to secure a 1-0 win and they made it all the way to the quarter-finals before bowing out to Newcastle United after a replay.
A 16-page epic, and I am going to assume it was a special edition because nothing I have from around the same time is as long, in-depth or has as many pictures!
It seems almost obligatory back in those days to have a picture of Eric Webber somewhere…and why not? For those who are unaware of the club’s history Webber stands right up there with any player or manager – at this time, he was still doing both. Webber, who had joined the club from Southampton in 1951, would end up staying in charge at Plainmoor until 1965 when his 14 years with the club came to an end and he was replaced by another great, Frank O’Farrell.
But these were his best years, Webber guiding the Gulls so close to the Second Division (what would now be the Championship) and managing Torquay to one of their greatest ever victories – a 4-0 FA Cup third round thrashing of Leeds United which set up this tie. That victory, “The Traveller” tells us in his welcome notes, were even enough to secure Webber a congratulatory message by none other than the great Sir Stanley Matthews.
Three pages devoted to Huddersfield pen pics, complete with height and weight, and we even get a line on each of the Torquay players, great for someone like me who wanted to learn a little about players like Sammy Collins and Don Mills who my father often talked to me about.
A page comes from the Torquay United Supporters’ Club, ending with a call to arms and a continuous Plainmoor Roar from all home fans present.
There is also the line-up page, showing off the regular 2-3-5 formation teams adopted back in the day – it features two full-backs, three half-backs, two inside-forwards, two wingers and a centre-forward. I’d like to see a few teams have a go with this formation in “modern” football!
And I love the Programme of Music page – you could have turned up at Plainmoor more than two hours before kick off and listened to the Band of the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. There’s even a list of the music they were going to play, including such greats as ‘I do like to be Beside the Seaside’ and ‘I’ve got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts!’
The remainder of the programme is adverts and I’ll admit they are always something I love to look at just to see how different the world was in different generations. The most interesting one for me personally is an advert for Art Jennings and his Music (with fully licensed buffet!) at the old Spa Ballroom, which was above where the Harvester on the harbour is now (the old Coral Island site). It’s very pertinent for me because the Spa is where my mum and dad met, danced and courted together for many years before eventually getting married and having me!
Other than that, it’s a fine mixture of hotels which don’t exist any more (and a couple that do!), pubs and local attractions like Kents Cavern, which I am sure a few Huddersfield fans would have been enticed to after the game or if they were making a weekend of it!
And, just to finish, now I also know to make sure to get hold of some Pectoral Balsam of Honey the next time I have “the worst cough”.