TT contributor Andy Charles returns to discuss another programme from his TUFC collection:
Andy Charles – @capitalgull
No.2 – TORQUAY UNITED 5-2 TRANMERE ROVERS, September 22, 1960
I could probably give you 20 guesses at the day and kick-off time of this game but, to spare you the anguish, this programme came from what was a very rare Thursday 5:15pm kick-off.
I am reliably informed this happened from time to time because new floodlights had yet to be installed at Plainmoor – enough nowadays to probably get you demoted to step seven of the non-league pyramid – so we were taking advantage of the late summer sunshine.
It was also the first of three games in five days for TUFC, who would travel to Port Vale (won 3-0) on the Saturday and then face Tranmere (drew 2-2) again at Prenton Park on the Monday night as well. All on one trip, I am told! These games all formed part of a sparkling run of unbeaten league form which ran from September 14 until December 17.
The game would end in a superb 5-2 victory in what was actually the first meeting between the two sides, who have been regular combatants in the six decades since.
This is a strange programme to read because, although it would appear to have eight pages, it’s actually just one sheet of A3 paper folded up.
Let’s just say it’s not the most colourful piece of work you would ever have seen – just the one picture across the entire production, that being of a club legend Eric Webber who, since the Huddersfield game in part one of this series, had retired as a player and was working solely as manager.
His programme notes are certainly a little different to what you might get nowadays – even a little bit of transfer talk about an impending deal to sign “young Brian Handley” from Aston Villa. (Yes, we did sign him…and he scored 32 goals in 80 games for us!).
Elsewhere “The Trekker” gives us a round-up of the latest news from Plainmoor, giving credit to a number of players who were being utilised out of position, although most of our readers wouldn’t have any clue what an inside forward or a wing-half are.
We get pen pictures of some of Tranmere’s XI, including what would have been seen as a rarity back in the early 1960s – one of Rovers’ strikers was Nigeria international Elkanah Onyeali, who was one of the first African players to participate in English football.
He came up against some pretty famous names in Torquay United’s past in this fixture – household names at the time who have stood the test of time, including two of our greatest players of all time – Don Mills and Tommy Northcott.
Sadly I didn’t have any luck finding out the scorers, which I’ll be happy to put in here if one of our stats geniuses can let me know. (And if someone can direct me towards my mislaid copy of the club history book I had when I moved five years ago it would also be much appreciated!)
No doubt a trip down memory lane for our older readers and their parents. Even me, heading for 47 years on this planet, recognises a few of the adverts across the pages – Reed of Torbay (Ford) being one I recall from my younger days of loving looking around car dealerships with dad.
Who doesn’t remember Wallace Arnold as well? I went on a few of their coach trips with my folks and we used to go to Cobley’s in Belgrave Road on Fridays for fish and chips for many years.
And what about this in the pre-travel club days. A second class return trip to the bright lights of London to watch the Gulls take on Queens Park Rangers would have cost you the sum total of 45 shillings and six pence, just under £2.50 in decimal currency.
We had a news section offering congratulations to the Paignton Section for winning “the Cup” at Paignton Carnival last week and a reminder to get your memberships in for the Golden Blue Social Club, chaired by G.H. Bettison Esq.
And, for those moaning about season-ticket prices in 2019, the final reminder to get one of the last few remaining – £5 15 shillings and sixpence would get you one in the majority of the ground, with an extra £1 1 shilling and a penny for Stand B, wherever that might have been!