TT contributor Andy Charles returns to discuss another programme from his TUFC collection:
Andy Charles – @capitalgull
No.3 – TORQUAY UNITED 2-3 ALDERSHOT, FA CUP 2ND ROUND, 7TH DECEMBER 1963
Not really too much to say about this game as it proved to be FA Cup disappointment – something we know plenty about – in a tie against the team now known as Aldershot Town.
I’ve really just picked this one because of the programme itself, although it would have been nice to win this one as the victors ended up playing against Aston Villa and taking them to a replay, which they won, before exiting against Swindon Town at home.
This is where things all get a little bit weird. I’ve seen plenty of programmes in my time, but this has to be the strangest one Torquay United ever produced.
I’ve seen others (York in the 1980s for example) produce programmes which folded out like takeaway menus but this is, to make things simple, tiny!
I’m going to hazard a guess this is A6 but I am no paper expert, about the size of a folded up wet wipe for example, but it does feature a lovely picture of Princess Gardens on the front and shows the Princess Theatre where my Mum worked when I was a young kid.
That of course led to me spending plenty of time there and I would regularly get to see some incredible performances for nothing – even being invited on stage a couple of times during the old Summer Season variety shows, which sadly featured some famous names who made the headlines for less funny reasons in recent years!
Lots we have seen in the two previous articles – my favourites like Wallace Arnold and Reeds of Torbay continuing their support along with Cobley’s Fish and Chip shop which continues to make me feel hungry for a nice battered haddock.
But a couple of new ones caught my eye.
One advertises “Torquay For Holidays…whatever the season” and offers up free literature if you wrote to someone called The Publicity Officer. Honestly, it sounds a bit Fawlty Towers to me, and I wonder why it appears in a home programme – surely you want to advertise in programmes for other teams in far-flung places like Derby and Bradford, not to the local clientele who already live in the Bay and a couple of hundred (I’ve no idea what travelling supports were like in the 60s) from Hampshire.
The other is for Fletchers Typewriter Sales Repair Depot in Torre because I fondly remember being given, when I was about five, a typewriter that my Dad had bought there. The younger readers here, used only to typing on laptops and smartphone screens, will never have experienced moving the carriage from right to left, having to get the Tippex out to make corrections, and the ding you got when you neared the end of a line and had to move everything back to the start yourself. Happy memories…for those of a certain age!
Inside, The Trekker is back…and he’s happy because this game had been preceded by a ridiculous run of home games which saw us score 8, 1, 6, 6 and 5 goals. The reason? Well we had a new striker on board in his first season with the club – some fella called Robin Stubbs who had already scored 17 goals by early December after becoming our then £6,000 record signing.
But reading further I do now wonder if The Trekker is my old mucker Merse. Trekker soon rips into the local public when he says “the only spoiling feature (of the Chester game we won 5-0) was the size of the “gate” – 3,900. Really the apathy that exists in the face of so much good football is making Torbay something of a laughing stock in other soccer centre. They must imagine the area is populated only by dear old ladies.” Yep, definitely Merse!
Pen pics for the Aldershot squad, not featuring any names I recognised at first, but now realise one of their half-backs – Jim Smith – would be the very same Jim Smith who went on to have a very successful managerial career at the likes of Portsmouth, Birmingham City and Oxford United.
Ray Spencer is the Torquay player in profile, one I knew nothing about until time of writing, but a decent pedigree including Villa and West Ham…and he was in the RAF as well like my Dad so he’s fine by me.
Turn the programme around for the stats page (see above), which makes for good reading – the Gulls fifth in Division 4, albeit just behind Exeter – and third in the Western League as well (but having played a lot more games than near rivals).
What else? A call to arms from the Supporters Club who want crowds heading up to 7,000 and warn it’s a must for the club to be able to carry on – EEK!
Back with another programme soon, and thanks to those who have got back to me @capitalgull with feedback and their own fond memories from these programmes.