TT contributor Andy Charles is back discussing another TUFC programme from his collection:
Andy Charles – @capitalgull
No.4: TORQUAY UNITED 1-4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, LEAGUE CUP 3RD ROUND, 6TH OCTOBER 1971 – ATTENDANCE 20,213
Unlike the rest of the Premier League’s current top six, Torquay United have a good bit of history with Tottenham Hotspur, including the famous Derek Dawkins-inspired 1-0 win over David Pleat’s side in 1987.
The Gulls have matched up with Spurs six times in cup competitions, but this programme comes from one of the heaviest defeats (mainly because it is the only one of the three home ones I could find at home!).
More than 20,000 packed in to Plainmoor again for this midweek clash, earned by beating Newport County and Oldham Athletic in the previous two rounds.
But an early penalty from 1966 World Cup winner Martin Peters set the tone for the evening and Tottenham would go on to win easily thanks to two more goals from Martin Chivers and another from sub Jimmy Pearce.
The Torquay goal came from Bruce Stuckey…but more of him later.
Tottenham would make it all the way to the semi-finals of the competition before losing out to fierce rivals Chelsea, who then lost the final 3-2 against Stoke City.
A pretty simple affair compared to previous ones I have written about – it’s just about the exact shape you would expect and in all honesty isn’t particularly exciting to look at, but there is so much inside that brings back memories, even though I wouldn’t be born until 363 days later!
Tottenham, who were the defending League Cup winners, get their team photo on the front page with the trophy, which they had secured in February by beating Aston Villa 2-0 (both goals from Chivers).
Inside is a welcome from the first chairman of Torquay United I remember, the great Tony Boyce whose association with the Gulls would last for decades in one form or another.
Tottenham’s pen pictures include some of the greatest players of their era. Peters was a dual World Cup player with England, laying his hands on the Jules Rimet Trophy in that famous 1966 Wembley win over West Germany.
Chivers, Alan Mullery and Ralph Coates all enjoyed plenty of England honours while Mike England was one of Wales’ greatest players, Alan Gilzean enjoyed success with Scotland and Pat Jennings was one of the best goalkeepers of that time in world football – he’d have been a multi-million pound player in these days of money-dominated top-flight football.
But the player who would go on to mean most to Torquay United is classy left-back Cyril Knowles, who was in the middle of a 12-year association with Spurs which ran until 1976 and inspired the famous football song “Nice One Cyril” which made it into the top 20 of the hit parade (youngsters, go ask your parents what that means…imagine the iTunes/Spotify charts in the days when radio mattered!)
Knowles would be back in Torquay in 1987, this time as manager, just after the famous Great Escape against Crewe Alexandra, recently documented in the Netflix programme ‘Losers’.
He would guide Torquay into the play-offs in his first season in charge, only narrowly missing out on automatic promotion, be responsible for bringing Lee Sharpe into the first team and then selling him to Manchester United, and then lead us to Wembley for the first time in 1989 when we fell 4-1 to Bolton Wanderers in the Sherpa Van Trophy final.
Sadly his reign as manager would end early in his third season and by the end of 1991 he had been lost far too prematurely to the game of football when cancer claimed his life at the age of only 47. I can tell you I was almost unable to speak that day, such was the effect he had on Torquay United in such a short spell.
The Torquay side that day also had some family connection for me as my Mum counts herself as part of the Stuckey family so I count Bruce as a cousin, one I played cricket with as a youngster on many an occasion and, after a bit of prompting from a friend, now recall speaking to about this goal.
Although born in Torquay – a Hele Village family – Bruce started his career up the A380 with Exeter City and also played for Sunderland before finally representing his home town team for the first time in 1970.
He would come back on loan briefly towards the end of his career, which finished in the USA with the long-since defunct Cincinnati Bicentennials – I need to ask him about that spell as I don’t ever remember it coming up.
As well as Bruce, the team also included a couple of players recently named in Alan Merson’s Dream Team – goalkeeper Mike Mahoney and midfielder Tommy Mitchinson – plus substitute Dick Edwards.
Not a lot else to write about here, so I’ve saved a bit from the manager’s note where Allan Brown makes a plea to supporters to make sure they drown out the travelling Tottenham support – I wonder just how many of the Cockerel Chorus made the trip to Devon on a Wednesday night in October?
Those “Glory Glory Hallelujah” boys sadly did have plenty to celebrate but hopefully some of the new supporters the boss refers to in his notes were inspired to come back and watch the Gulls some more – not just come to watch Tottenham and disappear for good.
Elsewhere is a look back to one of our greatest days – the 3-3 draw with Tottenham in 1965 where Torquay earned an FA Cup replay in front of a packed house.
Although I was seven years from being born, that day brings back some fond memories for me as my dad was always so proud of being there to witness the occasion. He took his Cine-8 camera with him to record his memories and then had it transferred to VHS video for me to watch one night.
What he hadn’t told me, was that I would sit through 90 minutes of a camera shot focused on a corner flag…which saw action for about 30 seconds of Jimmy Greaves coming over to take a corner. A camera man or videographer my Dad definitely was not!
And I did like the Programme for the Evening as well – kids allowed in first at 5.15pm and a penalty competition on the pitch running for most of pre-match and organised by the Pioneer League, where I got my start playing kids football. I had the chance to play at Plainmoor a couple of times thanks to them and through the Junior Supporters Club as I was growing up – those memories will never diminish.
There are some old favourites in here we have come across already, including Cobley’s Fish & Chips and Wallace Arnold, but the club had clearly been getting out in the Torbay community to pick up some additional advertising.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t start eating curries until I left Torquay in the 1990s but I had no idea there were many curry houses around in South Devon of the early 1970s – the Taj Mahal in Abbey Road which I think is still going strong and The Ganges in Crossways…the eyesore Paignton shopping centre which, the last time I was over there, was lacking in something important…shops!
Nice to see an advert for Shiphay Manor – Torbay’s Liveliest Nightspot apparently – which I only remember from my Sixth Form days at TBGS, by when it was only lively on school party nights.
I know for a fact I bought my first set of football boots at Sangster Sports in Torwood Street, founded by a former Torquay United youngster in Mike Sangster, whose sporting prowess would eventually be more prominent as one of Britain’s best tennis players of the early 1960s.
How about some Beaver Bowling? Not one I remember I’ll admit, but I can only guess it was on the same site as what became the Galaxy Centre on Higher Union Street.
And good memories of another venue which still exists in Torquay is the old Wimpy Restaurant on Fleet Walk, however I am not sure about their boast about being a place frequented by Torquay players – I doubt very much that would be the case today!
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.