March 20th

Ellisref

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Wrexham and a general look out for some of the friendly teams I've been observing at around the country.
From my copious notes:
1977 - Played for Poole Referees Association in the National Referees 5-a-side Southern Division Finals at Harrow Leisure. These game were 'difficult' to control so much so that Football League referees were drafted in to take charge. Competition has been disbanded.
1980 - Market Rangers v Rosemount - Islington Midweek League Jack Walker Cup (linesman). These two sides were the strongest in the league, which was played on the first generation astroturf pitches. A good grounding for referees as there were 3 officials appointed to each game.
1982 - Vauxhall Queens Head v Battersea Postal - Wimbledon & District League (referee) played at Garratt Park, Earlsfield
1983 - Kimber v Granville United 'A' - Sportsman's Sunday League (referee) played at Richardson Evans (Robin Hood Gate roundabout)
1990 - Egham Town v Malden Vale - Vauxhall League 2 (South) (linesman) - climbing the slippery referees ladder
1994 - New Star Phoenix v Witchampton United - Dorset Sunday League (referee) - having fallen off the ladder having refereed on both Isthmian and Southern Leagues, played at Branksome Rec
2004 - Bournemouth v Hamble ASSC - Wessex League (Observer) one of my favourite Wessex clubs, my last game in Southern England was there in 2019
2011 - Bournemouth Electric Res v Bournemouth Athletic - Bournemouth Sunday League (referee)
2012 - Bournemouth School v Highcliffe School - Bournemouth Schools U15 cup (referee) played at Slades Farm, putting something back into the game
2018 - Hamworthy United v Horndean - Wessex League (Observer) still helping referees to 'develop', another one of my favourite clubs
 

prorege

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Fife clubs
Can you give us a link to the online archives with attendances from 1960? I've looked at the SPFL archives but it only shows crowd figures for recent years, not games in the 80's and 90's. Thanks!
I spent long hours in the basement of the old SFL offices in Glasgow transcribing the official attendance returns from 1960 onwards. I have them in notebooks. If there is a game you are looking for I can check it for you.
 

Oxpete

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The match that sticks out most from my records is...

Tuesday 20th March 1990
Division Three~
Swansea City 0-5 Bristol City


...with an attendance of 5,857. This was Terry Yorath's first home-match of his second spell as Swansea manager, two periods that sandwiched the tenure of Ian Evans who'd been sacked the week before. Yorath's three-year-long first spell at the Vetch Field had won him much good-will from the fans, what with steadying a bankrupt club, halting the free-fall through all four divisions, bringing in some exciting youngsters like Andy Legg and Chris Coleman, and winning a highly unexpected promotion in the play-offs in 1988. Unfortunately, this second year-long spell proved to be a much more fraught affair - starting with this home thrashing, continuing through constant relegation battles, and finally coming to an end after an astonishing eleven consecutive defeats. Much of this might have been due to his attempt to manage both Swansea City and the Welsh national side at the same time - indeed, after being sacked by Swans, he took Wales to famous back-to-back victories over Germany in the 1992 Euro Qualifiers and Brazil in a friendly.

As for the match itself, I can't remember much, except that there was a huge away following for Bristol City that night as they went on to win promotion to Division Two in second place, two points behind champions Bristol Rovers. And that obviously Swans played really badly...
 

Chris1963

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Oxford United / groundhopper
I spent long hours in the basement of the old SFL offices in Glasgow transcribing the official attendance returns from 1960 onwards. I have them in notebooks. If there is a game you are looking for I can check it for you.
Many thanks Prorege. I'll send you a PM over the next few days with a list of games I attended in Scotland where the attendance was rounded up to the nearest hundred, or even thousand.
 

hemelhopper

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Hemel Hempstead Town; Trust Portsmouth FC and the Reds of Cincinnati
March 20th has seen some wonderful trips into the Non-League .. in recent times I would find the grounds of Tavistock AFC (SWPL) hosting Elburton Villa; Little Common’s (SCFL) use of Eastbourne United's pitch, as they entertained Eastbourne Town .. and even see a New College Swindon "win" against Woodstock Town (HEL1W) .. but the one game that sticks in the mind was a 2004 FA Vase game between two teams I've had the pleasure of not only watching on numerous occasions but living and working in the respective City / Town .. yes bring on the Citizens of Hampshire .. and the Robins of North Devon.

Winchester City 4-0 Bideford (FA Vase Semi Final 2nd Leg) .. 7-3 on aggregate
- played at the Denplan City Ground, Hillier Way, Winchester from 3.0pm

Att – 1,818; Entry – £7; Prog – somewhere in the collection
Weather – a windy one; Travel – a short drive along the A272

A crowd of 1,923 had turned out at the Sports Ground, Kingsley Road in North Devon the week before to witness a classic 3-3 encounter .. and memories of me living in Bideford still fresh in the mind from boyhood days, when I’d kick a ball about on the same pitch during the holidays and many an evening hour, awaiting for the next home game in the Western League, back in the late 60’s .. so it was in anticipation of a trip to the FA Vase Final that took me along to watch the 2nd Leg and events unfold this day. Where Winchester City produced a top-drawer performance to win through to the final, in front of a bumper crowd of almost two thousand.

City were undeterred by the conditions. A swirling gale force wind, combined with a heavy pitch, made good football difficult .. but they made light of that to produce rich entertainment for the record crowd packed inside the ground. With the wind at their backs in the first half, City had the Devon side penned in their own half for long spells. But the visitors survived, twice clearing off their goal-line from Andy Forbes and Danny Smith within the space of a minute.

The breakthrough finally came two minutes before the break when Smith's free kick was headed across goal by Forbes for Ian Mancey to expertly volley home. The second came five minutes later in time added on when Matt Bicknell's cross found Forbes unmarked six yards out and City's ace marksman made no mistake. The game was virtually ended as a contest just three minutes into the second half when Forbes and Gary Green set up Mancey to drive home his 29th goal of the season in just 30 appearances.

Just after the hour mark the same player saw his header handled on the line by defender Simon Langmead, who was sent off for his trouble. Forbes stepped up to convert the penalty for his 70th goal of the campaign to put City clear at 4-0 .. with Bideford's misfortunes continued when substitute Leon Hapgood received a red card for a rash challenge on Toby Redwood. Reduced to nine men with 18 minutes remaining, the visitors battled hard to stem the flow and with Forbes going off as a precaution, City took their foot off the gas just a little .. and despite some close shaves there was no further scoring and the final whistle brought some joyous scenes among the home players and their supporters.

.. and a last word from a sporting Bideford vice-chairman Ian Knight.
"We were outplayed by a very good team on the day," he said. "Now we hope that City go on to win the competition - and I think they will!" .. and they did, 2-0 against AFC Sudbury at St Andrews, Birmingham. (Some extracts of game from the local Daily Echo .. my sincere thanks)
 
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Lord Lucan

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1982 (Saturday)

MVV 0 AZ'67 4
Dutch Eredivisie
@ Stadion Guesselt, Maastricht
Would have been a standard evening kick off.

This was the third game of an 8 day, 4 match Netherlands trip and MVV are the only club who still play at the same ground although modern pictures show a very different place to the 20,000 capacity one, with only 2,400 seats, I visited. We stood on the 6,000 covered terrace at a cost of f10.50. A 16 page programme - all black & white except for the front cover which had a bit of red - cost f1.95. That programme advises that MVV's home average that season was 5,500.

AZ'67 arrived as reigning Dutch champions and also reached the previous year's UEFA Cup Final which they had lost on aggregate to Ipswich Town. MVV's history was more modest, although they did win Group A4 of the 1970 Intertoto Cup - a competition with no knockout rounds and no declared winner !

The visitors squad included a 24 year old Johnny Metgod, who was later to spend three seasons at Nottingham Forest, and the prolific Kees Kist who was nearing the end of his first spell at AZ for who he would eventually score 259 goals in 441 games.

MVV featured the long serving Johan Dijkstra who played nearly 500 games for his only professional club where he still acts as a scout. Better known internationally would be Willy van der Kuijlen who was playing here in his last season after a long career at PSV for whom he scored 308 league goals. Add in his 3 for MVV and he remains the top scorer of all time in the Eredivisie and is commemorated with a statue outside the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven.

Extended licensing hours were still decades away in England so I am sure we would have taken advantage of the more liberal outlook in Maastricht !
 

Oxpete

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Pompey
Another day of memories...

Sunday 20th March 2011
Upper Thames Valley League
Research Machines 0-3 FC Oxford


...played at the home of Steventon FC of the North Berks League.

Back in the days when I worked almost every Saturday in the wonderful world of retail, I was pretty dependent upon midweek football to keep up my ticks. And for a few years I also picked up an affection for Sunday League stuff, in particular the Upper Thames Valley League, which in 2009 had nearly sixty clubs playing in six divisions (with the neighbouring Reading Sunday League being even bigger).

One UTVL side that I enjoyed watching was Research Machines FC, the works team for Oxford-based RM.plc, who make computers and software for schools, universities and government education departments. Indeed, Kempsterites of a certain age may well have honed their early computing skills on the legendary 380z machine, with its z80 microprocessor and massive (at the time!) 56kB of user RAM. In 1980, my secondary school bought a 380z (for a cool £3266, ex-VAT) so that pupils could write BASIC programs along the lines of ...

10 PRINT "MR BAILEY IS A KNOBBER"
20 GOTO 10
30 END


...saved on an enormous magnetic tape that Mr Bailey then drove down to Portsmouth Polytechnic in his Vauxhall Chevette, where someone would turn it into punched cards and, maybe a month or so later, send them back. If you were particularly lucky, you could do it all again in CECIL language too.

In 1981, RM were offered the contract to design and build the new BBC microcomputer, but declined it after deciding to stay within education - a decision which led the rest of the UK computer industry into the hysteria of the Oasis/Blur-style face-off between Cambridge-based Acorn and Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum, with the resulting flotsam of DonkeyKong and Clive's C5 electric bath-tub.

Back on the pitch, Research Machines FC were one of the rare Sunday League sides to regularly publish a match programme, which was edited at some point I do believe by FatBoyFat of this very parish.

Other matches from 20th March...

Saturday 20th March 1999 ~ Cirencester Town 1-3 Havant & Waterlooville, played at the old Smithfield ground just before Cirencester moved to their spanking new Corinium Stadium.
Tuesday 20th March 2012 ~ Henley Town 0-2 Bracknell Town.
Wednesday 20th March 2013 ~ Charlbury Town 1-3 West Witney, played on a freezing night at the Walterbush Road home of Chipping Norton Town FC, and watched in the company of JimmyJazz, TheWavendonian and Sanktpaulee.
Thursday 20th March 2014 ~ Kidlington 1-0 Abingdon Town.
 

Chris1963

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Oxford United / groundhopper
Here's my list for 20th March;

1976 (Sat) Oxford Utd 1 Portsmouth 0 (my seventh football match, I still remember Peter Foley's goal)

1982 (Sat) Metropolitan Police 1 Feltham 1 (my first visit to Imber Court, official attendance 134)

1988 (Sun) Welton Rovers 5 Elmore 1 (a fairly wet day, I think Leo was also there?)

1990 (Tues) Stambridge 1 Brightlingsea Utd 1 (Stambridge only spent a few years in the ESL)

1993 (Sat) Portland United 1 Gillingham Town 2 (a sunny day at Portland's old Grove Corner ground)

1994 (Sun) Cardiff Civil Service 5 Goytre Utd 3 (ground now gone, wasn't very far from Ninian Park)

1999 (Sat) Ashlea 1 Stalham Town 3 (Anglian Comb, park pitch in Lowestoft still used for football)

2004 (Sat) Pelican 1 Dinnington Town 2 (1 pm) First of two Hop games in Nottingham this day.
then at 3pm; Dunkirk 0 Retford United 1 (probably the strongest winds I've ever known at a game)

2005 (Sun) AC Amiens 1 US Dives-sur-Mer 3 (France, CFA 2 Group H)

2010 (Sat) Woodbridge Ahletic 1 Ransomes 0 (played at army barracks ground, entry no problem)

2011 (Sun) KRC Bambrugge 2 KFC Vrasene 1 (Belgium, East Flanders Provincial League)

2012 (Tues) Oxford United 1 AFC Wimbledon 0 (can't remember anything about this match)

2016 (Sun) Stoke Gabriel 5 Godolphin Athletic 0 (SWPL, overcast but dry day for this re-visit)

20th March was a very good day for me overall, programmes issued at all matches except Bambrugge (even AC Amiens surprisingly did a four page issue on stiff card) and Oxford United winning both home games I saw them play on this date, without conceding a goal. The re-visit to Stoke Gabriel was because my first visit had been on the groundhop bus, which was too easy and I wanted to do it again the hard way by walking from Paignton station. A bonus was that an impressive new two-storey clubhouse/dressing-room building had been added to the ground since the first visit.
 
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Steveb

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England, Leicester City, Bedfont & Feltham
1988 (a Sunday)
3pm
Oxfordshire Senior Cup, 4th round replay
Bicester Town 1 Oxford United reserves 2 (att 500)


Sunday games like this seemed to have been more common years ago. I don't remember much about this one, but I was living in London at the time and as I didn't drive I must have travelled to Bicester by train.

The away side are in my records at Oxford United reserves, but I've not dug out the programme to try to work out what sort of side they fielded. I don't keep a note of goal times either, so all I can tell you is that it was 0-0 at half time.

I'm also unsure now if the crowd was my estimate or a official figure I got from somewhere. It seems quite high. That it was 32 years ago is sobering.

237.jpg
 

Kingsmere

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Rampant Rangers
1988 (a Sunday)
3pm
Oxfordshire Senior Cup, 4th round replay
Bicester Town 1 Oxford United reserves 2 (att 500)


Sunday games like this seemed to have been more common years ago. I don't remember much about this one, but I was living in London at the time and as I didn't drive I must have travelled to Bicester by train.

The away side are in my records at Oxford United reserves, but I've not dug out the programme to try to work out what sort of side they fielded. I don't keep a note of goal times either, so all I can tell you is that it was 0-0 at half time.

I'm also unsure now if the crowd was my estimate or a official figure I got from somewhere. It seems quite high. That it was 32 years ago is sobering.

View attachment 351
Was also at the game, if my memory is correct the crowd was at least 500 probably more. The ground is now a shadow of it's former self.
 

The Willows

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Mansfield Town
Tuesday 20th March 1984

Arbroath 2 Stirling Albion 1

Surely there can't be many better settings in the UK than Gayfield Park.

Also went to the first of the groundhop at Greenwood Meadows in 2004, not an enjoyable experience.
I find the groundhop weekends a little contrived, as though it's set up for cheating the fixtures.
 

agamemnon3

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Saturday, March 20th 1982. Football League Division Three.
Bristol Rovers v Doncaster Rovers 3-0 (3-0). Att: 4957.

Sadly, my only visit to Eastville. It was a fine day, so in the company of the esteemed Dave Bogie, ('Scots Dave' to many on here), I walked the mile and a half or so from Temple Meads through Easton to Eastville Stadium.

The game was only so-so. With Bristol in sixth place and Doncaster in seventeenth, a home win was always likely, but in reality it was no contest. In what must have been one of the last games that Gary Mabbutt played for them before going on to attain legendary status somewhere else, Bristol were three up at half time and then declared. Doncaster were relegated at the end of the season, while Bristol finished seventh.

It's the stadium that stays with me however --- a huge wooden stand, a railway viaduct, a motorway, a river, an enormous open terrace, and flowerbeds behind the goals --- what more could anyone want ?
In the 'lost grounds' section of my own personal football heaven, Eastville is up there among the greats. Never the 'prettiest' of grounds perhaps, but a ground with more genuine character than a thousand new-builds. I always promised myself a revisit, but never managed it. What a jerk.

Also worth a mention:
Tuesday, March 20th 1984. Isthmian League Division Two.
Leyton Wingate v Corinthian Casuals 0-1 (0-0). Att: 155.

Both teams in the top four and looking for promotion meant a tight game with defences well on top, and CC doing just enough to nick the points. All to no avail however, as the Isthmians had tightened up grading regs and taken against groundshares, and so despite finishing fifth, CC were relegated.

Another lost ground, of course --- Leyton Stadium, on the Lea Bridge Road, sometimes known as the 'Hare & Hounds'. It's still there, being allowed to fall down quietly. Last time I was over that way, the pitch was being used as a lorry park. Sigh...
 

Tim

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Stourbridge, Welton Rovers
Also having fun in Nottingham in 2004. Nicely described by Andy, I only needed Pelican and Dunkirk and was glad to be homeward bound thereafter. Andy must have found a better spot at Dunkirk, because I recall the wind being even stronger than at Pelican. Seem to recall a goal kick being blown straight back behind for a corner. Also memories of a cricket sight screen being blown away, probably at Pelican. A memorable day indeed.
 

Wheelbarrow

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Also having fun in Nottingham in 2004. Nicely described by Andy, I only needed Pelican and Dunkirk and was glad to be homeward bound thereafter. Andy must have found a better spot at Dunkirk, because I recall the wind being even stronger than at Pelican. Seem to recall a goal kick being blown straight back behind for a corner. Also memories of a cricket sight screen being blown away, probably at Pelican. A memorable day indeed.
I didn't see the cricket sight screen go but I do remember a huge poplar tree at the club house end coming down during the Pelican game. I only just lasted all five games and was a little punch dunk by the end, but tempered by the fact that my parents' house was only about 10 minutes drive from the last game so could crash out in no time after the final whistle.
 

Loiner

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None
March 20th 1967
Leeds United v Sunderland 2-1
FA Cup 5th round 2nd replay at Boothferry Park, Hull ( 40,576).
After 1-1 draws at Roker Park (55,763) and Elland Road (57,892) it was mid week trip on the A63 (no motorway then) which was heaving as both sets of supporters were using it from the A1 to the ground.
Belfitt and Giles (pen) were the Leeds scorers
 

Digdagdog

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Melksham Town, Bath Rugby, Lancashire CCC, Wigan Warriors
2019...

Cheltenham Saracens 2 Malmesbury Victoria 3 Hellenic One West Att: 52
Vics first season in the Hellenic and they sprung a suprise here as the Sarries were runaway leaders at the time
 

Bagman

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Dec 8, 2019
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20th March 2012
Ryman League Premier Division

Hastings United (2) 2 v 0 (0) Tooting & Mitcham United Attendance 323

First half goals from Bradley Goldberg and Zac Attwood
 

Wiretown.Editor

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Dec 7, 2019
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Warrington Town are #1, Leeds Utd, Stranraer, Matlock Town, Warrington Wolves RLFC
1991 Stones Bitter Championship Division One Widnes v Warrington Lost 25-6

1992 Barclays League Division Three Fulham v Hartlepool United 1-0

1993 General Motors Vauxhall Conference Welling United v Northwich Victoria Won 1-5

That was a good trip south

1996 Kelly's Kits Cheshire Amateur Cup Semi Final (@ Vauxhall Motors FC) Ashville v Heswall 2-1

1999 John Smiths Gwynedd Cup Second Round Llanfair Athletic v Deiniolen 3-2

Possibly at Llanfairfechan for this one

2001 North West Counties League Division Two Warrington Twn v Ashton Town Won 2-1

2004 The CML five in a day Saturday but with a twenty one month old to look after I just did the two grounds I needed, games two and three. It was very, very windy. It blew Tom’s pram over. He was not in it at the time though. I think the games would have been called off in normal circumstances as there was lots of flying debris whizzing past.

Samsan Sports Central Midlands League Computer Products Supreme Division

Pelican v Dinnington Town T21 1-2

Samsan Sports Central Midlands League Computer Products Supreme Division

Dunkirk v Retford United T22 0-1

2007 UniBond League Division One Bamber Bridge v Warrington Town Lost 3-0

2010 FTL Futbol West Midlands (Regional) League Division One Cup Third Round

Bilbrook v Stafford Town 1-5

2012 Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division Northwich Victoria v Burscough Won 2-1

Played at Nantwich Town FC)


2015 Scottish Sun Lowland League East Kilbride v Whitehill Welfare 1-0
 

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