1963/4 in photos

The 1963/64 playing staff as seen before the start of the season.

Back Row: Tony Hawksworth, Tommy Kay*, Mick Collins, Dennis Emery, Jock Wallace.

Middle row: Reg Game (trainer), Reg Cornelius (secretary), Ronnie Southgate, Vernon Avis, Steve Miles, Roy Banham, Bobby Anderson, Malcolm Russell*, Albert Frost*, Bill Goundry, Alex Bain, Norman Cooley, Alex Buchanan*, John Fahy, Tony Sabey*, Reg Smith (manager), Joe Campbell (assistant trainer).

Front row: Charles Gallie and Gordon Bruce (directors), David Skinn, Ted Ashdown (chairman), Harry Collins (director), David Coney, Bill Manning and George Senior (directors).

On ground: Ron Heckman, Brian Wright, David Sturrock, David Lovell.

* Reserve players who never made a first team appearance.

The trophy on the left is the Bedfordshire Professional Cup and on the right the Metropolitan League Challenge Cup, both won in 1962/63. The identity of the small trophy in the centre is unknown.

The 1963/4 season started with a 4-3 home win against Dartford on 24 August. Here visiting keeper Stubbs goes full stretch to beat Dennis Emery (right) watched by David Sturrock, but a defender deflected the ball into his own net for Bedford’s fourth goal. Emery, signed from Peterborough in the summer, had what was described as a “quiet” debut, but scored the third goal. Despite good weather the crowd was only 2,326, the smallest for an opening match for many years and two thousand down on the previous year’s opening day.

Two more scenes from the Dartford match- (top) Ron Heckman slides the ball wide of Stubbs for the second goal, and (below) Emery tests the keeper. It was a creditable result for a team that had only nine fit men for much of the second half, after injuries to David Sturrock and Norman Cooley.

“Deep depression over The Eyrie” ran the Bedford Record’s headline to the report of this match, a 1-4 defeat by Yeovil on 21 September 1963. It would have been bad enough in itself, but followed a horrible 1-7 home walloping by Guildford two evenings earlier, a night that ended with the announcement of Reg Smith’s resignation-although he did not leave until December. The Eagles were actually ahead in this match at half-time and still level after an hour, but then, as we see here, David Coney (far right) and Jock Wallace got into a muddle over a back pass and the resulting own goal put Yeovil ahead, two more goals following soon afterwards. Only 1,900 turned up, an unprecedentedly low crowd for so early in the season. Also in this view are (left to right) Mick Collins, Roy Banham and David Sturrock. After this match Collins moved to centre-half to displace Banham, John Fahy and Steve Miles were brought into the attack. In the return match at Guildford 48 hours later, the team won 3-1 and results continued to improve, but Smith stuck to his decision to leave.

Exempt until the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, Bedford met Cambridge City, the reigning Southern League champions, at The Eyrie on 19th October in front of almost 5,700. When the visitors were two up after 65 minutes they appeared assured of progress into the competition proper, but David Sturrock scored twice –the equalizer coming with four minutes left-to secure a draw which effectively transformed the season. Nearly 8,000 saw the replay at Milton Road three days later in which Bedford went through 3-2. Here, John Fahy (second from right) has beaten goalkeeper Roy Jones, but the ball came back off the post. Ron Heckman (10) and David Lovell are the other Bedford players.

In the first round of the FA Cup on 16 November 1963 Bedford met Weymouth at the Recreation Ground in typically heavy conditions. Despite going a goal behind in the second minute, the defence, inspired by a string of saves from Wallace, held firm and four minutes from half-time John Fahy gained possession from a Heckman corner and is seen here driving the ball home past Weymouth keeper Bill Gourlay. Weymouth were handicapped by an early injury to right-half Alan Wright, who was to join Bedford the following summer, and neither side could force a winner in the second half.

Two more scenes from the Weymouth match-(top) Gourlay and Fahy in an aerial duel, and (below), David Sturrock bursts through the defence. Three days later a single goal, from Steve Miles, won the replay at The Eyrie, of which no photographs seem to survive, and Bedford had avenged their defeat by Weymouth at the same stage ten years earlier.

Photograph by kind permission of the Essex Chronicle.

Jock Wallace, who was one of the best known names in non-league football at the time, goes for a cross in the FA Cup second round tie with Chelmsford at New Writtle Street on 7 December 1963, which Bedford won 1-0 against the odds, watched by just over 9,000. Tony Butcher (9) is airborne for Chelmsford and the other Bedford players are Bobby Anderson (left), Steve Miles (in distance), who scored the goal in the ninth minute, and Mick Collins (5), who was playing against his old club. Wallace, the undoubted hero of the win at Newcastle in the next round, left for Hereford the following summer, on the way to a more distinguished career in management.

It's December 1963 and three managers meet at the Eyrie, probably the only time all three of them were together-from left to right, manager-designate Basil Hayward, caretaker-manager Tim Kelly, and Reg Smith, about to resign and sail to South Africa. Hayward was still in charge at Yeovil and didn't take over until both his team and the Eagles were out of the FA Cup, allowing Kelly to preside over the remarkable win at Newcastle on 4 January 1964.

Bedford took three points out of four from their Christmas league matches against Worcester, and here in the 2-2 draw at The Eyrie on 28 December 1963, visiting keeper Keith Ball fields a high cross as John Fahy (right) advances, with David Lovell in the background. The other Worcester defenders, left to right, are Wood, Madley and Tierney (2). The holiday allowed the crowd to just squeeze past the 3,000 mark, for the last match before the Cup tie at Newcastle.

The programme cover and centrefold for the third round tie at St James's Park-NOT the Sports Direct Arena!-on 4 January 1964.

St James’s Park, 4 January 1964: Bedford’s captain, David Coney, shakes hands with Newcastle’s Stan Anderson-who scored their goal in the last few minutes- with referee Ernie Crawford looking on.

In the early stages of the third round tie at St James’s Park, 4 January 1964: Newcastle centre forward Barrie Thomas challenges Jock Wallace, watched by Mick Collins (left) and David Coney. Newcastle could easily have scored three or four times in the first 20 minutes but Bedford weathered the storm. Note the straw lying around on the pitch, which had been covered to protect it from frost; in the dying seconds with Bedford winning 2-1, some desperate local youngsters started to throw the surplus straw around on the touchlines in an effort to have the match abandoned.

At St James’s Park, 33,820 watch the opening exchanges of what was to become Bedford’s most spectacular cup success. Mick Collins tracks back against Newcastle’s Barrie Thomas, with Bobby Anderson watching (left) and David Coney partly hidden behind Collins.

Jock Wallace, whose performance did more than anything else to achieve such a remarkable result, takes a high ball under challenge from Newcastle’s Andy Penman, with Alan Suddick (11) looking on. David Lovell is back helping his goalkeeper and Ron Heckman is in the background, left.

Photograph by kind permission of ncjMedia Ltd

John Fahy celebrates as Newcastle full-back Bill McKinney (out of view) deflects David Lovell’s centre past grounded goalkeeper Gordon Marshall for Bedford’s second goal, three minutes before half-time, at St James’s Park. The toilet rolls wrapped around Marshall’s post are left over from Fahy’s opening goal 13 minutes earlier, a soaring header to meet Lovell’s centre, of which no photograph seems to survive.

Photograph by kind permission of ncjMedia Ltd

John Fahy challenges Newcastle’s centre-half John McGrath, watched by goalkeeper Marshall, in the closing minutes. Jim Iley is the Newcastle player in the background. After Jock Wallace had made a series of heroic saves, he lost a contact lens in the muddy goalmouth and the delay caused by looking for it led to four minutes of stoppage time-a lot for those days-in which Stan Anderson finally beat him with a 20-yard shot, but the defence saw off Newcastle’s last desperate attacks.

Celebrations on the train journey home from Newcastle, 4 January 1964.

Left to right:

Standing at back: Mick Collins, John Fahy, Jock Wallace, David Coney (partly hidden), Bill Goundry.

Seated: Bobby Gilmour and Dennis Emery (reserves), David Lovell, Steve Miles (with cigar), Reg Game (trainer, in foreground), Ron Heckman, Joe Campbell (assistant trainer), Bobby Anderson, David Sturrock, Vernon Avis.

It’s interesting to compare this with the similar picture after the Arsenal tie in 1956 (see 1955/6 in photos). The only Bedford personality common to both occasions, Tim Kelly, modestly avoided both photographs.

With the safety lights in the roof of the Long Shelter-switched on just before the floodlights went off at the end of a match- struggling to pierce the murk, you can almost feel the winter’s chill as John Fahy slides home a very late winner past Rugby’s goalkeeper Christie at The Eyie on 18 January 1964, between the Newcastle and Carlisle cup ties. His 87th minute effort, after Christie had failed to hold on to a shot from David Skinn (out of picture) secured a 3-2 win after the visitors had put up a good fight, one of several modest teams who visibly raised their game against the giant-killers. Ron Heckman is tangling with the keeper and David Lovell is in the background.

Tim Kelly is interviewed by David Coleman for BBC TV’s “Sportsview” before the Carlisle cup-tie in January 1964. Kelly, the most successful of the club’s managers in his tenure from 1955-59, returned as caretaker-manager between the departure of Reg Smith and the arrival of Basil Hayward, and presided over the Newcastle victory. This was the interview in which he laid out saucers of milk for leprechauns by the goalposts.

A crucial moment in the 4th round FA Cup defeat against Carlisle at The Eyrie, 25 January 1964. With Bedford a goal down early in the second half, Ron Heckman is about to beat Carlisle goalkeeper Alan Ross (extreme left) and slide the ball into the net, only to see his effort disallowed for offside. Carlisle scored twice more to clinch their win.

Carlisle’s Frank Kirkup (11) has just beaten Jock Wallace (on ground) to put his team a goal ahead just before half time in the January 1964 fourth round tie before a then record Eyrie crowd of 17,500. His centre forward Hugh McIlmoyle congratulates Kirkup, while Vernon Avis (in distance) and David Coney look glum.

The Ford End Road gasometers can be seen behind the Long Shelter.

John Fahy bursts between Carlisle half backs Peter McConnell and Ron Thompson in the second half of the fourth round defeat. It was the final game of his first spell with the club as he was already committed to joining Oxford United as soon as the cup run ended.

After their FA Cup exit, Bedford had a dreary run in the league in which they failed to score in five of their next seven matches. One of these was the goalless draw with Bath at The Eyrie on 8 February 1964. David Sturrock (left) has been beaten to this ball by Bath centre-half Ian Macfarlane and keeper Ray Drinkwater.

The lack of goals forced Basil Hayward to look elsewhere for strikers and he decided to give a run at centre-forward to Norman Cooley, who had first appeared briefly in 1961/2 and again at the start of 1963/4, but had then been ignored by Reg Smith. Cooley responded with ten goals, including both in this 2-0 Good Friday win against Bexley United at The Eyrie. Here he goes one-to-one with Bexley’s keeper Terry Smith, watched by David Sturrock and Steve Miles to the right. Cooley was virtually a regular from then until the late 1970s, moving into midfield and finally into the defence, and meanwhile played cricket for Bedfordshire and the Minor Counties as a wicket-keeper/batsman.

The 1963/4 season petered out disappointingly after the excitements of the Cup run, but the final weeks saw Norman Cooley continue his run as an alternative striker. Here he takes on Merthyr goalkeeper Norton in the 1-1 draw at The Eyrie on 18 April 1964, with Dennis Emery following up. Emery, who had been seriously injured in a car accident in 1961, was never able to repeat the achievements of his Peterborough days but made useful contributions later on the coaching side.

Another scene from the Merthyr match sees Ron Heckman in a duel with the Welsh keeper, and Norman Cooley and Steve Miles in the background. Merthyr had declined a long way from the era in which they won the championship four seasons out of five between 1949 and 1954, and were relegated at the end of this season, but Bedford still failed to beat them at home or away.

After the earlier FA Cup excitements, the disappointments of the league programme were forgotten again when Bedford retained the county Professional Cup and, a few weeks later, the Hunts Premier Cup. A crowd of 4,028, better than any attendance for a league fixture, turned up on 6 April 1964 to see virtually a first choice Luton side go down 0-2. Here David Sturrock drives home the first goal past veteran goalkeeper Ron Baynham from a cross by Miles. He added another in the second half.