The Later Years (1967-82)
This section covers 1967/8 to the end of the club's existence in 1981/2.
Click on the links below to see the following features:
Later History, 1967-82- a season-by-season illustrated commentary on this period, including links to league tables
Player List, 1967-82- career details of all those who appeared for the club in competitive first team football in these seasons
Results and teams, 1967-82-results, team lineups (as far as possible) and other match statistics for these seasons.
A GENERAL NOTE ON THIS SECTION
When I launched this site in autumn 2010, I always intended if possible to extend the story down to the end of the old BTFC. However, soon after starting serious research into this period in 2011, I realised that there were some major problems. As attendances declined for football generally and non-league football in particular, especially after the early 70s, the Bedford local papers started to devote less space than before to the Eagles. Reports became less detailed and team-lineups started to appear only spasmodically. Whereas in the 1950-67 era it was rare to find a report which failed to give the opposition lineup, now it became rare to find one which gave it. And as time went on it was more and more common to find reports which didn't even give the Eagles' lineup. Attendances were often omitted and sometimes opposition scorers were unnamed. When I consulted "opposition" newspapers to try to fill the gaps I found, in most cases, exactly the same thing happening there. No doubt the economic problems of the 70s meant that local papers' advertising revenues were in decline and so space became more costly. Printing or journalists' strikes also affected both Bedford and opposition papers from time to time, causing some matches to be unreported.
Where the Bedford papers didn't give an Eagles lineup I consulted the relevant opposition papers, which in some cases filled the gap. More often, however, at best this only gave me a definite opposition lineup, and at worst it gave neither. I have once again been greatly helped to fill the gaps by various club historians and occasionally by programmes including team changes, but even after that I'm afraid many gaps remain.
I decided, therefore, that in the interests of getting this part of the site up and running in a reasonable timescale, I would have to concentrate on Eagles lineups in preference to opposition ones, and major competitions, ie Southern League, SL Cup, FA Cup and FA Trophy matches in preference to minor ones such as Floodlit Leagues and local cups.
To put things into statistical context, in these seasons by my reckoning the Eagles played a total of 958 competitive matches. After my best efforts to find definitive Eagles lineups, I was left with 112 matches in all competitions in which this could not be done, of which 77 (just over 8% of the total) were in major competitions. Other club historians have the benefit of continuous club records. Unfortunately whatever records the old BTFC kept must have vanished years ago, and it seems to me that realistically, this is the best that can be done at present.
I have always tried to include opposition lineups as well-after all, without them there would have been no game!-but after all the steps mentioned above, there remain 462 matches -some 48% of the total-in which the opposition lineup is unknown for certain. If I was to spend time hunting all of these down, the task would stretch out for many more months, so again I have decided to publish what I've got.
Obviously I would love to be able to fill in all the gaps that remain, so if you can help with this please do contact me on david firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where I don't have a definite lineup (Eagles or opposition) I have -
Given the team printed in the match programme where available-this appears in the Results and Teams pages as Prog [BTFC] , Prog [opp]or Prog [both]
- Occasionally given the team scheduled to play in pre-match reports -this appears as Sched [BTFC], Sched [opp] or Sched [both]
- If such information isn't available, given the names of those mentioned in match reports. Such teams will appear with gaps in the lineups, and sometimes the positions occupied by the players named are not certain.
As a consequence of these gaps in the record-
- The BTFC appearance statistics for those who played in this period can't be regarded as 100% accurate. They are based on a combination of the known appearances plus those mentioned in programmes, scheduled teams and mentions in match reports. Bear in mind, however, that the degree of error for league and major cup matches will only be in the region of 8%, for the reasons given above. Also the bulk of the missing lineups are in the last few seasons, so the nearer to 1967 a player's career was, the more accurate his stats are likely to be.
- The goalscoring stats, however, are much more accurate, since only seven goals in the entire period are unattributed. Six of those were in a single match (v Stafford in the Midland Floodlit Competition at the end of 1971/2).
So, I can only apologise for the shortcomings of this section, but I've done my best. Enjoy.