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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 13:56 - Jan 20 with 825 viewswessex_exile

This one is a special for the Matches of Yesteryear series, as we step slightly outside the original concept of blogs related to my football memorabilia collection. I am delighted that our very own pwrightsknees approached me with an absolutely fantastic idea just before Christmas, and an idea that really deserves this specific slot in our football calendar. It is also particularly appropriate given the terrible coincidence that Martyn King sadly passed on Christmas Day, the all-time record league goal-scorer for the U’s with 130 goals (1959-64).

Colchester United v Bradford City
Saturday 30th December 1961
Division 4 (Tier 4)
Attendance 4,415


Match #38, and we go back to a time before I was even born (though I was on the way, arriving about eight months later). Danny Williams was no. 1 with his version of Mancini’s Moon River, a year before Andy Williams (no relation, obviously) made his own recording, and the Empire State building had just been sold for $65,000,000. The Vietnam War had officially started earlier in December, with the arrival of USS Core in Saigon Harbour, Marina Oswald and her husband Lee Harvey had been granted exit visas to travel to the US from Minsk, and on this actual day Ben “Billy the Whizz” Johnson was born (presumably drugs were involved?). In the world of football, their first season in the top-flight was going well for our country cousins at Portman Rd, who at the time were in 4th place.

As best as I can tell, Colchester United programmes for that season didn’t indicate which match was being played on the front cover, so I have shown a version I found on a Wrexham FC programme archive.



PWK will take it from here…

1961/62 was the U’s first in League Division 4, having been relegated from Division 3 the previous season. Although eventually finishing 2nd in the table behind Millwall, the season kicked up a mixture of results, suggesting that the U’s were far from dominant. This game took place just four days after the 4-1 Boxing Day defeat by Bradford City at Valley Parade (managed by Bob Brocklebank at the time), which left the U’s in 2nd place in the table behind Wrexham. At the turn of the year, most thought that Wrexham were the class team in the division, but they faded in the second half of the season, finishing only third, while Millwall became much more dominant and won the title by just 1 point from the U’s.

That 4-1 defeat to Bradford City was typical of the U’s away performances that season, with many (league) defeats by at least 3 goals. In addition to our battering at Bradford City, there were heavy defeats at Southport (3-0), York City (5-0), Mansfield Town (4-0), Tranmere Rovers (5-2), Chesterfield (4-1), Barrow (4-0), and Crewe Alexandra (4-0). The only defeats by less than 3 goals were (and I attended all four) at Gillingham (2-1), at home to Wrexham (2-4, and our only home defeat that season), at Millwall (2-0), and at Aldershot (1-0)

As for the match itself, Christmas had gone, and the New Year beckoned. It was a cold, grey day, and I had walked the mile and a quarter from my parents’ home just off the Mersea Road, along Circular Road South, through the barracks to Layer Road. My pals and I stood just to the right of the main stand with the Layer Road turnstiles further to the right. As far as I can remember, I took up my usual spot, halfway up, leaning on a crush barrier, and about level with the edge of the 18-yard box.

There were no changes to the team as printed in the programme:
Goalkeeper Percy Ames
2 Right Back - Tommy Millar
3 Left Back - John Fowler
4 Right half - Trevor Harris
5 Centre Half - Brian Abrey
6 Left Half - Ronnie Hunt (Capt.)
7 Outside Right - Mike Foster
8 Inside Right -Bobby Hill
9 Centre Forward - Martyn King
10 Inside Left - Bobby Hunt
11 Outside Left - Peter Wright

This was Benny Fenton’s (U’s Manager) preferred first eleven line up that season. No substitutes in those days, and proper numbers, i.e. no goalie number, then 2-11 on the outfield players and not squad numbers. Percy Ames, John Fowler, Bobby Hill, Martyn King, Bobby Hunt, and Peter Wright were U’s stalwarts over many seasons, but some names may seem unfamiliar, even to regular board readers.

Tommy Millar: Had been signed from Scottish non-league a couple of seasons previously and converted to attacking full-back. He scored a number of goals for the U’s but was also noted for being fierce in the tackle. Tommy had replaced Alan Eagles following his departure after Benny’s clear-out at the end of the relegation season. Tragically, Tommy’s year-old son had drowned in the garden and Tommy was released and returned to Scotland soon after this match.
Trevor “Chopper” Harris: Yes, we had a “Chopper Harris” a decade before the better-known Chelsea player. Colchester-born Chopper was an attacking wing-half, renowned for his aggressive playing style. Chopper had been promoted from the reserves the previous season to replace an out-of-form Derek Parker.

Brian Abrey: A new signing from Chelsea reserves in the close season to replace U’s stalwart Chic Milligan at centre-half, who had been released at the end of the relegation season. Brian was a strong centre-half, and a good footballer and passer of the ball. Sadly, a knee injury caused him to miss the last few games of the season and he was replaced by a young Duncan Forbes. The knee injury caused Brian to retire from football at the beginning of the following season.

Ronnie Hunt: U’s captain that season and elder brother of U’s hero Bobby. Colchester-born Ronnie was a defensive wing-half, tough in the tackle. He, too, had been promoted from the reserves in the previous season to replace an out-of-form Cyril “Squib” Hammond.

Mike Foster: A new signing from Leicester City reserves in the close season to replace the U’s hero Tommy Williams who had been released at the end of the relegation season. A pacey outside right who seemed to glide over the pitch, and who could deliver a good cross. He was sold to Norwich City at the end of the season for £3,000 + Roy McCrohan, but never played a first-team game for them.

The referee that day was Jim Finney, later an international referee with FIFA and who, at the end of the 1961/62 season, refereed the FA Cup Final between Spurs and Burnley (Spurs won 3-1). Finney had a somewhat colourful career. He is believed to be one of only five freemasons to have refereed an FA Cup final (of course, how would we know for certain), and it certainly broke with convention when Danny Blanchflower presented him with the match ball at the end of the final. He achieved international notoriety in 1963 when he abandoned the match between Scotland and Austria in the 79th minute, with Scotland winning 4-1 at the time. According to Finney, he called the game off for “persistent fouling”, with Horst Nemec already dismissed for spitting, and Erich Hof for a “diabolical tackle at waist-height”. Finney reported afterwards “I felt that I had to abandon the match or somebody would have been seriously hurt”.

We didn’t know any of that at the time of the U’s v Bradford City match, of course.

And so to the action:

The U’s kicked off towards the uncovered clock end. The ball went out to Mike Foster on the right wing. He took on the Bradford City full back and crossed the ball low. Bobby Hill nipped into the near post and scored - WITH HIS KNEE. The U’s were a goal up inside the first minute. The next quarter of the match was fairly even and uneventful. Then on 18 minutes, Tait scored an equaliser for Bradford City. Ten minutes later, Bobby Hunt scored to put the U’s 2-1 up and on 34 minutes Martyn King scored the U’s third, so at half-time the U’s led by a relatively modest scoreline of 3-1.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, the U’s sat comfortably on their two-goal lead. Then they put the match completely beyond doubt by scoring twice in rapid succession via Bobby Hunt (65 minutes) and Martyn King (68 minutes). 5-1 to the U’s, who were dominant now, and on 80 minutes we were awarded a penalty. Some in the crowd called for it to be taken by Percy Ames, who had had very little to do second half, but Bobby Hunt wanted every goal he could get so that he could remain in contention for the League’s top scorer. He duly despatched the penalty to put the U’s 6-1 up.

But the fun hadn’t finished yet. Bobby Hunt scored again a minute later (7-1), followed by two more from Martyn King (85 and 88 minutes), the U’s eventually running out 9-1 winners. Following Bobby Hill’s early goal, Bobby Hunt and Martyn King had then weighed in with four goals each.

Colchester United 9 (Bobby Hill 1’, Bobby Hunt 28’, 65’, 80’p, 81’, Martyn King 34’, 68’, 85’, 88’) Bradford City 1 (Barry Tait 18’)

Ipswich Town did not have a match that day and some of their players came to watch the U’s. Andy Nelson, the Ipswich captain, rather ungraciously suggested most of the goals had come from defensive mistakes rather than good play by the U’s. The comment infuriated Hal Mason the local reporter, and it should also be noted that a largely unchanged Bradford City defence only conceded three goals to Arsenal at Highbury the following week in their FA Cup match.

By the end of the season, top goal-scorer in the football league was Roger Hunt of Liverpool (then 2nd Division) with 41 goals. Bobby Hunt (4th Division) was runner-up alongside Cliff Holton of Watford and Northampton Town (3rd Division) with 37 goals each – Bobby obviously top scorer for Division 4. Top 1st Division scorers were Ray Crawford (Ipswich Town) and Derek Kevan (West Bromwich Albion) both with 33 goals each, with Ipswich winning the title in their first season in the top-flight.

The U’s finished one point behind champions Millwall, and were promoted straight back to Division 3 at the first time of asking, alongside Wrexham and Carlisle – Bradford City missed out by one point in 5th place. Doncaster Rovers, Hartlepools United and Chester finished in the relegation zone, but as was so often the case then, were all re-elected. Not so fortunate was Accrington Stanley, who after financial difficulties following the purchase of the new Burnley Road stand, were declared bankrupt and resigned from the league in March of that season.

As we all know, this remains our record win in the league, matched only by our 9-1 victory over Leamington in the 2005 FA Cup 1st round match. Only three players have ever scored four goals in a game for the U’s, Bobby Hunt and Martyn King in this game, and of course Chris Iwelumo against Phil Parkinson’s Hull City when we were in the Championship. In addition to his four goals here, Martyn King also jointly holds the record for scoring the most hat-tricks (five), shared with Arthur Pritchard, Arthur Turner and Tony Adcock. King was a magnificent footballer, and he will be sorely missed.



The expunging of Accrington Stanley’s results is part of U’s folklore, but a bit of a red herring as far as that season was concerned. Yes, it cost Bobby Hunt a goal in his chase for top scorer across all four divisions, but his namesake Roger Hunt (Liverpool, then remarkably in Division 2) would have won that anyway. Accrington’s demise did cost the U’s 4 points, and Millwall only 2 (they had only played Accrington Stanley once at the time), but Millwall would probably have won the second match anyway, and still finished a point above the U’s even if the Accrington results had stood.

Anyway, to finish, enjoy the delightful talent of “Britain’s Johnny Mathis” Danny Williams, no. 1 on the day we made history.



Up the U’s

Up the U's
Poll: How will we do in 2016/17
Blog: When Monday Comes #37

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 15:01 - Jan 20 with 813 viewsPinault_Noir

Thanks to both of you - loved every minute of that, brilliant in 0 degrees of French winter!
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 16:51 - Jan 20 with 802 viewsdurham_exile

Absolutely fascinating a brilliant read.
Thank you both very much.
I was 5 at the time and lived in London.

I would take another 9-1 home win tomorrow.
Weather has been bright sunny and very dry today.
UTU's

Durham_exile

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 17:37 - Jan 20 with 795 viewsgerry_us

Am proud to say I was there on the terrace, bl**dy cold and wet and singing my heart out with rest of the mad fans.."we want TEN". Yeah Yeah...I was 15
What a memory. Oh to have a Bobby Hunt and Martyn King lookalikes back at the club.
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 18:40 - Jan 20 with 785 viewspwrightsknees

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 17:37 - Jan 20 by gerry_us

Am proud to say I was there on the terrace, bl**dy cold and wet and singing my heart out with rest of the mad fans.."we want TEN". Yeah Yeah...I was 15
What a memory. Oh to have a Bobby Hunt and Martyn King lookalikes back at the club.


Brilliant, Gerry.

I had forgotten the "we want 10" chant. Unfortunately time ran out on us. If you've any additional memories to my own, I'd love to hear them.

I was 15, too, by the way.

Up the U's
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 18:47 - Jan 20 with 782 viewsghughes11

Thanks for this Wessex and PWK!

Poll: What was the main reason for the Col U win versus Carlisle?

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 18:55 - Jan 20 with 781 viewsbwildered

Great read, thanks guys. Hope nobody nobody left early to catch the No4 Colchester Corperation bus into town with four goals in the final ten minutes.
More insight in the King, Hunt combo please PWK .

Poll: Wales v Ukraine

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 22:12 - Jan 20 with 760 viewsgerry_us

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 18:40 - Jan 20 by pwrightsknees

Brilliant, Gerry.

I had forgotten the "we want 10" chant. Unfortunately time ran out on us. If you've any additional memories to my own, I'd love to hear them.

I was 15, too, by the way.

Up the U's


I can remember going to the match on the Osborne's match bus from Tollesbury. The bus was always parked right outside the ground in those days so straight on to the bus and home for a warm with the disappointment we had not made it TEN
I also remember it was bloody cold and wet, so much that I vacated the wobbly concrete terrace behind the goal where I normally stood at the clock end, and moved round to the covered stand on the lhs, the one with the cafe underneath and near the most unhygienic loo's I have ever seen. You know the ones! Water up to your ankles..

And still I prefer Layer Road to WHCS...
Same result tomorrow? I think not. McG does not have the nous of Benny Fenton
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 00:04 - Jan 21 with 750 viewswessex_exile

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 22:12 - Jan 20 by gerry_us

I can remember going to the match on the Osborne's match bus from Tollesbury. The bus was always parked right outside the ground in those days so straight on to the bus and home for a warm with the disappointment we had not made it TEN
I also remember it was bloody cold and wet, so much that I vacated the wobbly concrete terrace behind the goal where I normally stood at the clock end, and moved round to the covered stand on the lhs, the one with the cafe underneath and near the most unhygienic loo's I have ever seen. You know the ones! Water up to your ankles..

And still I prefer Layer Road to WHCS...
Same result tomorrow? I think not. McG does not have the nous of Benny Fenton


Aaah, the barside toilets, a thing to behold, but certainly not for the faint-hearted. I remember being told that the wonky Clock End terrace was built by Italian PoW's during the war - not sure if that's true, so grateful if anyone that can confirm?

Some of you already know, but I did my degree at Bradford, and stayed there for another five years after that. When I couldn't get to U's matches, I'd get my football fix on the Kop at Bradford City - first match was in '87 for Terry Dolan's first game as their manager against Oldham, and Bradford won 5-1. I remember filing out with the rest after the game, and as we came past the back of the Holywell Ash Lane end, where the Oldham fans were housed, some no-mark shouted down "Oi, where's the barbecue?". An old lad who was walking nearby me, just replied "alreet lads, how'd tha get on t'neet?". I saw more dignity in that one moment than I have ever seen before or since.
[Post edited 21 Jan 2020 0:33]

Up the U's
Poll: How will we do in 2016/17
Blog: When Monday Comes #37

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 16:43 - Jan 21 with 706 viewspwrightsknees

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 18:55 - Jan 20 by bwildered

Great read, thanks guys. Hope nobody nobody left early to catch the No4 Colchester Corperation bus into town with four goals in the final ten minutes.
More insight in the King, Hunt combo please PWK .


OK BW. I'll put something together. I'll have to ask you to be a bit patient, though. Family matters to attend to. Daughter has just had a hysterectomy at the weekend.

I suspect that Gerry will have some good input, too.

Up the U's (but I'm not expecting another 9-1 win tonight)
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 08:48 - Jan 22 with 690 viewsbwildered

Did not see the Hunt/ King / Wright years, so would be interesting to hear some stories from back in the day.
Have just read a autobiography regards Neil Franklin, who became U's manager, at the same time.

Best wishes in chores and support for the next few months .

Poll: Wales v Ukraine

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 13:59 - Jan 22 with 682 viewsgerry_us

If my memory serves me well Russell Blake was on the other wing for most of that era. I do remember he was most frustrating to watch because as soon as he received the ball he was headlong to the corner flag. Then he would make a decision on a cross if possible! In his defence a heck of a lot of Hunt/King goals emanated from balls from the wingers Wright and Blake. Would that we had that philosophy today of two centre forwards and two out and out wingers.
Also loved the fact that the team played with no.2 to 11. Oh these were the days. Unfortunately it wont be long before players in the premier have shirts with 100+ numbers.
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 14:41 - Jan 22 with 677 viewsburnsieespana

Thank you guys for bringing back memories of an unforgettable game.
Like gerry I was 15 years old, walked to the ground from Scarletts Rd in Old Heath where I lived.
Yes it was a freezing day and damp. Personally after our battering a few days before had little hopes of even a win!
Used to stand roughly adjacent to the 18 yard box in the stand at the clock end which is pretty much where I stood at Layer Rd from first going as a 10 year old with my father until the last but one game as was away on business for the final game so went to watch the reserve game which was the last game played by a Colchester team at the ground.
Now what would we give for a couple of goal scorers like Hunt & King. Think of the transfer value.
Always felt Johnny Fowler the most cultured full back we ever had and he came down from Scotland from Bonnyrigg Rose who my two stepdaughter support, as their father, is Chairman. When I told him about Johnny Fowler, something he did not know he gave me a rare badge much to the envy of my stepdaughter!
Mention of Russel Blake reminds me my friends and I at the time always thought he would either put in a great cross for the Hunt/King combo or hit the corner flag.
[Post edited 22 Jan 2020 14:44]
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 16:42 - Jan 22 with 656 viewsgerry_us

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 14:41 - Jan 22 by burnsieespana

Thank you guys for bringing back memories of an unforgettable game.
Like gerry I was 15 years old, walked to the ground from Scarletts Rd in Old Heath where I lived.
Yes it was a freezing day and damp. Personally after our battering a few days before had little hopes of even a win!
Used to stand roughly adjacent to the 18 yard box in the stand at the clock end which is pretty much where I stood at Layer Rd from first going as a 10 year old with my father until the last but one game as was away on business for the final game so went to watch the reserve game which was the last game played by a Colchester team at the ground.
Now what would we give for a couple of goal scorers like Hunt & King. Think of the transfer value.
Always felt Johnny Fowler the most cultured full back we ever had and he came down from Scotland from Bonnyrigg Rose who my two stepdaughter support, as their father, is Chairman. When I told him about Johnny Fowler, something he did not know he gave me a rare badge much to the envy of my stepdaughter!
Mention of Russel Blake reminds me my friends and I at the time always thought he would either put in a great cross for the Hunt/King combo or hit the corner flag.
[Post edited 22 Jan 2020 14:44]


George Fisher and Johnny Fowler were our bestest full back combination ever, and with Percy Ames behind them it is such a disappointment that we did not do better than we did in late 50's and early 60's.
Part of our limited success however was always a decent crowd, Circa 8/9,000 at Layer Road. It always an intimidating place to come for visiting clubs as many of the Championship teams found during our brilliant two seasons up with the Toffs. Unfortunately WHCS or whatever they call it now does not have the same "atmosphere" and consequently does not give us the benefit that Layer Road definitely provided us with..
This is beginning to sound like the "good ol days" and perhaps it does; no apologies from me though.
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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 23:23 - Jan 22 with 639 viewsmfb_cufc

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 13:59 - Jan 22 by gerry_us

If my memory serves me well Russell Blake was on the other wing for most of that era. I do remember he was most frustrating to watch because as soon as he received the ball he was headlong to the corner flag. Then he would make a decision on a cross if possible! In his defence a heck of a lot of Hunt/King goals emanated from balls from the wingers Wright and Blake. Would that we had that philosophy today of two centre forwards and two out and out wingers.
Also loved the fact that the team played with no.2 to 11. Oh these were the days. Unfortunately it wont be long before players in the premier have shirts with 100+ numbers.


Russell Blake was just before my time of watching the U's, but a similar player I remember from the late 60's was Jim Oliver. He was a right winger whose one move was also to go headlong to the corner flag. I always remember when he went on one of his runs my dad saying "open the gates and let him out".

mfb

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Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 11:28 - Jan 23 with 628 viewsPinault_Noir

Matches of Yesteryear Special - U's v Bradford City 30/12/61 on 23:23 - Jan 22 by mfb_cufc

Russell Blake was just before my time of watching the U's, but a similar player I remember from the late 60's was Jim Oliver. He was a right winger whose one move was also to go headlong to the corner flag. I always remember when he went on one of his runs my dad saying "open the gates and let him out".


I recall Oliver well Mick. Once with the crowd already moaning at his corner flag runs after just two minutes, he managed somehow to get in a difficult steeling slow cross parallel with the goalline and it may have been Peter Bullock who nodded in what was a 2-0 lead after two minutes v Walsall. We won 5-1.
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