Discussion in 'The Golden Years' started by Stevohorn, Feb 24, 2019.
Was at that game. Jesus it was cold....
Stuart Scullion was brilliant and infuriating at the same time, not content with beating someone once he would always check back and then have a go at beating them two or even three times, after he finished his football career spent 25 years or so as a baggage handler for British Airways! He was however our best player in the early 70's!
On this day 50 years ago-the 3rd/4th FA Cup play offs (abandoned as a "competition" 4 years later)
After being at the semi i went to this-seemed a bit odd at the time standing in the huge Northbank watching us play Man United
No pictures of game only the programme
Ken Furphy another player and manager from the North East who left a mark at Watford FC along with Sunderland boys Wilf Rostron and Gary Porter and Smoggie Mooney. Furphy took the team to the second division on the 1968/69 season winning the title on goal difference from Swindon Town while perennial derby rivals Luton Town finished third. The team played an attacking brand of football that saw 74 goals scored equalled only by that lot down the road.
The team also went on a stirring FA Cup run. It saw a draw at Old Trafford in the fourth road with a score of 1-1. Furphy favourite Stewart Scullion scoring with Denis Law equalizing. The Red Devils also fielded Charlton and Best so the result was an excellent on. The replay was initially pencilled in for Wednesday the 29th January but as you can see below a waterlogged pitch put paid to that. After a 3-0 away win at Tranmere Rovers the delayed fourth round replay was played on Monday the second of February resulting in a 2-0 defeat both goals scored by Law in front of 34000 fans.
A right back as a player Furphy died from dementia in 2015 perhaps another victim of the heavy balls used when he played. A year on and again in the FA Cup Watford beat Liverpool 1-0. His contribution to the club should never be forgotten.
A reminder in that photo of what a low rake the Rookery had compared with other terracing of the day. The view from it wasn’t great.
This is from slightly before my time, but do you know who that is forking the pitch next to Les Simmons?
That is dear Les of course WWTW but I have no idea who his assistant forking the pitch is as it is also well before my time. Perhaps Stevo will know ?
Two former players. One well known the other father of a well known Watford playing son. Can you guess who it is ?
Pat Jennings joined Watford from Newry Town with the side in the Third Division. He backstopped the team with his enormous hands to just a win away from promotion beaten to the line by Coventry City managed by Jimmy Hill and Crystal Palace. He only played a season for us such was his quality and assured handling no doubt helped by his schooling in Gaelic football catching under the high ball. He made his international debut with the great George Best in the spring of 1964. He moved to Tottenham that summer becoming a club legend there before crossing the North London divide to Arsenal. He made a record number of appearances for Northern Ireland turning out in the 1986 World Cup and was in goal when Josimar rifled a long shot past him. However he is the only goalkeeper I think who has won Player of the Year and PFA player of the year award and is one of the greats in that position.
Who is this ?
Pat Jennings lining up before Watford take on Mansfield Town on Saturday the 3rd of August 1963:
I’m thinking that’s Kenny’s dad, Frank Jackett.
Indeed it is.
The season when the club came second to Bob Paisley's Liverpool and where Brighton denied a last minute FA Cup winner were relegated with Swansea and Manchester City. Luther scored prolifically and the squad are shown in relaxed fashion with owner Elton John on a truck manufactured by the club sponsors Italian truck builders IVECO.
The good times come to an end as God leaves and is replaced by Wimbledon manager Dave Bassett. John Barnes had been sold but in his wisdom Bassett sold several other core players while players like Trevor Senior did a Moralee. Results saw him ushered to the exit in January of 1988. Here he is in happier times with Elton at the RAC club in London in May 1987 after being revealed as the replacement to God. A difficult task and ultimately no one has replicated. John Ward would have been a better choice and provided the continuity needed that is always required when a giant figure leaves a club. Elton made the choice and like his attempt to bring Bobby Moore to the club it was a wrong one.
I’ve always thought when a club has a long period of stability under one manager (less likely these days) it requires a ‘fall guy’ to take over and be sacked before the club can reset. We’ve seen it happen in recent times with Man U and Arsenal. Ours was Bassett but unfortunately he did so much damage it took years for us to really recover.
After the heady success of finishing second in the First Division Watford paid an international visit to China. Then still very much a closed country and far away from being anywhere near the nation it is now. Nonetheless the relaxations in the wake of Mao's death and the Cultural Revolution that had seen many sports banned meant feelers were being put out by the Chinese to footballing nations. And the possibilities of a new Chinese market in which to sell goods and services was more than alluring for many Western companies.
A wonderful article on the tour and the relevant photographs as well.
God and Elton in the Forbidden City at the tomb of Mao:
Back to more domestic matters. The 1978-79 season saw Taylor take the team to the second division finishing behind champions Shrewsbury despite recording more wins and being the leagues top scorers with 83. A tally only equalled by Swansea who finished third and were also promoted. The team also went on an impressive League Cup campaign that was ended by Clough's Nottingham Forest the eventual winners with a 3-1 aggregate loss over two legs. Clough was himself impressed by the attacking verve displayed by the Hornets and very complimentary to Taylor.
During the run the team travelled to Old Trafford in the Third Round. A reminder of the days when Scottish players were readily found in the top flight, half the Manchester United squad were Scots and toothless Joe Jordan indeed opened the scoring. Only for a twenty year old Luther Blissett to win the tie with two goals narrated by the incomparable Barry Davies.
Luther had a fantastic season in that Third Division promotion campaign, bagging 21 goals in 41 matches. Here he is pictured the day after the match with an unsurprisingly broad grin (Friday the fifth of May) with a Ladbrokes betting board that clearly shows how few expected the Golden Boys to get a result.
Ken Furphy's team talk before 3rd division watford draw against European champions Manchester United in the 1969 fa cup 4th round.
A heavy police presence in Cardiff Road after the visit of Chelsea. The game itself was a disappointing 3-1 defeat. All the goals were scored at the very end of each half. Luther opening the scoring only for Kerry Dixon to equalize with John McClelland scoring an own goal at the very end of the game followed by David Speedie the red headed terror of the Bridge adding a third as Watford sought to equalize.
A shot of Vicarage Road still very much a greyhound track despite Taylor's objections and Les Simmons delight. Pretty ramshackle with glass bottles inserted at the top of the walls to discourage non paying spectators, but Watford were on the up riding high at the top of the Fourth Division with 14 wins and just 4 defeats.
Happy days are here again. Local lad Paul Robinson scored the opening goal on Valentines Day 1998 against the old foes and team he had made his debut against two years previously. Look at the elation. Watford nonetheless marched onto the Division Two title ahead of Bristol City after God had once again taken the reins. A firm fans favourite his impetuosity was a weakness.
The fourteenth of April 1984 saw Watford reach the FA Cup final for the first time but only after overcoming stiff resistance from Plymouth Argyle team two divisions below. George Reilly of course scored the only goal of the game after a pin perfect cross from Barnes. He had already scored a peach of a goal against Birmingham in the previous round. Video contribution is possibly from our very own HappyHornet.
Reilly was a giant of a striker an earlier version of a Darius Henderson. Often told by Taylor to rough up the opposition goalkeeper in the first few minutes. Born in Coatbridge he moved to the Scottish enclave of Corby (there being the steelworks plant which had attracted many Scottish steelworkers to settle there). Great friends with compatriot Maurice Johnston the affable Reilly is now facing a battle against early onset dementia. He also cites the numerous blows to head, concussions and heading the ball as a contributory fact. I am sure we all wish him the best against this horrendous condition in which he is being supported by the Astle Foundation.
Good luck Big George. His goal in the semi was a key moment in Watford’s history.
Two highly talented wingers. And two players who went on to join Sheffield United. One becoming a club legend for the Blades the other coming back home to become a folk hero. Scullion was another in the long line of tricky nimble footed wingers that used to be produced on a regular basis from the cramped streets of towns in Alba in his case Bo'ness on the coast. Signed by Ken Furphy to replace another legend with Scully coming from Charlton and Cliff Holton going the other way.
Scullion scored some memorable and vital goals for the club before leaving none more so than one at Old Trafford. A Deulofeu before even his parents were a twinkle in Gerards grandparents eyes.
Currie pictured above in the 1967/68 season on a cold February Saturday before a 3-2 win over Barrow (now resurgent in the National League) was signed by Frank Grimes. Was he related in any way to William Grimes who turned out for the club in the noughties of the twentieth century ? Grimes moved Currie from left back where he had struggled in the Fulham and Chelsea youth teams to left wing. A slight lad he was probably influenced by the antics of George Best and displayed considerable flair. Ken Furphy had no hesitation in putting him into the first team and his performances soon saw him called up to the England u23 team and attracting interest from clubs up in the pyramid. His pin point crosses resulted in Barry Dyson becoming top scorer for Watford that season. Dyson left at the end of that season replaced by Barry Endean and never repeated his scoring exploits which shows the service to a striker is so very important.
Watford were beaten by the Blades in the FA Cup 3rd round late in January just a week before this picture of Currie was taken. The clubs had already agreed a fee of £27000 in the summer of 1967 but the transfer was dependent for some bizarre reason on Watford being knocked out of the subsequent FA Cup. Having done the deed Currie went to Bramall Lane and became a fixture there during his playing career alongside another old boy Keith Eddy who replaced him as captain and subsequent retirement working in the community.
Bert Slater was goalkeeper at Watford for three seasons from 1965 to 1969 until replaced by Mike Walker. SStocky and short for a keeper he achieved success with Falkirk and Dundee but never ever quite made it to the top rank of keepers. He did play for Liverpool for three seasons twice in the old second Division and an important part of the team that won promotion under the manager that signed him Bill Shankly so he was more than decent and participated in Dundee's epic run in the European Cup when they reached the semi-final stage in 1963.
Here he is in a preseason friendly on the 14th of August 1965 when the Hornets were in Division Three and ended up in mid table obscurity. And followed by an equally diminutive keeper taking some time off touring the world in 1974 to drop in at Vicarage Road to participate in a team training session.
Pre-season photographs from 1966 and 1960:
Sammy Chung now aged eighty eight and an Oxford lad played most of his career with Watford as a striker but not a prolific one. Living in West Watford he used to work with schools in the local area and took his coaching vocation with him joining up with Bill McGarry his former manager at Ipswich. The duo took the Tractor Boys into the top flight and they worked their magic at Wolverhampton Wanderers as well by repeating the feat.and then securing a League Cup win in 1974. Chung had success on his own as well after relegation led the Wolves board to relieve McGarry of his duties. At his first attempt Chung took the side back into Division One but two seasons later an incredibly poor start to the season saw him following in the footsteps of McGarry. Thereafter he moved onto a string of coaching jobs even in his late seventies.
Terry Garbett now aged seventy five was a skilled midfielder for the Hornets. Born in Yorkshire he played alongside Howard Kendall in schoolboy football where his goal scoring prowess saw him move to Middlesbrough as a teenager. After struggling to get into the first team on Teeside Ken Furphy liked what he saw and brought Terry to Watford. Great at breaking into the box and maintaining his knack of finding the back of the net Terry was a vital part of the team that ascended to the second tier of English football.
His obvious ability and Watford's financial issues saw him sold to Blackburn Rovers before he was reunited with Furphy at Sheffield United. With age catching up on him Terry exchanged Bushey for the NY metropolis to play for the NY Cosmos in the ill fated NASL alongside Pele. After the circus ended without any real positive benefit to American soccer Terry stayed on in America and still lives there.