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unsworth blue

1974/75 Memories - mixing it with the big boys - Part 1

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1974/75 season saw me get my first season ticket in my own right at Latics - a junior season ticket in my beloved Chaddy End. I had previously held a season ticket in the Main Stand for part of the 1972/73 season, donated by George McVitie to my grandad at Oldham Greyhound track (no idea why) anyway this was my own.

The pre-season warrants a mention too as Latics played in the Texaco Cup against Sheffield United (Home) and Blackpool and Man City (both away), little old Oldham up against 3 teams who had all been in Division 1 since 1970 whilst we had been scratching round in Division 4. We hammered the Blades 4-0 at home with Ronnie Blair scoring twice and there were some off-the-field shenanigans in the Chaddy as some drunken Yorkies came in singing "Tony, Tony Currie" and were met with a welcoming committee of Latics herberts. In that competition, teams got an extra point for scoring 3 or more goals in any game so we set off with 3 points to Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night. Latics come away with a 2-1 win and rounded off the pre-season with a 1-2 defeat at Maine Road against Man City, Grovesey put Latics in front but we succumbed to an 89th minute winner. 5 points from 3 difficult games was sufficient for the mighty Blues to progress to the Quarter final stage where we drawn against Heart of Midlothian in a two-legged tie commencing in September.

To the league and Latics were strongly fancied for an automatic return to Division 3 as there were some monster clubs in our league who had fallen on hard times, not least our big City neighbours Manchester United. We started at home to Sheffield Wednesday and  I turned up on the day with season ticket in hand and was faced with loads of herberts sitting on top of the Chaddy End wall peering threateningly at new arrivals. To my horror I realised they were bloody Yorkshiremen, hordes of piggin Wednesdayites in the Chaddy, lots of them skinheads. I have no idea what time they had arrived in the ground but they had taken the Chaddy and Latics never managed to stage a recovery all day. On to the game, it started badly on the pitch as well, Wednesday won a penalty and Scottish midfielder Tommy Craig stuck it away for a 1-0 lead. The unwashed were resplendent in chanting "Now you're going to believe us, we are going to win the league" (they couldn't be more wrong, they finished bottom lol). Latics fought back and Garwood & McNeil scored goals to send home fans home happy. I remember some Latics fans taking up position in the Chaddy and singing "Sheffield Tuesday"  but they were met with fists and feet and their recovery was shortlived. An opening away day defeat followed at Meadow Lane and then Bristol City turned up at Latics but were duly despatched 2-0. Their keeper was a lad called Ray Cashley who had a wonderful Mexican style moustache, not a bad keeper but a hairy faced one. Latics then made it 2 defeats from 2 on their travels with a 1-0 setback at the Manor Ground before we beat our Lancashire neighbours Blackpool at home 1-0. After this the Jambos (Hearts) turned up for the Texaco Cup Quarter final and there was an almighty rumpus on the Chaddy that night. There were hordes of drunken Scots there (any opportunity for a time out of Scotland) and it was pandemonium. "Action Man" George Jones fired home the winner for Latics and we maintained an aggregate lead with a creditable draw at Tynecastle in the second leg. Two away draws at Hull City (George Jones last minute leveller) and Portsmouth (Alan Young first goal for the boys) left us midtable and then we hosted Fulham and were treated to a riproaring spectacle which was settled by a great own-goal by the finest player ever to notch an OG at Oldham - none other than Bobby Moore (England's World Cup winning captain from 1966) What a start - 4 home wins on the spin (not seen that for many a year in the modern era). Our first home defeat was a last minute winner by Ray Graydon for Villa (1-2) and this set off a slump in results which determined that this would be a season of struggle rather than the early results promised. We beat Notts County 1-0 at home but then followed a reversal to our friends York City (2-3) and home draws  with Millwall and Norwich. The away form struggled to get any momentum and reverses followed at Cardiff, Nottingham Forest, Southampton and West Brom (the latter 3 all been established in League 1 as lately as 1970. Latics had by this stage exited the Texaco Cup 5-2 on aggregate to Southampton (1-3 at home and 1-2 at the Dell) which put paid to a potential Cup on the sideboard at the Home of British football. December started with a shock home defeat to Bristol Rovers (3-4) which left the faithful concerned for our future as now both teams who came up with us left the virtually impregnable Boundary Park with the points. As our away form was desperate, things were looking bleak and maybe the bookies expectations of a season of struggle were going to be proved right.  A decent point at Hillsborough was gained and then mighty Sunderland racked up at Boundary Park the week before Christmas with a massive travelling army of knobheads. It was a bit like the Sheffield Wednesday debacle on  the opening day of the season - I have no idea what time they turned up but the Chaddy was a sea of Red and White. The Latics fans were stationed at the bottom of the Chaddy and at some stage in the first half (might have been half time), the stewards opened the gates to allow Latics fans to access safer areas of the Ford Stand Paddock. This resulted in the Wearsiders surging forward and Latics fans scurrying to safety. An act of spite and totally uncalled for, those at the gates were either younger children or non-aggressive adults who posed no threat to the simpletons who wanted to attack them. Boxing Day defeat followed at Blackpool (1-0) and then the game that all at the club were waiting for, Manchester United visited their lovely little neighbours on Saturday 28 December 1974. A crowd of 26,384 swelled the Boundary Park coffers and I expect at least half were supporting the Red shite. The Chaddy End was full of bloody Reds, Latics seemed to have both sides. The game itself - Ronnie Blair headed home after 10 minutes, the ball hit the stanchion and rebounded to safety, Alex Stepney United goalie watched on as the referee and linesman ruled play on, neither had seen the ball behind the goal line. Its hard enough beating top of the league without the Reds having the  assistance of the officials! Stuart Pearson who was United's talisman striker rounded Chris Ogden and then hit the post - an escape..... Latics were awarded a 68th minute penalty and Maurice Whittle powered home the spotkick and Latics were amazingly 1-0 up!!! This bloody shower had been Champions of Europe in 1968, were past their best but were sadly on the return. They had the biggest crowds in the country, the hated Red Army ran amok everywhere they went and little old Oldham were beating them 1-0!!! I can't recall whether United put us under siege after the goal but I expect they couldn't have been too much on top as I am sure I would have remembered it. Latics saw it out - we had beaten the bloody Reds and registered a first win since October 15th in a bid to survive our first season in the big league since 1954.  Part 2 to follow ……………..

                                                            

Edited by unsworth blue
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Remember that day when Wednesday arrived early and took the Chaddy clearly..I was a snotty nosed 8 year old and I was terrified. It was definitely a "WTF!!" moment going through the turnstiles and seeing them waiting.
Running battles from left to right of the Chaddy most of the game. Used to sit on the wall on the front behind goal (or as near to behind) and I just seem to remember watching behind me more than the game.
First ever away game (that I can remember anyway) was at Oxford Utd in Sept '74. Lost 1-0. For some odd reason, my Dad decided to watch from the home end (we were down that area visiting family friends, so maybe they came along and it was decided that was to be?)
When they scored, I remember some bloke running up to me and flicking the V's at me in my face! I was probably the only one with a blue and white scarf in that stand, so I was asking for it I suppose.
Weirdly I can't remember any football moments. Its moments of tension and fear that sticks with me from the early days. 

Edited by johnny punkster

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22 minutes ago, johnny punkster said:

Remember that day when Wednesday arrived early and took the Chaddy clearly..I was a snotty nosed 8 year old and I was terrified. It was definitely a "WTF!!" moment going through the turnstiles and seeing them waiting.
Running battles from left to right of the Chaddy most of the game. Used to sit on the wall on the front behind goal (or as near to behind) and I just seem to remember watching behind me more than the game.
First ever away game (that I can remember anyway) was at Oxford Utd in Sept '74. Lost 1-0. For some odd reason, my Dad decided to watch from the home end (we were down that area visiting family friends, so maybe they came along and it was decided that was to be?)
When they scored, I remember some bloke running up to me and flicking the V's at me in my face! I was probably the only one with a blue and white scarf in that stand, so I was asking for it I suppose.
Weirdly I can't remember any football moments. Its moments of tension and fear that sticks with me from the early days. 

Was definitely different in the day Johnny.... 1974/75 was a real learning curve for me, hadn't really seen much trouble at Boundary Park before other than Bolton (everytime they came) and Blackburn and Burnley the year before. Also Latics more or less ruled the roost (or so it appeared) in the third season in Division 3 and were taking massive away followings to the likes of York and Southport. Now we were up against big City established clubs with much bigger followings than we had - Sheffield Wednesday, Forest, Sunderland, Villa, West Brom, Man United and also established Lancashire rivals Bolton and Blackpool. Was only when we played York, Orient and Notts County (although from a big City) that we had more "lads" than they did. I became quite streetwise by the end of the season, knew always to have my wits about me and its deserved me quite well throughout the next 20 years or so - no need these days as am far too old lol

            

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I vividly remember the Scottish lunatics full of "heavy" and dishing it out, there were times in this season that i genuinely feared for my own safety. As you say you learn to keep your wits about you.

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56 minutes ago, disjointed said:

I vividly remember the Scottish lunatics full of "heavy" and dishing it out, there were times in this season that i genuinely feared for my own safety. As you say you learn to keep your wits about you.

Remember that night? as I took my 8 year old brother who was petrified in the Chaddy.

Sat him on a barrier towards the left hand side and proceeded an abortive attempt to look "hard" ( well out of character ) before moving to the paddock. It was quite a few games before he consented to attend again and has blamed me ever since for his ill fated obsession.

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On 6/25/2019 at 12:53 PM, disjointed said:

I vividly remember the Scottish lunatics full of "heavy" and dishing it out, there were times in this season that i genuinely feared for my own safety. As you say you learn to keep your wits about you.

 

On 6/25/2019 at 2:05 PM, Bobledgersheart said:

Remember that night? as I took my 8 year old brother who was petrified in the Chaddy.

Sat him on a barrier towards the left hand side and proceeded an abortive attempt to look "hard" ( well out of character ) before moving to the paddock. It was quite a few games before he consented to attend again and has blamed me ever since for his ill fated obsession.

 

It's a bit of a myth this "hard scotsmen" image. Honestly, they are no "harder" than anybody else!

 

It's just that a lot of people automatically believe the myth.

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1 hour ago, wiseowl said:

 

 

It's a bit of a myth this "hard scotsmen" image. Honestly, they are no "harder" than anybody else!

 

It's just that a lot of people automatically believe the myth.

Not saying they're "harder" than anyone else but with an 8 year old I thought it best to avoid confrontation !

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The Scottish fans were the bigger hooligans in those days Wiseowl,  they turned up in massive numbers at Wembley and you could hardly see any England fans there. Also Rangers caused trouble in Barcelona in the 1973 Cup Winners Cup Final and had turned Newcastle over in 1969 Fairs Cup. England became the bigger exponents of trouble in the mid- to-late 70s. You are right though, they are no harder than anybody else, never were.

   

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18 hours ago, unsworth blue said:

The Scottish fans were the bigger hooligans in those days Wiseowl,  they turned up in massive numbers at Wembley and you could hardly see any England fans there. Also Rangers caused trouble in Barcelona in the 1973 Cup Winners Cup Final and had turned Newcastle over in 1969 Fairs Cup. England became the bigger exponents of trouble in the mid- to-late 70s. You are right though, they are no harder than anybody else, never were.

   

Agree - I lost all respect for the jocks when Rangers rioted in Manchester a few years back - I intervened when a group of them were terrorising a lone female (trying to turn her car over whilst she was in it). Low life pricks the lot of them (or they certainly were that night).

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