Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
unsworth blue

1974/75 Memories - mixing it with the big boys - Part 2

Recommended Posts

1974 had been a tremendous year for Latics - a wonderful 10 match winning sequence in January - March 1975, a wonderfully productive Easter, catching runaway leaders Bristol Rovers and lifting the Third Division Championship in May. Starting in the second tier of English football for the first time in 20 years, winning our first 4 home games before a bad run but culminating in beating our illustrious neighbours Man United in December 1974.

 

So what of 1975? Would it be a quick return to the third division for Jimmy Frizzell's doughty fighters or would they survive a wretched away record and stay afloat in the bigger league for more than one season for the first time since 1930?

 

Latics first fixture in 1975 was a home FA Cup tie against high flying Aston Villa who had already won at the home of British football in October. They won that game with a last minute winner but Latics were no match for them in the cup and lost 0-3, a quick return to cup walks after the glamour of 1973/74 cup run.  Our poor away form continued with a 1-2 defeat at Bristol Rovers before West Brom racked up at Boundary Park and left with a goalless scoreline.  Latics went back to the Dell, in the league this time, but come away with a 0-1 defeat.  One win in 15 since October had left Latics in jeopardy but two home wins on the spin, against Nottingham Forest 2-0 and our hated neighbours Bolton 1-0 gave Latics some hope of avoiding the drop.

 

Draws against Millwall away and Southampton at home were satisfactory outcomes but two away defeats at Norwich (0-1) and Bristol City (1-3) left OAFC in peril once more. Portsmouth were the next visitors to Boundary Park in a real 4-pointer but proved no match for Latics  (Robins and Groves). A great away point at high flying Fulham was wasted by dropping a home point in a 1-1 draw with Oxford United (Ray Treacy scoring his only goal for Latics with a diving header). A tough looking Tuesday night away fixture at Sunderland followed and expectation was low as the Rokerites were vying for promotion.  But Latics put up a wonderfully spirited fight and returned home after sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw (George McVitie scoring both). In typical Latics fashion, we followed up with a 0-1 reversal to unfancied Hull City and the relegation trapdoor was opening again. Easter Monday featured  a trip to Old Trafford to face runaway leaders Man United. I am not sure how many Latics fans made the trip as in those days, anyone wearing the other team's colours were targets for the hooligans and United had a vast number of those in their ranks. I sat in the Scoreboard Stand seats with my cousin, Uncle and his mate - could have done with Mr Mellor (1973/74 hero v Burnley lol)….where was he? Anyway Latics gave a grea account of themselves on the pitch, United scored first, Latics replied and it wasn't until 20 minutes from the end that Steve Coppell (United signing from Tranmere) appeared to make it safe at 3-1 after Macari had punched in a second in a goalmouth scramble. The referee (as often happens at the bigger clubs) chose to turn a blind eye and the goal stood. Even at 3-1, Latics had the tenacity to grab a second and should have had a penalty when Ian Robins lobbed the keeper and was following it in until Sammy McIlroy barged him from behind and his momentum took him off the pitch at the Scoreboard End. The linesman and referee saw it that Robins must have fouled McIroy from in front of him and instead of a penalty, awarded a free kick to United. I can't recall feeling overly threatened in the seats and did celebrate wildly when we scored but outside was different. We were parked at White City about 5 minutes from OT and there were hordes of Northern Soul- type tartan scarf clad wankers looking for away fans. I recall seeing two fellas in sheepskin coats (must have been in their 30s?) with one having a massive gash in his eye with blood bellowing out. One said to the other "Good job we didn't fucking win isn't it?". Memory stays with me forever.

 

We were still not safe, we had to host Cardiff City in a must-win 4-pointer and on the day, Latics were unstoppable. They were 3-0 up in no time, aided and abetted by Cardiff goalkeeper Bill Irwin who had terrible day spilling easy shots into his net. I shouted at him from the Chaddy End and was amazed when he turned to me and smiled and held his back mimicking his having a bad back after keep picking the ball out of the net. There was a large army of Welsh on the Chaddy and I was aware that there was some crowd trouble but amazingly it didn't seem to register with me (seemed to be every week lol). The week after, I went to Aston Villa on Barlows (my first trip on Barlows - soon to become a regular part of awaydays). Me (a 13 year old) and Coop (12 year old) going into a 35,000 stadium full of mad Brummies with crap accents. We stopped at the services and I recall about 7 latics coaches of lads (one had a flag "One of Oldham's chosen few) - I thought that's me - I am one of them, for better for worse, for crap and poorer... I was to visit a tatooist several years later to have this on my arm but couldn't afford the cost and never had it done. We got to Villa Park, Latics fans were like peas on a drum, Villa were everywhere. We made the error of paying in and finding out we were at the Holte End - like the bloody Stretford End but bigger!!! Discretion being the better part of valour, we took our leave and paid in to the Blue Seat Paddock (55p all told I think - a princely sum) but at least we were relatively safe. On the pitch, Latics got a mauling, Brian Little got a hat-trick and we lost 5-0, our only spot of cheer was when Chris Ogden saved a Little penalty. Safety arrived at home to Orient the following Saturday when a John Jackson masterclass stopped the O's from a right battering but Millwall and Cardiff failed to win and so Latics survived. The  last game of the season was at Bootham Crescent against our old friends York City and thousands  of Latics fans made the pilgrimage. The behaviour of fans in those days was awful and everywhere you went you saw hordes of Latics fans urinating in the streets and generally being a nuisance. Another draw left Latics winless away from home all season but their 8 draws along with 10 home wins and 7 draws was sufficient for Latics to keep their heads above water and survive.

 

The team were challenging all season and only had one real mauling (Villa away) but a lack of goals kept us in jeopardy and you'd say it was a rock solid defence and a quality home record that kept us up. in 42 games we only scored 40 but only conceded 48. Robins was our top scorer with 9 goals. The crowds were generally 10,000+ (18 of 21 games) and often were 14,000+. The levels of away support were massive in comparison to what we had seen before but as I stated, we were now amongst the big boys and learning how to compete against teams with much better players, much bigger budgets and massive grounds.

The best player - well all of them deserve a mention - the defence was immense, Ogden was an ever-present in goal, Graham Bell looked like a star in the making in midfield (England manager Revie came to see him against Bolton in his third game such was his influence in the games). Hicks was a revalation at centre half although no one seemed to rate him. Alan Young arrived this season, Grovesey was a great talent and did well against some top defences and Blair, Robins and Jones were regulars.

 

If a Latics side of the last 10 seasons had shown the same level of desire and application, no one would ever moan. Those days are gone now but this team were giants of men to young lads of my age who were committed to the cause. Loved them then, love them today - 45 years later.                                                                                      

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well put Unsworth, heroes every one of them, the game has moved on but the team spirit is something that we rarely see nowadays. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks Disjointed & Longtime Blue - think I am harbouring after my past, my comfort zone... I recall these games like they were yesterday...possibly says more about me than OAFC     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Been out with my son tonight (he was born in 1994) and we talked long and hard about Latics and its value to us as fans. I meant to mention in the 1974/5 season a recollection that a Sheffield Wednesday fan couldn't live with the fact that they had been relegated to the old Division 3 and so decided to take his own life. I am surprised I can't recall the lad's name but emotions in football are raw and it was never meant to be that football was as important to fans as that. I have always loved Latics and always will but its important to keep it all in perspective.     

Edited by unsworth blue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ta for that and the previous chapters unsworth some fantastic memorys vividly brought back of my ten year old self perched a close to the goal as possible on the wall of the chaddy watching the running battles swating to and fro accross the chaddy .the sunderland one sticks out as particulaly active .wasnt allowed to go to the Manure home game due to the yob ellement that preceded them but do remember giving Bobby Moore some fearsome stick after his screamer of an og v fulham happy memories of football with my late dad my brother and friends playing guess the crowd as we walked down sheepfoot lane .the scarf & rosette seller half way down commerative programme with a huge silver cup on the front for the texaco cup semi final .my first night game at latics .heady days and memories 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, peanuts said:

ta for that and the previous chapters unsworth some fantastic memorys vividly brought back of my ten year old self perched a close to the goal as possible on the wall of the chaddy watching the running battles swating to and fro accross the chaddy .the sunderland one sticks out as particulaly active .wasnt allowed to go to the Manure home game due to the yob ellement that preceded them but do remember giving Bobby Moore some fearsome stick after his screamer of an og v fulham happy memories of football with my late dad my brother and friends playing guess the crowd as we walked down sheepfoot lane .the scarf & rosette seller half way down commerative programme with a huge silver cup on the front for the texaco cup semi final .my first night game at latics .heady days and memories 

I too sat on the boards behind the Chaddy goal in that year. Always enjoyed clapping the opposition keeper and getting an acknowledgememt.

 

Remember throwing the ball back to Jim Coombes and him saying 'thanks cock'.

 

Had my scarf nicked after the Sunderland game outside the Ford Stand, second of mine to go that way as I had my silk/Wool 3rd Div champions one nicked in the Chaddy  when I was holding on to the boards above that nobbly concrete perimeter wall.

 

Remember the cracking atmosphere of the night games when driving over from Derker you could see the floodlights inthe night sky and then walking down sheepfoot lane with a throng of excited voices  discussing what Grovesy could do.

 

Only time I felt like that last season was the first Scholes game.

 

Just glad me, my Dad  and my mates were there to enjoy those days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/29/2019 at 7:44 PM, unsworth blue said:

1974 had been a tremendous year for Latics - a wonderful 10 match winning sequence in January - March 1975, a wonderfully productive Easter, catching runaway leaders Bristol Rovers and lifting the Third Division Championship in May. Starting in the second tier of English football for the first time in 20 years, winning our first 4 home games before a bad run but culminating in beating our illustrious neighbours Man United in December 1974.

 

So what of 1975? Would it be a quick return to the third division for Jimmy Frizzell's doughty fighters or would they survive a wretched away record and stay afloat in the bigger league for more than one season for the first time since 1930?

 

Latics first fixture in 1975 was a home FA Cup tie against high flying Aston Villa who had already won at the home of British football in October. They won that game with a last minute winner but Latics were no match for them in the cup and lost 0-3, a quick return to cup walks after the glamour of 1973/74 cup run.  Our poor away form continued with a 1-2 defeat at Bristol Rovers before West Brom racked up at Boundary Park and left with a goalless scoreline.  Latics went back to the Dell, in the league this time, but come away with a 0-1 defeat.  One win in 15 since October had left Latics in jeopardy but two home wins on the spin, against Nottingham Forest 2-0 and our hated neighbours Bolton 1-0 gave Latics some hope of avoiding the drop.

 

Draws against Millwall away and Southampton at home were satisfactory outcomes but two away defeats at Norwich (0-1) and Bristol City (1-3) left OAFC in peril once more. Portsmouth were the next visitors to Boundary Park in a real 4-pointer but proved no match for Latics  (Robins and Groves). A great away point at high flying Fulham was wasted by dropping a home point in a 1-1 draw with Oxford United (Ray Treacy scoring his only goal for Latics with a diving header). A tough looking Tuesday night away fixture at Sunderland followed and expectation was low as the Rokerites were vying for promotion.  But Latics put up a wonderfully spirited fight and returned home after sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw (George McVitie scoring both). In typical Latics fashion, we followed up with a 0-1 reversal to unfancied Hull City and the relegation trapdoor was opening again. Easter Monday featured  a trip to Old Trafford to face runaway leaders Man United. I am not sure how many Latics fans made the trip as in those days, anyone wearing the other team's colours were targets for the hooligans and United had a vast number of those in their ranks. I sat in the Scoreboard Stand seats with my cousin, Uncle and his mate - could have done with Mr Mellor (1973/74 hero v Burnley lol)….where was he? Anyway Latics gave a grea account of themselves on the pitch, United scored first, Latics replied and it wasn't until 20 minutes from the end that Steve Coppell (United signing from Tranmere) appeared to make it safe at 3-1 after Macari had punched in a second in a goalmouth scramble. The referee (as often happens at the bigger clubs) chose to turn a blind eye and the goal stood. Even at 3-1, Latics had the tenacity to grab a second and should have had a penalty when Ian Robins lobbed the keeper and was following it in until Sammy McIlroy barged him from behind and his momentum took him off the pitch at the Scoreboard End. The linesman and referee saw it that Robins must have fouled McIroy from in front of him and instead of a penalty, awarded a free kick to United. I can't recall feeling overly threatened in the seats and did celebrate wildly when we scored but outside was different. We were parked at White City about 5 minutes from OT and there were hordes of Northern Soul- type tartan scarf clad wankers looking for away fans. I recall seeing two fellas in sheepskin coats (must have been in their 30s?) with one having a massive gash in his eye with blood bellowing out. One said to the other "Good job we didn't fucking win isn't it?". Memory stays with me forever.

 

We were still not safe, we had to host Cardiff City in a must-win 4-pointer and on the day, Latics were unstoppable. They were 3-0 up in no time, aided and abetted by Cardiff goalkeeper Bill Irwin who had terrible day spilling easy shots into his net. I shouted at him from the Chaddy End and was amazed when he turned to me and smiled and held his back mimicking his having a bad back after keep picking the ball out of the net. There was a large army of Welsh on the Chaddy and I was aware that there was some crowd trouble but amazingly it didn't seem to register with me (seemed to be every week lol). The week after, I went to Aston Villa on Barlows (my first trip on Barlows - soon to become a regular part of awaydays). Me (a 13 year old) and Coop (12 year old) going into a 35,000 stadium full of mad Brummies with crap accents. We stopped at the services and I recall about 7 latics coaches of lads (one had a flag "One of Oldham's chosen few) - I thought that's me - I am one of them, for better for worse, for crap and poorer... I was to visit a tatooist several years later to have this on my arm but couldn't afford the cost and never had it done. We got to Villa Park, Latics fans were like peas on a drum, Villa were everywhere. We made the error of paying in and finding out we were at the Holte End - like the bloody Stretford End but bigger!!! Discretion being the better part of valour, we took our leave and paid in to the Blue Seat Paddock (55p all told I think - a princely sum) but at least we were relatively safe. On the pitch, Latics got a mauling, Brian Little got a hat-trick and we lost 5-0, our only spot of cheer was when Chris Ogden saved a Little penalty. Safety arrived at home to Orient the following Saturday when a John Jackson masterclass stopped the O's from a right battering but Millwall and Cardiff failed to win and so Latics survived. The  last game of the season was at Bootham Crescent against our old friends York City and thousands  of Latics fans made the pilgrimage. The behaviour of fans in those days was awful and everywhere you went you saw hordes of Latics fans urinating in the streets and generally being a nuisance. Another draw left Latics winless away from home all season but their 8 draws along with 10 home wins and 7 draws was sufficient for Latics to keep their heads above water and survive.

 

The team were challenging all season and only had one real mauling (Villa away) but a lack of goals kept us in jeopardy and you'd say it was a rock solid defence and a quality home record that kept us up. in 42 games we only scored 40 but only conceded 48. Robins was our top scorer with 9 goals. The crowds were generally 10,000+ (18 of 21 games) and often were 14,000+. The levels of away support were massive in comparison to what we had seen before but as I stated, we were now amongst the big boys and learning how to compete against teams with much better players, much bigger budgets and massive grounds.

The best player - well all of them deserve a mention - the defence was immense, Ogden was an ever-present in goal, Graham Bell looked like a star in the making in midfield (England manager Revie came to see him against Bolton in his third game such was his influence in the games). Hicks was a revalation at centre half although no one seemed to rate him. Alan Young arrived this season, Grovesey was a great talent and did well against some top defences and Blair, Robins and Jones were regulars.

 

If a Latics side of the last 10 seasons had shown the same level of desire and application, no one would ever moan. Those days are gone now but this team were giants of men to young lads of my age who were committed to the cause. Loved them then, love them today - 45 years later.                                                                                      

Is that you, Phil?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is me indeed Steve - I have been trying to rekindle my enthusiasm for all things OAFC and I thought that the best way was to review some old programmes that I was given by Disjointed (thanks Alan) and record my memories from these games. Funny I can hardly recall much from the 2000s but I remember early 70s like the back of my hand. I think the 1974 team was perhaps my favourite of all teams although obviously the 1989/90 side takes some beating.

 

I have always fancied putting my memories to print but not sure if there would be enough interest from anyone else about the rantings of a manc-sounding Latics fan lol. Great days nonetheless - you & Jimmy were always amongst the Chosen Few        

 

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 9:28 PM, Ogdenwoodwhittle said:

I too sat on the boards behind the Chaddy goal in that year. Always enjoyed clapping the opposition keeper and getting an acknowledgememt.

 

Remember throwing the ball back to Jim Coombes and him saying 'thanks cock'.

 

Had my scarf nicked after the Sunderland game outside the Ford Stand, second of mine to go that way as I had my silk/Wool 3rd Div champions one nicked in the Chaddy  when I was holding on to the boards above that nobbly concrete perimeter wall.

 

Remember the cracking atmosphere of the night games when driving over from Derker you could see the floodlights inthe night sky and then walking down sheepfoot lane with a throng of excited voices  discussing what Grovesy could do.

 

Only time I felt like that last season was the first Scholes game.

 

Just glad me, my Dad  and my mates were there to enjoy those days.

Great days pal - just wish we could have their like again. You are right about the evening matches - the atmosphere was great at the Texaco Cup games v Hearts & Southampton, the home win v Bolton and the York home match the season before  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

York City v Latics 1974, I was there.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too BP1960 - two little lads stood at the front of the terrace into which Latics equalised 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my first away game what a day crammed into my dads austin 1300gt 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maurice Whittle with his socks rolled down. I honestly thought he was going to blast the free kick. 

 

And how fussy was that ref? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, TheBigDog said:

Maurice Whittle with his socks rolled down. I honestly thought he was going to blast the free kick. 

 

And how fussy was that ref? 

 

Reminded me of Willie Thorne.

There was ref called Mr Fussey, could sprint like Usain Bolt..comical to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, peanuts said:

my first away game what a day crammed into my dads austin 1300gt 

My second away game. Crow barred into neighbours works van along with 4 other kids in the back and adults in the front. Spent most of the game hanging from the lower part of floodllight pylon.

 

Great atmosphere when we equalised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Ogdenwoodwhittle said:

My second away game. Crow barred into neighbours works van along with 4 other kids in the back and adults in the front. Spent most of the game hanging from the lower part of floodllight pylon.

 

Great atmosphere when we equalised.

iirc wasnt our end full of Dirty leeds as there coach had broke going to sunderland ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...