YORK CITY SOUTH
1955. City's FA Cup credentials had already been set. In 1938 we reached Round 6 when we took the mightly Huddersfield to a replay. Mighty in that in 1926, they'd won their third successive English Division 1 title, the first team ever to win it in 3 sucessive seasons. We drew 0-0 at home, in front of our all time record crowd of 28,123.
Watch City v Huddersfield. Note the fans spilling onto the pitch. Note the original Main Stand, a fourth section was added after our 1955 FA Cup run.
12/03/1955 Notts County 0 York City 1 (FA Cup
A Notts record attendance of 47,310 witnessed this cup upset. Pathe cameras caught sight of two disallowed goals for offside (one for each side), and the pitch invasion that greeted the final whistle.
British Movietone were also there and this film shows "Kick-off. Notts on the offensive and seen opening the attack. Tommy Forgan, York goalie makes a save. Now York fight back. Second half - York attacking the Notts goal. The winning goal which Arthur Bottom scores from a mix-up involving Bill Hughes and Sid Storey. The crowd surge onto the pitch to congratulate the 3rd Division winners."
See below for Pathe newsreels of this and other City FA Cup games from our 1954/5 FA Cup run. Also, thanks to Notts Co Carousel for providing additional Notts County details.
At the risk of boring you silly, may I crave your indulgence for a few minutes whilst I wallow in some sporting nostalgia recounting the remarkable achievements of my local professional football club, York City AFC during the season of 1954 - 55. For the younger readers I would preface this account by reminding them that in this era there was no Premier League – the top league was named the First Division; there was a Second Division and there were two Third Divisions - North and South, to cut down on costly travelling expenses, hotel bills etc. All matches had to be played in daylight as floodlighting had not yet been introduced. TV was in its infancy and there were no Supermarkets, DIY Stores or Garden Centres. Travel meant public transport as very few people could afford a motor car, hence the traditional Saturday afternoon entertainment was a couple of pints at the local and down to see United, Rovers or City. Neither did we have players’ agents, mindless violence, vandalism and there was no requirement of heavy policing, crowd segregation or crowd control!!!
However, returning to the point, following a succession of uneventful, mediocre seasons in the Third Division North, our first match of the season was an away league game against Wrexham and we were gratified to learn from the old ‘steam wireless’ that a new look York City had won by six goals to three. Our manager, a little known gentleman named McCormick had re-assembled a fairly new squad following the sale of our star attraction - a promising centre forward - one Dave Dunmore - to Spurs for the sum of £10,500. He acquired a goalkeeper, Tommy Forgan from Hull City and full back Ernie Philips from the same club, a big strong inside forward called Arthur Bottom from Sheffield United and centre forward Norman Wilkinson also from Hull. These players complemented the nucleus of the previous side and either by good luck or good management they blended really well - not that Mr McCormick ever received any credit as he walked out of the club prior to the start of the season - no reason was ever given! They continued to produce good league form and were always in the top six of the table, but it was in the F.A. Cup that they were destined to make their mark!
In October came Round One when we were drawn at home to non-league Scarborough a real local derby game and the visitors had several ex City players in their ranks. Being without a game with my amateur team that day, I went along to Bootham Crescent to watch the expected demolition of Scarborough but with exile Charlie Ware ‘running the legs off’ Ernie Phillips it had to be admitted that the final score of 3-2 did not really do justice to poor Scarborough. The second round draw paired us with another non-league side from Dorset, Dorchester Town - an unknown quantity indeed. However, this time luck did not enter into the equation as an easy 4-1 win was reward for City’s performance and a fair minded Dorchester Chairman paid tribute to the quality of York’s delightful close passing game by calling them “...these Continental Yorkshire men…”. Even without a manager it was apparent the York players had decided to copy the methods of those ‘magicalMagyars’ who had inflicted upon England, a few months previously, the first ever defeat by a foreign team at Wembley when the score had been an incredible England 3 Hungary 6 and demonstrating the gulf between English football and that now being played by world class teams.
The draw for Round 3 surely signalled the end of our Cup aspirations as we travelled to the beaten finalists from last year's competition, Blackpool whose personnel included the legendary Stanley Matthews (wizard of the dribble) and a host of other international players…..
Obviously the home team had not done their ‘homework’ as when the match was played with the smooth City style a totally bewildered Blackpool, who seemed to be expecting the usual third division "up and at 'em" approach with long high balls the order of the day. Their inability to adapt to City's cultured play resulted in a deserved win for City by 2 goals to 0. This was the shock result of the day, which alerted the National press to City’s achievements. The subsequent matches were well covered by the Daily Express, whose main sporting journalist was Henry Rose. He soon became a City fan, he later referred to them as "this first division side masquerading in third division shirts".
Round 4 paired us against yet another non-league team, the formidable amateur Cup Holders - Bishop Auckland. Again we had to travel, even if only up to County Durham, but in the event they were outclassed by a competent City performance which resulted in a comfortable 4 - 1 win and excitement was now mounting. “Who would be next?” the fans wondered.
Well I suppose it had to happen! A top London Club in the shape of Tottenham Hotspurs. There was one consolation - for the first time since the Scarborough game it was a home draw, so the only problem was how to obtain a ticket. Tickets were limited to 21,000. The previous highest attendance at Bootham Crescent had been 28,000 for a cup tie against Huddersfield Town in 1938. Incidentally the present limit is now reduced to fewer than ten thousand, not that this seems to matter as only about three thousand turn up for league matches which lack of support has prompted that scourge of modem society (the Developer) to cast his beady eye in that direction so who knows what the future holds or even if there is a future. However I and four pals, complete with tickets, trudged through the retreating snow and slush on a cold February afternoon with great trepidation, fearing the worst but fervently praying for the best. After five minutes a classy looking Spurs outfit scored with effortless ease which made us fear the worst as Spurs, masterminded by international wing half Danny Blanchflower, settled down to try to add to their total. York had very different ideas and with Billy Fenton, the draughtsman at Armstrong Patents and only a part-time footballer, running amok on the left wing despite the despairing efforts of the future England World Cup winning Manager Alf Ramsey. We actually scored three good goals and went through to the quarter finals stage.
Another away tie ensued, this time at unfashionable Notts County. Again armed with tickets, half the adult population of York set off by coach, train and car to the fair city of Nottingham. The journey was not in vain and although the uncompromising home team would not allow City to settle and turn on their usual exhibition stuff we prevailed with the only goal of the game, coming from Arthur Bottom in the last few tense minutes. The unbelievable had happened and we were in the semi final of the F.A. Cup. We were due to play the winners of a semi-final replay between Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town, both first division sides.
Newcastle won and we where set to play them in the F.A. Cup semi-final. A couple of weeks prior to our semi-final appointment with Newcastle United at Hillsborough in Sheffield, tragedy struck when the main City playmaker the tricky inside left Sid Storey was injured in training and was considered unlikely to be available for the most important game in the history of the Club. He was only a part time player, he was a coal miner from Barnsley. He had been an ever present force for the previous five games and took the knocks he inevitably received as an influential ballplayer. There was torrential rain for the three days preceding the match and as we travelled down by British Rail on the Saturday morning it continued to pour down, as a fact it continued to do just that right through the game. Standing behind the goal City were defending in the first half I don't know which depressed me more, seeing City concede an early goal or being saturated, with only a Daily Express as cover from the elements. However, I made a rapid recovery when Arthur Bottom forced his way through at the other end to crack in an equalizer. The Yorkshire Post later related that the cheer which greeted the City team when they entered the arena eclipsed the famed Hamden Roar and although the attendance was 70,000 there was no resemblance of trouble and although their magical left winger - Scottish international Bobby Mitchell who seeming defied the laws of gravity with his shoulder almost touching the turf with his body swerve. He had a big influence on the game and the match ended at one each. York City became the only third division side ever to reach the last three of the F.A. Cup. Newcastle won the replay by 2-0. Newcastle went into the final, going on to beat Manchester City at the Wembley Final where Manchester were unlucky to lose their right back, Meadowes with a fractured leg following a vain attempt to combat the wiles of the elusive Bobby Mitchell.
Thanks to Peter Brook and his efforts which are re-produced above.
Links to City's 1954/5 FA Cup games are included below, For British Movietone clips, free registration is required prior to viewing.
Watch Blackpool v City - 1955 FA Cup - Round 3
Watch City v Bishop Auckland - 1955 FA Cup - Round 4
Watch City v Spurs - 1955 FA Cup - Round 5
Watch Notts County v City - 1955 FA Cup - Round 6
Watch City v Newcastle - 1955 FA Cup - Semi Final
Watch City v Newcastle - 1955 FA Cup - Semi Final Replay
Bonus(?) 1938 FAC 6th Round Replay - Huddersfield v City
Bonus(?) City Training - 1938
More Database Home Page