Some of our yesterdays

Andy Munro strolls down a St Andrews memory lane.

With no English footie, soccer on TV is a story of rehashing the rehash and maybe it’s just me but I find listening to the likes of Shearer and Lineker pontificating, intensely annoying as they continually state the blindingly obvious and marvel at their own marvelousness.

So, as part of seeking my football solace elsewhere, I stumbled across a Blues programme from the late sixties when they played the Arsenal in the FA Cup. More about the match later but the actual programme was the real fascination.

It cost one shilling, which in today’s money would be about a quid – not bad value except the twelve pages, including cover, contained four pages of adverts. I remember these as regular contributors. Dormie Dress Hire only 35 bob and apparently guaranteed to making it possible for ANYBODY (even Blues fans?) to dress up smart. Then there was the well-known brand of Swallow mackintoshes. Starting from twelve guineas there was a fabulous opportunity to buy one lined bizarrely with ‘simulated ponyskin’ (thankfully, not the real thing).

There was a page of recruitment adverts including Birmingham City Police, who were looking for ‘men’ (no budding WPCs it seems) at a wage starting at £870 per annum. Compare this to the advert for women telephonists, who were offered the less than princessly rate of £250 per annum. Still, they could be home to make tea for their husbands before he went out to work the men-only evening and night shift at an extra twelve bob over the day rate.

The match itself was triggered by a draw at Highbury, when Geoff Vowden equalised in the dying minutes with the legend being that he saw his auntie standing behind the goal at that very moment. We won the replay, in the days when we had an exciting attack of Fred Pickering, Barry Bridges, Johnny Vincent, Vowden and Trevor Hockey. Unfortunately some of the defence; Jim Herriott, Ray Martin and Winnie Foster were often our achilles heel but that day they did the business as we won 2-1 in front of a crowd of 51,586 to earn a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Chelsea. That one won by a Fred Pickering goal, we went off to play Albion in the semi-final, at where else but Villa Park, Blues going down 2-0.

Arsenal had a star-studded side including Storey, Neill, McLintock, Graham, Radford, Armstrong and Sammels, in the long-gone days when Arsenal’s most exotic foreign player was a Scotsman.