Memory Match: Birmingham City 1 Port Vale 2 St Andrews FA Cup 3rd Round 4th January 1964
T HIRD Division Vale had defeated Bradford City and Workington to reach the Third Round and the fact that it was their 24th FA Cup tie in five years shows just what a good cup side they were at the time. It was a tough task on paper, away to a top division side, albeit a struggling one, but Vale warmed to the task.
They made a great start by taking the lead in only the 14th minute when a clearance landed at the feet of stalwart Roy Sproson, and he sidestepped a defender before rifling the ball home with a left-footed drive. The 3,000 Vale supporters in the crowd exploded with delight, but eight minutes later the Blues were level.
A speculative 30-yard shot by Malcolm Beard surprisingly went under Ken Hancock for the equaliser, the only mistake he made all afternoon. Central defender John Nicholson had a blow to the temple in the first half but refused treatment and played the second half suffering from concussion!
Vale controlled most of the game, looking more efficient and better drilled than their higher placed hosts, and they went back in front in the 65th minute.
Ruark HiFi - for lovers of good music and fantastic sound
Headphone offer is our own offer as test for these vouchers - so don't delay offer expires 25/05/13
Only with this voucher, choose a set of headphones up to 10% of the units price or add some to it if you want a dearer set
ie Unit for £300 would give you £30 towards headphones of your choice
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
Striker Tony Richards was brought down and from John Rowland's free kick Jackie Mudie, father of current Vale director Graham, headed the ball home via a defender's flailing leg. It was Mudie's fifth goal in five games. Wingers Rowland and Ron Smith ran Birmingham ragged in the misty conditions and they held on for a deserved victory and a trip to Liverpool in the next round. Not surprisingly the Vale fans invaded the pitch at the end of the game. The Birmingham side included Welsh internationals Terry Hennessey and Ken Leek, Jimmy Bloomfield, who went on to manage Leicester City and Leyton Orient, and Scottish winger Bertie Auld, who won the European cup three years later with Celtic.
Barry Seaton from Meir, a Vale fan for over 46 years, has chosen this week's Memory Match. He remembers: "The cup match at Birmingham was my first away game and only the second time I had seen the Vale play after breaking away from my family's Stoke infatuation. I was 13 at the time and my friend Colin Stonier had a motorbike and that was how we used to travel to home games.
"On this occasion we went on the train though. It was a very foggy day, and during a walk around Birmingham before the game I remember 'Glad All Over' blaring out, ironic that it is used today when Vale score a goal! It had just been released and went to number one that month. We went in the paddock and I clearly remember the two goals by Roy Sproson and Jackie Mudie despite the fog closing in. At the time my favourite player was John Nicholson, as solid a centre half as you could wish to see and it was no surprise to hear that he played on with concussion. I couldn't believe it when he died in a car crash just two years later.
"No wonder I was hooked and became a full-time Vale fan after such a victory as that one. Actually not long afterwards I lost contact with Colin, but if he's reading this, thanks very much for introducing me to the Vale!"
John Rowland was on the wing that afternoon. He says: "I remember it was a foggy day but we turned it on that afternoon. The bigger the game the better we played in those days. We all played with a smile on our faces because there was far less pressure on us than there is on the players of today.
"I had a decent game and the winner came from my cross so you could say it all went well. I really enjoyed my four years at the Vale and didn't actually want to leave. The director Tommy Talbot took me to one side though and told me that I had to go because the club was in dire straits and the £6,500 offered by Mansfield was like a lifeline. Players didn't really have a say in those days!
"Nowadays I live in Belper and mainly watch Derby County, as I am an honorary member of their ex-players' association – although I never played for them! I happened to turn out for them in a few charity games and it all stemmed from that. I follow the Vale's results and have been to a game a couple of times in recent years." John originally joined the Vale for a fee of £6,000 from Nottingham Forest in 1962 and went on to make 166 senior appearances scoring 43 goals. He left for Mansfield in 1966 (£6,500) and has also played for Tranmere Rovers, South Shields and Derry City.
Ken Hancock was in the Vale goal for the game. He remembers: "We played well that day although I got some unfair stick for letting a goal in. Just as I was going down to save Beard's shot a toilet roll came on from behind the goal and bounced just in front of me and I momentarily took my eye off the ball.
"Some of the players had a go at me at half-time and said they never saw a toilet roll. On the way home though we stopped for a meal, and the goals came on the TV news. I told the lads to watch it and I was vindicated! They said sorry.
"It was a good cut and thrust game and I came off with a bad shoulder. It's funny how some grounds are good for a player and some are bad, but St Andrews was always a happy hunting ground for me. After I joined Ipswich I saved a penalty there."
Do you have a favourite Vale, Crewe or Stoke City game? Write to Memory Match, Features Desk, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5SS or email firstname.lastname@example.org, including your full name, phone number and address.