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70 years since we won the FA Cup


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 Good Article by Anton Rippon 


ONE week on, the hurt is still raw. That 76th-minute substitution by Paul Clement at the Riverside has been debated over and over again.

But hindsight is the most precise of sciences. Had the coach left things alone … well, yes, the Rams may well have denied Boro another two points.

Personally, I like a brave manager, so I'm happy to move on.

Derby County are still in second place, only three defeats up to the new year is a success, so let us put the Championship to one side for the moment while we turn our attention to the FA Cup.

This is a special anniversary season for the Rams – 70 years since the only FA Cup final victory in the club's 131-year history.

It all started on January 5, 1946, when football was still regrouping after the Second World War.

I was barely 12 months old. I was born just before Christmas 1944, a few hundred yards from Derby's town centre.

Down the street, two policemen and an off-duty Corporation bus driver were recapturing six German prisoners-of-war.

In the Ardennes, Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt was making a final attempt to break through Allied lines.

American bandleader Glenn Miller was missing over the English Channel. Norway had run out of herring oil.

And with two goals from Peter Doherty and one each from Raich Carter and Wilf Slack, the Rams had just beaten Rotherham United 4-0 in the Football League Wartime North (First Period). Those were odd times, indeed.

Just over a year later, the Rams travelled to Kenilworth Road for the first leg of their third round FA Cup tie against Luton Town. For the only time in the competition's history, ties would be played on a home and away basis.


Luton posed no great threat. A pre-war Second Division club, they now played in the interim Football League South alongside the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea – and Derby County.

The Rams, with one of the best forward lines in the country, were scoring lots of goals. This day at Luton proved no exception. Jack Stamps completed a second-half hat-trick to give him four in a match that the Rams won 6-0.

Of course, it was only half-time in the tie. The following Wednesday, at the Baseball Ground, the 16,000 crowd arrived for the 2pm kick-off to find army military policemen and their RAF counterparts checking to see if any servicemen had dodged out of barracks to watch the match.

On a muddy pitch and in a howling wind, Carter (2) and Angus Morrison made it 9-0 on aggregate.

Carter's second goal was a peach – he slid the ball past the Hatters' goalkeeper, Harry Dukes, and, hands on hips, watched in satisfaction as it rolled over the line.

Tim Ward, by the way, still awaiting his demob from the army, missed the second leg. Tim had been wounded on D-Day and had been one of the first British soldiers to enter Belsen concentration camp.

Now he was travelling back to barracks – not to the horrors of war but to join up with the British Army of the Rhine football team that would be dubbed "Football's Vera Lynns" for their work in entertaining Allied troops in occupied Germany.

It all seems a lifetime away from today's trip to Hartlepool – which, of course, it is.

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8 minutes ago, Ram a lamb a ding dong said:

Expect it to become 71 come what May. Priority no.2.

High priority at the Hartlepool end  

Brian Cloughs first job as a manager  was at Hartlepool 


Jeff Stelling: The day my sister danced with Brian Clough at Hartlepool - Telegraph

It was my big sister Sue who was blessed with the looks in the Stelling family. She was still at High School when she won the inaugural ‘Miss Hartlepool’ contest in 1967. One of her first duties was to have the first dance at a special ball with the brash, bright, young manager of the local football club. His name was Brian Clough. 

Clough had been appointed manager late in 1965, bringing with him his partner Peter Taylor. He was the youngest manager in the English Football League. In the 18 months the pair were there, they won nothing but transformed the club from regular re-election seekers to promotion contenders. 

He incorporated the spindly legged schoolboy John McGovern who would later twice lift the European Cup as Nottingham Forest captain, into the side. He was relentless in his efforts to raise the profile – and much needed funds – of the club, going as far as driving the team coach on one occasion. He put Hartlepool United on the map. 

But in 1967, he left to join Derby County, taking Taylor with him. We’d offered him a salary of £3,250 – including bonuses - to stay, but mysteriously he wasn’t tempted. 

The rest is history. He returned to sign McGovern for £6,000 three years later. Our goalkeeper Les Green also ended up at the Baseball Ground. And in 1972, with Hartlepool on the brink of going out of business, he saved them by paying £3,000 for central defender Tony Parry. Derby already had Roy McFarland, Colin Todd and Terry Hennessy on their books and Parry barely kicked a ball for them. It was a great philanthropic gesture – albeit using Derby’s money! 

The statue of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor outside Derby's Pride Park

My sister was the one who was really responsible for my passion for Hartlepool United. When I was seven and not old enough to go alone, I would nag her relentlessly to take me to games. She would often sucumb and usually would be the only woman in the Town End or on the Mill House side, braving the icy winds that whistled in off the North Sea, just to please her little brother. 

By coincidence Sue followed Clough to Derby – not literally, but for her job. She worked in the centre and lived on the outskirts. She would never get to enjoy Clough's great European footballing triumphs. She never saw me appear on TV. At the age of 37, she collapsed and died at home. Blessed with good looks but tragically not good luck. 

Brian's path and mine crossed from time to time in the years that followed. Very occasionally, he was an entertaining but hugely unpredictable guest on Soccer Saturday. I have a bronze of him proudly sitting in my office at home, presented to me with the blessing of his family. 

Brian Clough in his Derby days

• Brian Clough obituary: 'One of Britain's greatest managers'

So football and family links mean I’ve got a bit of soft spot for Derby County. I think a lot of older Pools fans also have an affinity for them because of the Clough connection. Don’t get me wrong. They’re not my second team. I don’t believe in that. One person, one passion, one team is my philosophy. I hope we can be the weekend's giant killers when we meet in the third round of the FA Cup. 

We did just that in our only other FA Cup meeting back in 1984. Derby that day had John Robertson and Kenny Burns in their side so it was a proper upset. This time round, even though Paul Clement will rest some of his Championship stars, the chances are that former England man Darren Bent and ex-Villa star Andreas Weimann will lead their attack, so that’s not too shabby. 

We will certainly need luck on our side too, just as it was against Salford City in round two. In the replay, they battered us for 90 minutes until, like Foreman against Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle, they had punched themselves out and allowed Scotty Fenwick to land a knock-out blow. 

Mikael Mandron seals victory for Hartlepool over Salford

There’s no question that we will be on the ropes at times on Saturday, but like every other lower league side we have a puncher's chance. And if Ronnie Moore and his side can produce the shock of the weekend, my celebrations at around 4.45pm on Soccer Saturday will be off the Richter scale, so I will apologise in advance. I may have a soft spot for Derby, but remember it's one person ,one team. 

For me and my sis, that team is Hartlepool. 

Hartlepool may not get to Wembley this season. But I will. Along with Chief Executive Russ Green, we will be walking the 260 miles from Victoria Park to Wembley from March 21st to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK. 10 marathons in 10 days. And one of the clubs we will be stopping at is...Derby County

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Until it becomes a cup that clubs take seriously I will always struggle to show any interest in. When Man Utd pulled out that year it went downhill rapidly and semi finals at Wembley to help pay off the debt can do one as well. Saying that Wembley will never feel the same now they play that American armoured eggball crap there.

It's no longer a cup that everyone wants to win from round 1, it's a cup that oh look we've made it to the quarter finals, may as well try and win it now.

The magic has gone and I never want to see Derby lose but I feel like it's a pre season game today, more about the performance of those given a chance than the result itself.

If we're out the cup at 5pm I won't lose any sleep.


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The season before Man Utd pulled out the FA Cup, on the way to winning it they played Fulham in round 5 who were in Division 2 and the only team outside the top flight they played, the team....

Schmeichel, G. Neville, Stam, Berg, Irwin, Beckham, Butt, P. Neville, Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer 

v Boro in the first round (3rd round)

Schmeichel, Brown, Irwin, Stam, Berg, Giggs, Keane, Butt, Blomqvist, Cole, Yorke

Let's see the team they put out for their first FA Cup game this season.


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Love the FA cup me.

Don't even care that some teams put out weaker sides. On the day those players will be trying to win the game.

More gutted I couldn't get a ticket for today than for Forest away. Hope everyone enjoys their trip up north.

I'd absolutely take us winning the cup over getting promoted, not a popular viewpoint probably but my view nonetheless. Two promotions in my short lifetime, zero cup wins in any of my living relatives lifetimes makes winning the FA cup much rarer and therefore infinitely more special.

Here's hoping it's not another 70 years before we win it again.

Up the Rams!

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13 minutes ago, Daveo said:

If the FA Cup is still magic Derby will show respect to Hartlepool and put out a full strength side today. 

Well that's up to the Rams management team  .

The nearer you get to Wembley the more Magic it becomes. 

I think Derby will put a strong side out today which will be good enough to win this tie  


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Just now, Daveo said:

I can tell you about the Jim Smith promotion almost 20 years ago where we finished 2pts outside a UEFA cup place, Wanchope, Baiano, Eranio. A full season of absolute greatness. Not just one day out and a cup.


No one will remember that when we're all dead, FA Cup wins are remembered forever.

Short-term, promotion is always more beneficial but when people talk about how big a club is, trophies always come into it, rather than promotions.

Otherwise West Brom would be the biggest club in the world.

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1 minute ago, Duracell said:

No one will remember that when we're all dead, FA Cup wins are remembered forever.

Short-term, promotion is always more beneficial but when people talk about how big a club is, trophies always come into it, rather than promotions.

Otherwise West Brom would be the biggest club in the world.

Because everybody is talking about that great day out in 1946 when we won the cup, I'll never forget it....even tho I had to Google the year we won it, it's a cup day I'll never forget


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It's magic if you're a select group of clubs in the PL or a lower league team with a good draw.

Teams like Southampton, Swansea, Palace, Stoke, Swansea, West Ham, WBA, Leicester or Everton are all teams that probably won't be troubling the top 4 or the bottom 3, the FA Cup is a more glorious route to Europe than scraping 7th or being top of the fair play league.

And obviously doing a bit of giant killing is always a good way to get a lower league team on the map and boost their season.

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Cup wins and promotions give you two very different things. As others have said, winning the FA Cup writes your name in history for that year and in years to come allows fans and the club to recall a glorious cup win, with all the romance that comes with.

In terms of promotion, there's a huge pot of money and the chance to establish yourself in the top flight for years to come, which some would argue would have more long term benefit for the club.

Head vs heart really.

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4 minutes ago, Daveo said:

Because everybody is talking about that great day out in 1946 when we won the cup, I'll never forget it....even tho I had to Google the year we won it, it's a cup day I'll never forget


Can't believe you had to google the year of our only Cup win! 

Especially as it probably ranked us as one of the best sides in the world at the time.

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3 minutes ago, Daveo said:

Because everybody is talking about that great day out in 1946 when we won the cup, I'll never forget it....even tho I had to Google the year we won it, it's a cup day I'll never forget


You call yourself a Derby fan, and had to Google when we won the Cup!?

Every fan of every team knows how many times their team have won the FA Cup, and can tell you the years. It's one of the things that defines your history - our domestic cup has a list of teams who have won it. Is your team on it? How many times? 

Anyway, I'm looking forward today to  the game against 13-time promoted Hartlepool, who could only dream of our 17 promotions.

Our promotion tradition dates back to 1923.

Small clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal have barely ever lifted the promotion trophy.

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I did, but I wouldn't have to Google the 97/98 season. Can you tell me the players that won the FA Cup? I can name you Jim Smiths team.

Not one fan on here will remember that day, not one. Nobody ever talks about it but we always hear about those days under Clough, winning the League and we all know what Brian Clough thought was a bigger achievement.

You remember the football in your lifetime, for me a promotion and another chance to see Derby County become an established top flight side, seeing the best players of the world come to our ground each week would mean for more than a one off day.

Winning the FA Cup is like beating your Dad on the pool table in Spain as a kid. It felt great but you know he wasn't really trying, he didn't get his head down to take the shots, just another game. But you will go to bed that night buzzing and the next day taking the piss out of him.

I'm older now, I don't believe in Santa Claus and I want to see us compete against the best, I want to see Derby top the Premier League like Leicester have, what a time they must be having and what a season to tell the grandkids

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