February 5 – Hereford FA Cup Surprise, Keegan Returns

In one of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history, Hereford United defeated Newcastle 2-1 at Edgar Street in a Third Round Replay on this day in soccer history in 1972.  It was the first time a non-league team defeated a first division club since 1949.

The game did not come easy!

After the first match ended 2-2 at St James Park, the replay had to be postponed three times due to weather and when it was eventually played the field was a sloppy mess.

The 14,311 capacity crowd with additional fans perched in trees outside the ground and in the bird’s nest of the light stands were only hoping for the best.  Newcastle feature six England internationals and were eager to put the tie behind them.

Newcastle opened on the attack and create chance after chance only to see balls hit off the woodwork, everyday tap ins go begging as well as fine saves from Fred Potter between the sticks but finally broke through for the opening goal from Malcolm Macdonald in the 82nd minute.  Surely it was over.

The home side were not put off and literally brought on some ‘fresh legs’ when Ricky George replaced Roger Griffiths.  Griffiths broke his leg early in the match but played through the pain.  After some good build-up started by George, Ronnie Radford, a part time carpenter, hit a 30-yard strike into the top corner in the 85th minute.

The goal set off a celebration and the first pitch invasion by the home fans of the day.

The game finished tied and went to extra time and George drew the final curtain on the game with the game winner in the 103rd minute.

Hereford United’s run in the FA Cup ended in the next round.  The managed to draw West Ham United 0-0 at Edgar Street but Geoff Hurst left the way with a hat-trick in the return leg to win 3-1.

Hereford finished the Southern League in 2nd place that season and were promoted to the Football League.

Keegan_NewcastleKeegan Returns to Newcastle United

Kevin Keegan was a cult hero for Newcastle United Football Club after helping the team win promotion to the English top flight in 1984 as a player and so the club fan base was excited when King Kev returned to take the helm as manager in 1992 on this day in soccer history.

The challenge was immediate for Keegan with Newcastle sitting at the bottom of the English second division.  But Keegan was up to the task avoiding relegation and the following season with a re-built team winning the newly formed first division and a place in the English Premiership.

After a third place finish in 1993/94, Newcastle was eyeing the silver for the first time since 1927 the following season when they sat on a 12 point lead on the table only for their dreams to come crashing down and a sixth place finish.  The crash was largely blamed on the decision to transfer goalscorer Andy Cole to Manchester United during the January transfer window.

Keegan broke the transfer record at the time when he brought Alan Shearer to Newcastle.

Keegan could not however win Newcastle any silver sitting consistently near the top of the table after the first half of the season only to crash out in the second half of the season.

Keegan ended his Newcastle run on January 7, 1997 providing the following statement;

“It was my decision and my decision alone to resign. I feel I have taken the club as far as I can, and that it would be in the best interests of all concerned if I resigned now. I wish the club and everyone concerned with it all the best for the future.”

Soccer Birthdays

1910 – Francisco Varallo, Argentine footballer
1932 – Cesare Maldini – Italian footballer and manager
1948 – Sven-Göran Eriksson, Swedish football manager
1961 – Savvas Kofidis, Greek footballer and manager
1965 – Gheorghe Hagi, Romanian footballer
1975 – Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Dutch footballer
1976 – John Aloisi, Australian footballer
1981 – Loukas Vyntra, Greek football player
1982 – Rodrigo Palacio, Argentine footballer
1984 – Carlos Tévez, Argentinine footballer
1985 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese footballer
1986 – Billy Sharp, English footballer
1986 – Manuel Fernandes, Portuguese footballer
1986 – Vedran Ćorluka Croatian football player

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