The Magnificent Hatters of 1972- Cup Heroes Again !

Following the huge success of the recent reunion of County’s Cup Warriors from the 1964-65 season, guardians of the Stockport County Appearance Scheme (SCAN) are currently working on reuniting the magnificent Hatters’ team that created history in 1972 by reaching the League Cup fourth round
for the very first time ... November 14 is the provisional date.

The journey began with an epic tussle against arch-rivals Bradford City. A 1-1 draw in the first leg at

Valley Parade was repeated in the second leg at Edgeley Park so, with penalty shootouts still some way off, a third game was needed on neutral soil. Bolton Wanderers’ Burndon Park was chosen and, on a memorable night, County ran out 2-0 winners thanks to a ‘screamer’ from Mal Russell and an Eddie Garbett penalty.

A feature of the evening was the incredible vocal backing from the County faithful who had taken over Bolton’s Lever End to such an extent that skipper Tommy Spratt said later that the travelling Hatters’ Army outnumbered and out sung Bradford City supporters by at least 100-1!

An away tie at Crystal Palace was the reward for Brian Doyle’s men and, with Palace riding high in the old First Division, and unbeaten at Selhurst Park – their previous two home games had seen them beat Manchester City and Newcastle United – few gave the Hatters a prayer of reaching round three for the very first time.

But, minutes before half-time, County stunned the South London faithful when Hugh Ryden scored from close range after Palace keeper John Jackson had beaten out Garbett’s header.
Hugh Ryden scores v Palace !

And this was after the Hatters had missed a penalty ten minutes earlier, when the normally reliable Ian Lawther failed from the spot following a foul on Ryden.

After the break Palace frantically searched for an equaliser but, with Alan Ogley in imperious form behind a formidable back-four, in which veteran Joe Ashworth and teenager Paul Hart were outstanding, County repelled everything Palace threw at them and held out for an historic victory; it was the first time a Fourth Division side had won a League Cup tie away to First Division

And, three days later, a bumper 6,000 Friday-night crowd gave ‘Doyle’s Demons’ a heroes welcome when they returned to the bread-and-butter of the league. ‘Thank-you very much for beating Palace,’ echoed from the Pop Side as Darlington were beaten 3-1.

What about the League Cup? Well, the draw had paired County with star-studded West Ham United including England World Cup-winning skipper Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking and a host of other household names.

And, on October 4, 1972, the East London aristocrats were sent packing on one of the greatest nights in EP history. A night when, with 20 minutes remaining and their tired team desperately hanging onto a 2-1 lead, the County faithful began an incessant, vociferous chant of ‘County, County, County’ that swept around the old ground. Not for the first time, and not for the last, the Blue &White Army had come to the rescue just when their team needed them most; all the players later admitted it was the incredible vocal backing that galvanised them to get to the final whistle.

The emotional, incident-packed game against the Hammers will be featured in detail later in the season.

Back to the Palace game, as both teams first-choice colours were white shirts, County emerged from the tunnel at Selhurst Park sporting an eye-catching blue & black stripes, similar to Italy’s famous Inter Milan, a combination of colours that few Football League clubs have ever worn.

Uniquely, the jersey also featured a badge that had not featured on any previous County shirt, or on any since.

SCAN are delighted to announce a limited run of these iconic shirts are now available. They are exact replicas, professionally designed and manufactured using the finest techniques and material.  

Hugh Ryden wears the replica shirt  yesterday at E.P.
 They also include the superbly embroidered badge that didn’t appear on any other County shirt.

the unique badge.

Priced at just £30 these historic jerseys can be ordered at .............. 

100% of the profit from the sale of these iconic shirts will be used by SCAN to finance future reunions – bringing County heroes from the past back to Edgeley Park.

Des Hinks


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