The Giant Killers

Every F A cup giant killing since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 44

Norwich City 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

First round

Saturday 11th January 1908

Newmarket Road, Norwich

Attendance: 10,366

Scorers:James Bauchop {25}, Tommy Allsopp {65}

Ben Hur, starring Herman Rottger and William S Hart was showing in the cinema,  Ada Jones had  huge hit record with All you get from the ice man is ice, the Liberal, Henry Campbell-Bannerman was Prime Minister and Ernest Shackleton set off on his Nimrod expedition to the South Pole.

 Norwich City were a relatively recently formed Southern League side, struggling at the wrong end of their division when they earned a

first round cup tie at home to the cup holders themselves, The Wednesday of Sheffield. The tie marked the latest event in a spiral of recent landmarks in the club such as their exposure as a professional outfit in an amateur league, which had led to them switching to the Southern League in 1905 and the introduction of a new kit of canary yellow shirts with green trim and white shorts, which saw the team's nickname change overnight from the Citizens to the Canaries.

It was as the Canaries that they would take the field for this tie against a Wednesday side who were naming the same eleven that had won the cup the previous season and included eight of the club's 1904 title winning side and five current internationals, three English and two Scottish. They were also pushing hard for the title again, lying third in the division when they set off on their visit to East Anglia.

More impressive than the team was perhaps the arrival of the Wednesday fans, the first few hundred of whom endured a freezing cold train journey on the early service in order to conduct a site seeing visit of Norwich before taking in the game. They made a colourful site with blue and white caps, paper buttonholes, unbrellas and various other ways of showing their support before setting off towards the city centre, carefully avoiding walking under a flag in local colours hanging from a window in a nearby hotel, lest it bring bad luck. This first batch, consisting largely of couples in good humour had long since dispersed by the time the main body of some eight hundred Wednesdayites descended into the station just as many hundreds of local supporters arrived leading to a few heckles between rival fans, although for the most part the crowd remained good natured as they made their way to City's Newmarket Road ground.

Over 10,000 fans marched across the city to the tiny ground where the regulars found themselves having to pay double the normal admission for the privilege, thus making the final recorded gate just short of the ground record set the previous year for a Southern League encounter with Tottenham while gate receipts however easily set a record £570. And it may have been this that forced the hand of the referee, Mr Schumacher who, on arrival, it was suggested, was considering declaring the rock hard pitch unplayable.

The Norwich directors had considered the condition of the ground earlier in the week with the result that their team arrived to find a complete set of brand new rubber soled boots for them to play in to add more grip on the slippery surface. Not that captain and player manager James McEwan felt his underdogs needed any additional help. ‘Punch’ as he was known, had over a century of appearances in the top flight for Glossop and Bury under his belt, winning the FA Cup with the latter in 1903 before arriving in East Anglia. In addition to his own experience at the back he could also call on the former Burnley man Archie Livingstone and the Scot, Bobby Muir, whose wing play while at Celtic had seen him immortalised in a famous fight back from two goals down to the Auld enemy in the 1903 Scottish Cup Final to win the trophy.

The remainder of McEwan’s side were relative unknowns outside Southern League circles and their league form showed them as a side struggling at the wrong end of their division, though again their manager felt this was more to injuries and ill luck rather than a lack of skill. So bullish was McEwan before the game that when asked if Norwich had any hope against a Wednesday side lying third in the top flight he confidently declared that his team, when fully fit were a match for anyone and could beat any side, no matter how talented.

Wednesday no doubt took little notice and entered the field with the same starting eleven as had actually won the cup nine months earlier. In these days when squad rotation was an unheard of concept it was common to find a side in good form fielding the same eleven every week and this particular combination boasted that they had never been beaten. In their blue and white stripes they entered the field immediately behind their yellow shirted opponents to great cheers from a colourful crowd in low winter sunshine and a biting winter breeze.

McEwan won the toss, opting to have his team play the first half with the breeze at their backs as the rubber soles instantly showed their worth in the opening minutes. Goalmouth action was at a premium in these early stages as Bushell, Bartlett and Lyall all suffered heavy falls on the rock hard slippery surface which led the referee to decide on a pow wow in the centre circle after fifteen minutes. The details were never made clear but most spectators believed that Mr Schumacher was offering either team the chance to have the status of the game reduced to that of a friendly while scores remained level. Whatever the offer, neither captain, nor any of their players seemed to lodge any objection to continuing and the game was restarted to a huge cheer from the crowd that may well have led many passers by to believe that the home side had scored.

Five minutes later it was the visitors who carved out their best chance of the game when Andy Wilson’s cross needed any sort of contact from George Simpson to beat a helpless Roney. The forward, whose goal had won the cup the previous year was unable to make contact and the ball flew out to ‘Tadger’ Stewart whose drive was brilliantly stopped by the home keeper.

By now the Wednesday pressure was building and Norwich were being forced deeper and deeper with only sporadic counter attacks to relieve their defence. On twenty-five minutes the ball was cleared out to Young on the Norwich left who whipped in a cross which was food and drink for the Wednesday defender Harry Burton but as he went to meet the ball the surface played a part again. Burton slipped, the ball bounced over his outstretched leg, past the stranded keeper Jack Lyall who had been unable to react and then fell at the feet of James Bauchop, who found himself tapping the ball into an empty net from no more than two yards.

Norwich were in front through the softest of gifts but were made to spend the remaining twenty minutes of the first half in almost constant defence of their lead as Wednesday forced a succession of corners which resulted in some good saves from Roney and excellent last ditch defending, particularly from McEwan and Newlands.

The half time whistle brought only brief relief before the second period started in similar fashion with the visitors again forcing a rapid succession of corners which the Norwich defence managed to keep at bay. The homes side’s response was to try and get the ball out to Young and Muir on the wings as often as possible with the objective of just running until they ran out of field and with virtually no forward support from the likes of Bauchop and Tommy Allsopp, by now acting as emergency backs, that was all the two wingers could do.

The pattern of the game was set now as Wednesday’s attacks often led to frantic defending though rarely could they produce a clear cut opportunity while it was Norwich’s rare forays up field that caused general mayhem. First Young set up Muir whose cross found Bauchop with only the keeper to beat but Lyall proved solid enough making a good stop to keep Wednesday in the tie but with twenty-five minutes remaining Allsopp burst clear. There still seemed little danger as the Wednesday defence backtracked to cover any forwards while Allsopp was pushed wide by the England international Tom Brittleton but the tricky Norwich forward showed brilliant skill in the conditions to leave his classy opponent on his backside and before the hatchet man, Willie Layton could react, Allsopp let fly from thirty yards. Layton sent Allsopp crashing off the field but by the time the Norwich man rose to his feet he could see that his rasping drive had flown beyond the reach of Jack Lyall for a screamer of a second goal for the underdogs.

Few were prepared to take it for granted that two goals would be enough against a side of Wednesday’s quality and for the next ten minutes they battered on the door with both Wilson and Stewart producing fine saves from Roney, who now came into his own and when he forced Simpson to shoot wide from close range with a quarter of an hour left everyone in the ground felt the fight die out of the cup holders. Norwich continued to defend in depth but Wednesday’s attacks became more half hearted as heads dropped and aching limbs began to flag in the growing realisation that the cup holders were going out.

The travelling fans too realised that the Canaries’ chirp had been louder than the Owl’s hoot and began making for the exits, although strangely some of the home fans too decided that, with victory secure, it was now safe to make the journey back down Newmarket Road before darkness set in.

The overwhelming majority were going nowhere and the final whistle brought the now traditional pitch invasion followed by the chairing of the victorious Canaries back to the pavilion. Lost in the throng the stars of Wednesday slipped away to concentrate on a league campaign that would see them finish only fifth.

Newmarket Road had never had a day like it and nor would it ever again, the Canaries bowed out of the cup at second division Fulham in round two and in April they packed their bags and moved to the infamous Nest with its cliff face of a stand. Newmarket Road’s last cup tie was its most famous, the stands were dismantled and what could be salvaged was transferred to the new venue while the ground became an open field again, which today still hosts sports as the playing fields of a nearby school.

Jimmy McEwan left Norwich at the end of the season to start a thirty year coaching association at Arsenal that saw him at Highbury during the great Herbert Chapman era. He passed away in 1942.

 

Norwich City team: Roney, Newlands, Jimmy 'Punch' McEwan {Capt & Manager}, Archie Livingstone, Bushell, Hutchison, Bobby Muir, Taylor, Young, James Bauchop, Tommy Allsopp

 

Sheffield Wednesday team: Jack Lyall, Willie Layton, Harry Burton, Tom Brittleton, Tommy Crawshaw {Capt}, Billy Bartlett, Harry Chapman, Frank Bradshaw, Andy Wilson, Jimmy 'Tadger' Stewart, George Simpson {Manager-Arthur Dickinson}

Referee- J R Schumacher {London}

Linesmen- F A Graham {Suffolk} & F A Clarke {Essex}

Sheffield Wednesday

1908

Thanks to http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/ for background image use