The Giant Killers

Subtitle

 

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 22

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Northampton Town

Fourth round

Saturday January 27th 1934

Leeds Road, Huddersfield

Attendance:  28,423

Scorers: Tommy Boyle 56 mins, Tom Wells 60 mins

Ranked at the time: 4

Paul Whiteman's orchestra backed Bob Lawrence as he scored a hit with Jerome Kern's 'Smoke gets in your eyes' while Miriam Hopkins was having trouble choosing between lovers, Gary Cooper and Frederic March in the comedy movie, 'Design for living'. Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists rally in Birmingham attracted 10,000 people while Nazi Germany signed a ten year non aggression pact with Poland.

When the draw for the fourth round of the F A cup was broadcast at lunchtime on Monday January 15th 1934 there must have been a fair few listeners in the towns of Northampton and Huddersfield who gave a wry smile when the sides were paired. Just nine days earlier the man responsible for turning both club's greatest eras had passed away suddenly. Herbert Chapman would be best remembered as the man who won Arsenal their first trophy and laid the foundations of the club who remain to this day among the biggest in the land but he had learned his managerial craft at Northampton's County Ground, teaching the half backs to drop off the forwards and encouraging full backs to play their way out of trouble. Having transformed Northampton into Southern League Champions he stepped up into Football League management, starting at Leeds before arriving at Huddersfield where he guided them to back to back League titles. A cup tie between the two sides within three weeks of his death was a fitting tribute.

That said, the clash was far from cut and dried as both sides still had third round replays to overcome. Northampton, by now a Third Division South team, had done well to draw at Southampton while Huddersfield had survived a banana skin at Plymouth.

Huddersfield were up first in their replay at Leeds Road where the gallant Pilgrims were swept aside 6-2. clocking up yet another victory in a run that would stretch to eleven games unbeaten by the time the terriers took the field to face Northampton. The Cobblers, as Northampton are known, went out the following day and weathered a storm from Southampton before edging the tie by the only goal in the presence of a seemingly unimpressed Huddersfield manager, Clem Stephenson. 

Northampton had joined the Football League twelve years earlier in its Third Division Southern section but had only ever come close to promotion once during their stay, spending most seasons among the mid table also rans. Jack English, a cup winner as a player with Sheffield United, was in his third season as manager at the County Ground, and had continued to keep the club on an even keel, lying twelfth in the table with just one defeat in thirteen games. English would also have the pleasure of picking a full strength team for their trip to Leeds Road and there was no little excitement when they boarded the train at St John's Street early on the evening before the game to make their way to Leeds where they were scheduled to spend the night.

Among the Cobbler's players who checked into the Griffin Hotel was a former cup winner in their best known player Tommy Boyle, whose day of glory had been when with Sheffield United nine years earlier. In addition they had the thirty-six year old veteran goalkeeper, Tommy Allen who had been rated among the best keepers in the country when snapped up by Sunderland at the end of the Great War only for the Rokerites to forget to renew his registration at the end of the season. Allen had made his way to Southampton after that where he had been a star in their memorable cup slaying of Newcastle in 1927. Joining them were the usual group of budding youngsters and journeyman old hands hoping to get their shot in the spotlight the following day.

The Griffin Hotel was a busy place that Friday evening as the Northampton players and officials gathered in the hotel bar to find that their counterparts, last season's beaten cup finalists, Manchester City were encamped in the same hotel before their cup tie engagement at Hull.

After a week of heavy rain the Northampton players woke on Saturday morning to find Leeds bathed in sunshine, albeit lacking in any heat and accompanied with a stiff breeze. The players then enjoyed a relaxing morning, again accompanied by their Manchester City colleagues at breakfast before the two sets of players checked out to make their respective journeys in opposite directions. For the record City survived a scare before winning the replay and ultimately going on to lift the cup itself in April.

The Cobblers were again set for the train station where they this time took the short journey to Huddersfield, arriving at Leeds Road an hour before kick off. As has always been the custom the players came out to check out the pitch but any idea that top tier football would bring a better quality field were quickly dispelled when the Northampton players found the conditions very heavy underfoot on a pitch with virtually no grass on it.

Even at that stage the ground was starting to fill with expectant Huddersfield fans who were joined half an hour before kick off by the throng of visiting Northampton excursionists, cranking up the noise and excitement with their presence as kick off time approached. And the attendance had grown to almost thirty thousand by the time the Huddersfield players took the field in their familiar blue and white striped shirts, looking every bit the title contenders they were.

Club captain, Roy Goodall was not leading his team mates out however. The former England captain and last survivor of all three of Huddersfield's title winning teams of the 1920s failed a fitness test the previous day and was considered a great blow to the home side. Despite this, Huddersfield's eleven included three other former England internationals, Hugh Turner, Aussie Campbell and Alf Young while George McLean knew better than any of his team mates what thoughts would be going through their Third Division opponents as he had been part of the Bradford Park Avenue side that had seen off Everton in 1923 and Derby in 1930.

Moments after the title chasers took the field, came the Cobblers, led out by Tom Crilly to tackle the daunting task of trying to be the only side other than Arsenal to win a post war cup tie at Leeds Road. Fine chance felt most of the home fans, though the most common pre match description of what they expected was a dour encounter.

The first two or three minutes of the match threatened to deliver the worst fears of the travelling Northampton fans as Huddersfield came out of the starting gate very quickly had the visiting defenders at panic stations as they patiently worked the ball between them to carve out an opening that Mangnall stabbed two yards wide of Allen's post.

The Cobblers survived a frantic first few minutes of pressure before forcing their first corner of the game and when Tommy Boyle met it, firing narrowly over the bar. It generated a hushed surprise from the home fans and brought a great spell of play for the visitors that really rattled the Huddersfield backs, especially when Henson's drive forced a diving save from Turner that he could only gather at the second attempt.

It had been a frantic opening ten minutes with nervous moments for both sides but now the game settled down just a little to turn into a very good game where the Third Division side gave as good as they got. It was Huddersfileld who naturally created the better chances and Tommy Allen produced two great saves to deny Mangnall and McLean.

Huddersfield's confident but often overcomplicated football continued to carry the greater threat during the remainder of the first half but Northampton's more direct style ensured that the home side could never impose themselves on the game in the way they had hoped. A string of corners and half chances came and went in the final minutes before the interval as Huddersfield built up a head of steam only for the half time whistle to break their momentum.

The second half started as exciting as the first but this time it was Northampton who came out all guns blazing, forcing two corners in the first minute and although both were dealt with by the Huddersfield backs, the first shouts of frustration started coming from the stands to put the underdogs in their place. Huddersfield continued to try but Northampton's defence continued to hold firm and keep the title challengers at arms length while looking the more dangerous of the two teams going forward. 

Eleven minutes into the second period a Tom Wells shot was deflected wide for the visitors third corner of the half and this time Northampton's wildest dreams were about to be realised. The corner was whipped in close to goal and was completely misjudged by Huddersfield keeper, Turner. Tommy Boyle had gambled on it and met the ball with a powerful header to bulge the unguarded net and silence Leeds Road. Amazingly, with just over half an hour to play, Northampton had broken the deadlock. Of course not all of Leeds Road went silent, 1,000 travellers from Northampton went barmy.

{Image left: Tommy Boyle rises to head Northampton in front. inset:Tom Wells: Daily Express}

And if the ground was stunned by that then it was completely blown away when Northampton doubled their lead four minutes later with a great move from one end to the other. Fred Dawes aimed a long clearance out to Andy Mitchell whose drilled cross found George Henson who slid the ball past the challenge or Roughton into the path of Tom Wells who lashed a drive past the helpless Turner.

Northampton continued to dominate as their football just got better and better and Henson and Wells could both have put the game out of reach in the next few minutes but Huddersfield survived any further damage and, with the Northampton players starting to tire, they began to create their most clear cut chances of the game.

Dave Mangnall, a player whose name would one day resonate in giant killing folklore, was the chief villain in this tie as he squandered a trio of great chances to bring the home side back into the game, the best of those seeing him going one on one with Tommy Allen before getting caught in two minds and virtually passing the ball to the grateful keeper.

It created one of a series of groans from the despairing home fans as they watched the side who had started the day as favourites to win the trophy slowly slide out of the competition. Even with more than five minutes left their fate was sealed and every touch of the ball from a Northampton player was met with cheers from the visiting fans. To their credit the home fans stayed until the bitter end, even though the final minutes saw a brief revival from the visitors as they pushed for a third goal without ever going close.

Sportingly the Huddersfield fans rose at the final whistle to applaud their conquerors and the well trodden phrase was said by many "Now we can concentrate on the League." Sadly for Huddersfield fans the team couldn't quite manage to bring the title back to Leeds Road, slumping to defeat in their next game at Stoke. They recovered enough to top the table with seven games remaining but a defeat at Arsenal in April proved ultimately costly as they finished runners up to the Gunners by three points.

Northampton's reception upon their return to the town had a little extra than any other returning giant killers with the news awaiting Andy Mitchell that while he had been setting up The Cobbler's second goal, his wife had been giving birth to twin sons. No player could ever have been given such a great reminder of his exploits in a giant killing.

The draw for the fifth round of the cup was a little unkind to the giant killers as Northampton were again drawn away, this time to second division promotion chasing Preston. Having knocked out a team such as Huddersfield there was real hope that The Cobblers could keep their cup run going into the quarter finals but Jimmy McGuire lucklessly put through his own goal early on and they never recovered, going down 0-4.

After the cup run Northampton's season was fizzling out when they managed to win all of their final four games to get the fans speculating what the club might achieve in the following season. The truth was that they did very little and manager Jack English moved on before the season was over, though his successor, former cup final winner, Syd Puddefoot fared little better as the team consistently finished in the lower half of the Third tier. It would be twenty-four years before the fans would see the Cobblers pull off another cupset.

Veteran keeper Tommy Allen came in for particular praise for his performance against Huddersfield but his stay at the County Ground was a brief one, although he also marked the milestone of his 500th league appearance while there. Allen stepped down into non league football at the end of the season, giving Kidderminster Harriers and Cradley Heath two years each. He retired in 1938 and settled in Coventry where he died in 1968, aged 71.

Full back Fred Dawes rejoined his brother and former Northampton striker Albert at Crystal Palace in 1936 where he went on to be a club favourite and captain before his career was interrupted by the war, in which he served as a special constable. On the resumption of football he became the first player to have clocked up over one hundred league appearances both pre and post war. Fred hung up his boots in 1949 and became Palace manager in 1950 when the club was at the foot of the league. Dawes lasted less than a year in the position as he was unable to turn the club's fortunes around. 

Dawes full back partner, club captain Tom Crilly left The County ground in the summer of 1935 to take up the role as player manager of non league Scunthorpe & Lindsay United and was also the first coach at the club given the role of picking the team. Sadly, like Dawes, his tenure as the boss wasn't a happy one and he parted company with the club in 1937.

Striker George Henson later moved back into the big time with Sheffield United and carried on playing after the war with his local club Stoney Stratford but of all the Northampton players on duty at Huddersfield it was centre half Jimmy McGuire who reached the very top of the game, though not on field. The Scotsman would regularly spend his summers playing football in the United States before finally leaving Northampton behind in 1936 to play across the Atlantic full time. He won the American version of the F A cup as a player with Brooklyn St Mary's Celtic in 1938, hanging up his boots at the end of that season. McGuire moved into administration and in 1947 rose to be elected President of the American Soccer League and then President of the National Association in 1952, by which time he had already been inducted into the USA soccer hall of fame. Although he only held the role of President for two years he remained a leading figure in the game in the United States for another two decades, overseeing the boom of the ultimately ill fated NASL. In 1971 he was again elected President of the United States Soccer Federation and became part of the organising committee for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. The man who had gone from centre half in a giant killing to organising a World cup final passed away later that year.

Huddersfield: 1: Hugh Turner, 2: George Roughton, 3:Reg Mountford, 4: Ken Willingham, 5: Aussie Campbell, 6: Alf Young, 7: Jackie Williams, 8: Andy McLean, 9: Dave Mangnall, 10: Charlie Luke, 11:Wilf Bott

Northampton: 1: Tommy Allen, 2: Fred Dawes, 3: Tommy Crilly, 4: Frank Davies, 5:Riches, 6: Jimmy McGuire, 7: Tom Wells, 8: Danny Tolland, 9: George Henson, 10: Tommy Boyle, 11: Andy Mitchell

1934

Huddersfield Town

Northampton Town

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