The Giant Killers

Subtitle

Giant Killers

 1984

1983 - 1985 

Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United


Third Round: Saturday January 7th 1984


Attendance: 14,782


Scorers: Milton Graham {60}, Ian Thompson {62}


Ranked at the time: 5


Bournemouth:  1: Ian Leigh, 2: Everard La Ronde, 3: Chris Sulley, 4: Robbie Savage, 5: Roger Brown, 6: Phil Brignull, 7: Ray Train, 8: Mark Nightingale, 9: Trevor Morgan, 10: Milton Graham, 11: Ian Thompson. Manager: Harry Redknapp


Manchester United:  1: Gary Bailey, 2: Remi Moses, 3: Arthur Albiston (Replaced by 12: Lou Macari-half time), 4: Ray Wilkins, 5: Graeme Hogg, 6: Mike Duxbury, 7: Brian Robson, 8: Arnold Muhren, 9: Frank Stapleton, 10: Norman Whiteside, 11: Arthur Graham. Manager: Ron Atkinson


West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Plymouth Argyle

Fifth Round: Saturday February 18th 1984

Attendance: 23,795

Scorer: Tommy Tynan {58}    

Ranked at the time:124

Plymouth Argyle fans hadn’t enjoyed a fifth round cup tie for over thirty years and it was also more than twenty years since the club’s only ever victory against top flight opposition so the city was deep in cup fever when drawn away to West Bromwich Albion.  Both clubs were in very similar positions in their respective Divisions. Albion had started the decade as one of the most exciting sides in the land under Ron Atkinson but his departure to Manchester United saw his team break up and Albion start a revolving door of managers of which Johnny Giles was the third in two years. This would be the Irishman’s first game in charge as he found himself with a side that appeared to be just about doing enough to keep their heads above the relegation waters. That was despite having secured the services of Tony Morely and Ken McNaught from Aston Villa’s 1982 European Champion team. Albion came onto the field with only their fourth round cup win over Third Division Rotherham to show for their last five games but their fans expected that a new manager could spark the Albion players into a performance to impress their new boss.

Plymouth too looked to be on the up at the start of the decade, establishing themselves as a solid Third Division side without properly troubling the promotion chase under Bobby Moncur. Relations between the manager and the board became difficult when Moncur’s requests to sign John Aldridge from Newport were answered by them signing Tommy Tynan instead. When Moncur’s side failed to win any of their first five games of the ’83-’84 season, the board had the opportunity to dismiss him, ironically after he had secured his first win of the season in game six. The Plymouth board turned to a club cult hero to replace him. John Hore was in the Pilgrims team that reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 1974 but had very little experience as a manager. Results in the Third Division remained indifferent but there was a Christmas present of a passage into the third round of the F A cup via an extra time win against League rivals, Southend in round one and a tricky second round victory over Non-League Barking. As fate would have it, their opponents were Newport, complete with John Aldridge who had scored both goals in Newport’s League victory over Plymouth at Christmas. Aldridge appeared to have haunted Plymouth yet again as his goal separated the sides deep into stoppage time when Argyle were awarded a last gasp penalty. The sense of irony wasn’t lost on anyone when Tommy Tynan stepped up and earned his side a replay, which Argyle won. A home tie against struggling Fourth Division Darlington was a hugely disappointing one for the fans but also gave the Pilgrims a fantastic opportunity to reach their first fifth round tie in a generation. It was an opportunity they grasped with both hands to book their trip to The Hawthorns. In the presence of their most famous fan, former Labour leader, Michael Foot and 4,999 other Devonians they outfought their First Division hosts and deservedly took the lead in a manner that summed up the game. A hopeful punt from Leigh Cooper should have easily been dealt with by Albion defender, Clive Whitehead or keeper, Paul Baron but both were hesitant and allowed Gordon Staniforth to steal in and nick the ball from between them before crossing it back for Tommy Tynan. It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes from just inside the penalty area but it was enough to squeeze inside the post and give Argyle a deserved lead. It was also a lead that Albion barely threatened until the last few minutes of the game. Even then they created only half chances and as the visiting players ran over to celebrate with their delirious band of travelling fans, the Albion players were deservedly booed off the field to face a run in that saw them do just enough to stay up.

Argyle were in the hat for their first ever cup quarter final and when paired at home with Second Division Derby County, there was real belief that they could go on again and reach the semi-finals. The Rams had fallen a long way since being crowned League Champions a decade earlier. Their chances of surviving relegation to the Third Division were fading with every game but there was an even larger danger that the club might not even survive to the season’s end as huge tax debts and a high court winding up order hung over them. Of all eight quarter finalists, none needed an F A cup final appearance more than Derby. And yet, despite this and a side that included a fair helping of aging legends such as Archie Gemmill, they escaped from Home Park only by the barest of margins and a freak strike late in the game from Staniforth that struck one post and appeared to defy physics to stay out of the goal, strike the other post and get cleared to safety. The replay was settled by another freak where this time fortune lay in Plymouth’s favour when Andy Roger’s corner was misjudged by Derby keeper, Steve Cherry and allowed to sail into the far corner of his net.

Plymouth were now set for the biggest day in their eighty year history while Hore and his players found themselves in the middle of a huge media spotlight. Fans queued for hours to get tickets for their semi-final meeting with First Division Watford at Villa Park. The Hornets had themselves never reached a cup final and that record gave Plymouth fans real belief that they could succeed where the five previous Third Division semi-finalists had failed and reach Wembley. Plymouth brought a huge support to the Midlands and played their part in a colourful day but the cup has always proved a cruel mistress to Third Division semi-finalists. Watford scored with their only clear cut opportunity while Kevin Hodges came inches away from forcing extra time late in the game. Watford manager, Graham Taylor would remind Hodges years later that he had many a nightmare thinking of how close he came to denying Watford their day at Wembley.

Plymouth’s cup run papered over the cracks in the League season, which now left them dangerously close to relegation. Three precious wins in their final four games saved them but John Hore’s team made a very poor start to the following season and in December he was relieved of his position. While at Home Park he had predicted that Argyle’s David Phillips was a future First Division player. In 1987, Phillips would climb the thirty-nine steps to collect a cup winner’s medal with Coventry.

 

Albion: 1:Paul Barron, 2:Clive Whitehead, 3:Derek Statham, 4:Romeo Zondervan, 5:Ken McNaught, 6:Martyn Bennett, 7:Martin Jol, 8:Garry Thompson, 9:Mick Perry {replaced by 12:Noel Luke}, 10:Steve MacKenzie,11:Tony Morley, Manager:Johnny Giles

Plymouth: 1:Geoff Crudginton, 2:Gordon Nisbet, 3:John Uzzell, 4:Chris Harrison, 5:Lindsay Smith, 6:Leigh Cooper, 7:Kevin Hodges, 8:David Phillips, 9:Tommy Tynan, 10:Gordon Staniforth, 11:Andy Rogers, Manage:John Hore