The Giant Killers

Subtitle

All time greatest F A cup giant killings


Numbers 30 & 80

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Bournemouth


Fourth Round


Saturday January 26th 1957


Attendance: 42,011


Molineux, Wolverhampton


Scorer: Reg Cutler {38}


Harold MacMillan succeeded Anthony Eden as Prime Minister, The Queen granted her husband, Duke of Edinburgh, the title of Prince, The toddler’s truce, a one hour TV closedown from 6pm-7pm to allow children to be put to bed, was abolished. Victor Mature took the title role of Afghan Warlord ‘Zarak’, fighting the British, led by Michael Wilding while Guy Mitchell never felt more like ‘Singin’ the Blues’

Down on the south coast, Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic were a Third Division South club that had never attracted a major national headline and, since joining the Football League in 1923, had rarely threatened bringing promotion to their Dean Court home.


Stability was the watchword, overseen by manager, Jack Bruton until he announced his plan to retire in 1956, sparking a search for a replacement. It was a perfect opportunity for a first managerial role and was snapped up by the West Bromwich Albion coach, Freddie Cox, who earlier in the decade had enjoyed both League and cup success as an Arsenal player.

The team he inherited contained a string of former First Division players, all of whom had struggled to make it at the highest level. Harry Hughes had briefly worn Chelsea blue before arriving, initially on loan in 1952, the same year Stan Newsham gave up waiting to get a game at Bolton and Irish International keeper, Tommy Godwin came from Second Division Leicester. Joe Brown was another top-flight fringe player at Burnley before signing in the summer of 1954 while Reg Cutler was a player Cox was already familiar with. He’d been restricted to just five West Brom games before leaving the Hawthorns a year before his coach followed. Among the remainder of Cox’s new team were a string of lower division stalwarts, Lew Clayton from QPR, Nelson Stiffle from Chesterfield and Ollie Norris, stepping up from non-league Football. They also had a little bit of Caribbean spice in defender, Arnold Wollard.


Cox had little time to add to his squad before the start of his first season in charge, bringing in two humble signings of Brian Bedford and Mike Lyons from divisional rivals, Southampton and Bristol Rovers. Despite an inconsistent start to the campaign, Bournemouth began climbing the table to lie in a decent fourth place in November, with the potential to possibly mount a promotion bid, something the club had only ever really come close to once, eight years earlier.


Mid November also saw the start of the FA cup with a visit to Dean Court from Birmingham League minnows, Burton Albion, a club formed just six years earlier. The Brewers were no match for Cox’s full timers with an Ollie Norris hat-trick leading the charge in an 8-0 demolition job.

Three weeks later came a much stiffer task with a visit to struggling divisional rivals, Swindon in the second round. The reverse fixture had been played in the League with an emphatic 7-0 victory for Bournemouth. This time it was a much tenser affair at the County Ground, settled by an early Reg Cutler goal, a late missed penalty from the home side and, as Brian Bedford later recalled, some less than sporting tactics from the winning visitors. “We had a player injured so Cox stuck him out on the wing and we just kept playing the ball up to him, knowing he would be offside. It was effective but not very sporting.”

Having fought their way into the hat with the big guns, it was slightly disappointing for Bournemouth to be handed a third-round visit from Third Division North title chasing Accrington. However, it did offer them a great opportunity to progress into round four, which they took with a second half brace.


Cup fever struck two days later when the fourth-round draw handed the Cherries a bumper fourth round day out at high flying Wolves. That was all it was meant to be as one newspaper flippantly described the tie as easy for the First Division side. Under the guidance of former club captain, Stan Cullis, Wolves produced the greatest team in their history around legendary club captain, Billy Wright. Having won the cup in 1949, he and team mates, keeper, Bert Williams and winger Jimmy Mullen were joined by Peter Broadbent and Ron Slater to form the backbone of the club’s first title winning side in 1954 along with the emerging Ron Flowers and Eddie Stuart. Success in Old Gold still lay ahead for Gerry Harris and Colin Booth while only two of the side selected by Cullis would never win a major honour at Molineux, Joe Bonson and Harry Hooper, the latter playing in his only season for the Midlanders. Most were household names and Internationals with a then huge combined cost of £300,000. Bournemouth’s starting eleven cost £3,000.


A Buoyant Freddie Cox wasn’t daunted and told the press his team would do the Third Division proud. He was even more certain with his team. He told them he had a plan and if they executed it, they wouldn’t just do the division proud, they would slay the giants in their own den. Bournemouth went on the instant offensive as they set about putting Cox’s plan into action in a breathless opening to the match that was brought to a crashing halt after just six minutes when Reg Cutler shot narrowly wide before crashing into a post. Cutler later recalled “I was racing along fast and jumped at the net to try and stop myself. As I hung on the post, everything came down on me.” The frame of the goal snapped, causing huge amusement among the spectators as they watched the comical attempts to make repairs so the match could continue.


Below: Reg Cutler [white shorts] hobbles away from the altercation but there's no doubt the post has come off worst.

For Wolves, a seven-minute delay in play appeared to be a timely distraction that would dampen the spirited start from the visitors. If anything, the opposite happened as the First Division stars seemed disjointed by the break. Keeper, Bert Williams would be found at fault more than once in a poor first half display that gave him two huge let offs. First, Billy Wright had to scramble back and clear the danger after the England custodian was dispossessed outside his goal by Ollie Norris. Then he was rescued by the crossbar when Nelson Stiffle cleverly lobbed him when again far from his post.


Although Bournemouth were creating the better chances, their failure to score suggested they would ultimately be punished with both Peter Broadbent and Jimmy Mullen going close for the home side. Until the 38th minute when Nelson Stiffle’s cross dared Williams to make one gamble too many. Hesitating before going for the ball too late, the keeper was beaten to the cross by Reg Cutler who easily found the net from barely five yards.


Wolves immediately pressed for a quick response before the break and, in a desperate goalmouth scramble, they almost snatched their equaliser. Instead they were left to play out the final few seconds of the first half a man short as Bill Slater had to be carried from the field, clearly in some distress. There was much for Wolves to worry about at the break as there was real concern Slater wouldn’t be able to resume. Meanwhile the fans got some unlikely entertainment over their half time Bovril as the ground staff desperately tried to improve on their makeshift goal repairs.

Sure enough the home side were forced to kick off the second period with ten men, although a clearly handicapped Slater returned to the scene a couple of minutes into the game, taking his place as a wing passenger. Even more worryingly was that his re-entrance came with Gerry Harris now also prone with what proved to be just a minor knock.

The second half would turn into the Harry Hooper versus Tommy Godwin show as the Wolves frontman began to wonder what he had to do to beat the visiting keeper. Perhaps it was the fact that this was the first time Godwin’s father had ventured across the Irish Sea to watch his son in action but the Irishman was inspired with a string of excellent saves. Bournemouth as a team stayed strong too to restrict Wolves to as few clear chances as possible but Hooper was proving too hot to handle.


As the game moved into it’s dying embers came the best chance when Hooper unleashed a rasping drive. The crowd rose as one to hail their hero’s salvation but Godwin was not to be denied and produced a spectacular save. Hooper could only shake his head in disbelief and for many on the field it was as much as a sign that this was surely Bournemouth’s day.

At the final whistle the Bournemouth players took the unusual step of mobbing a bemused referee. Fortunately, there weren’t any contentious decisions to highlight their slightly bizarre behaviour in dancing him off the pitch. Back in the dressing room, Reg Cutler delighted in the fact he’d grown up always wanting to have played at Molineux before lifting a mud caked boot to pose kissing it. Stan Newsham meanwhile revealed the secret to the success of what the newsmen now dubbed Cox’s Pippins. “The way the boss explained things was like being given a blueprint of play. I was amazed by the way it came off.”


. “The way the boss explained things was like being given a blueprint of play. I was amazed by the way it came off.”

Stan Newsham

The Bournemouth directors quickly joined their heroes in the dressing room to take part in the celebrations before allowing the players a hastily arranged champagne and chicken dinner at a local country hotel. Dean Court was buzzing when the squad reported for training on Monday. Not only were they all over the back pages of almost every newspaper in the land but also had the excitement of the fifth-round draw on the radio at lunchtime. And with only fellow giant-killers, Millwall remaining from outside the top two divisions, the prospects of another bumper draw was high, especially with all three teams ranked higher than Wolves in the First Division still in the competition.


Below: Manager, Freddie Cox, lays out his plans for the visiting Spurs. Fortunately it involved using more than just the nine men.

One of that trio would have been the dream draw so the roar from the dressing room when paired with second placed Tottenham at Dean Court was huge. Unlike Wolves, Tottenham’s title, and indeed League and Cup double ambitions were very much a realistic prospect. The men from White Hart Lane lay just four points adrift of Manchester United but, unknown to most outside North London, all wasn’t as good as it seemed at the title chasing club.


Spurs had won their only previous League title under Arthur Rowe in 1951 before he was forced to retire due to ill health in 1955. Long time coach, Jimmy Anderson stepped up with recently retired club captain, Bill Nicholson as his assistant. Anderson’s first season was hugely disappointing as Spurs slumped down the table but reached the semi finals of the cup. Now the pressure was well and truly on to deliver one or both trophies this season.


Only goalkeeper, Ted Ditchburn remained from the Champions of six years earlier but the current crop of players included Peter Baker, Mel Hopkins, Tony Marchi, Terry Medwin and Bobby Smith, all of whom would, in the future play their roles in Tottenham’s greatest ever team. They were also captained by the forthright Danny Blanchflower. A man who, to use a common phrase from his native Belfast, wasn’t a bit backward in coming forward. The personality clash between manager and captain was evident in the dressing room and added to the weight on Anderson’s shoulders.


For Bournemouth fans, the politics of their visiting giants was of little consequence. This was simply a team of exciting progressing players who could well be crowned League Champions in a couple of months’ time. And, at the time of the draw, Tottenham’s most recent road trip had been a humbling three goal defeat at, of all places, Wolves. Tickets went on sale during the home reserve game against Aldershot and 19,000 people tried to get in to buy them. That alone summed up the level of cup fever in the town. Needless to say, the gates were closed long before The Cherries and their white shirted illustrious opponents took to the field on fifth round day for what would be a breathless first half.

Bournemouth 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur


Fifth Round


Saturday February 16th 1957


Attendance: 25,892


Dean Court, Bournemouth


Scorers: {Bournemouth} Ollie Norris {13}, Stan Newsham {35}, Nelson Stiffle {50}: {Tottenham} Terry Medwin {14}

Tottenham started well and thought they’d taken the lead when Bobby Smith struck after ten minutes. His celebrations were quickly cut short for a linesman’s flag. Three minutes later and Reg Cutler’s hooked cross should have been dealt with by a static Ryden and Terry Medwin, both delaying to allow Ollie Norris to nip in and divert the ball goalward and past Ditchburn. Bournemouth were sensationally in front but Tottenham came back with a quick repost as Medwin got goal side of Wollard, having time to lash his shot past Godwin before Mick Lyons could intervene.

Barely a quarter of an hour on the clock and the tie was already at full throttle with Bournemouth clearly proving a match for the title contenders. The player annoying Tottenham the most was Ollie Norris. Especially with his clown like antics from throw ins as there was no rule preventing him from impeding the taker. Norris decided that every time Spurs had a throw, he would stand a few feet away from the taker and jump up and down. It called for several choice words from the bemused Tottenham players and was getting under their skin, especially when Norris decided to start haranguing Ditchburn every time he went to take a kick out.


Norris was more than a mere circus clown though and, when on the ball, had a trick or two for Tottenham in his locker. Ten minutes before the break he found a superb lofted cross into the box that begged Stan Newsham to head past Ditchburn with the scorer wondering how on earth he’d ever been given such time and space to score. And it was so nearly even better when Bran Bedford fired in a third two minutes before the interval only to see his goal chalked off for an infringement during the build-up.


Tottenham had probably enjoyed the lions share of the game but were leaving themselves dangerously exposed to the counter. And they’d already been warned in the early stages of the second half when Stiffle was given all the time in the world to run at Ditchburn’s goal before shooting tamely at the keeper. It proved just a taster as, five minutes into the second period, Stiffle got the better of Hopkins and raced in to fire a carbon copy of Medwin’s earlier goal at the same end.


Below: Heads you win. For Nelson Stiffle as he heads Bournemouth in front for the second time.

It was a killer cushion that Tottenham weren’t coming back from as they failed to place Bournemouth under the same pressure Wolves had applied in the previous round. It was a sheepish crew of white shirted stars that trudged off, heads bowed, to a guard of honour from the local constabulary as the Bournemouth players were mobbed and carried shoulder high from the field. Yet again they would be greeted by the directors to celebrate in the dressing room.


A magnanimous Danny Blanchflower was among the first into the victor’s quarters to congratulate the Third Division heroes, though he would be less than complimentary about his fellow countryman, Ollie Norris. When asked if he should be called up to represent Northern Ireland, Blanchflower, the National team captain responded, “Norris for Northern Ireland? He should be chosen for the London Palladium.” Norris later revealed about his jumping antics. “The first time I did it he [Blanchflower] told me to bugger off. Then he appealed to the referee who told him there was nothing in the rules against it. So, in the second half I started doing it to Ditchburn as well.” The rules about impeding a throw in or indeed a keeper would be changed in the near future.


Cox’s Pippins were now the last men standing from Division Three in the quarter finals and had captured the imagination of the nation. The quarter final draw was to be televised live on the Monday evening so Cox made the journey to Lime Grove to watch it in the studio. Every possibility was a big tie at this stage but the biggest fish in the pond was defending League Champions and current League leaders, Manchester United. Matt Busby’s babes were the megastars of English Football and maintained their four-point advantage over Spurs in their bid to retain their title. They were also the first English team ever to try and pursue a treble as they were also making a bid to win the European Cup and due to face the mighty Real Madrid in the semi-finals.


Freddie Cox made a surprise change before kick off when moving Ollie Norris inside from the wing in a bid to annoy United captain Roger Byrne the same way he had Blanchflower. And in the first half it looked as though the gods were indeed going to shine on Bournemouth again, although the loss of United’s Mark Jones to ligament damage after ten minutes wasn’t how anybody wanted to book a semi final spot.

The Cherries, this time in their change colours of white, then took the lead ten minutes before the interval when Ray Wood failed to deal with an in-swinging corner and pushed the ball against his own crossbar. Brian Bedford was barely two yards out and on hand to head the ball goalward. Byrne hacked the ball off the line but both he and referee, Mr Coultas knew it was a goal, despite the appeals from one or two of the United players.


With the Champions now half way out of the cup, the injured Jones re-emerged for the second half but lasted less than two minutes before the visiting reds continued on, a man short. For another fifteen minutes, the well drilled Cherrie’s back line continued to preserve their lead but more controversy surrounded the equaliser on the hour. As Dennis Violett played in Johnny Berry the entire Bournemouth back line stopped for a clearly offside Eddie Coleman but to their horror, Mr Coultas let the play continue, presumably feeling that Coleman wasn’t interfering with play. Berry didn’t stop and calmly slotted past the advancing Godwin,


There was still more controversy to come to settle the tie five minutes later when Berry’s trickery caused mayhem in the Bournemouth defence before the ball fell to Billy Whelan whose goal bound shot struck Joe Brown on the line. The United player’s strong appeals for a penalty were supported by Mr Coultas, much to the disbelief of Brown and thousands of fans. Tommy Godwin went the right way but wasn’t getting near Berry’s perfectly placed spot kick. 


Once United had the lead, there was little prospect of Bournemouth getting back into the game, even with a man advantage and the Champions put in a professional display in the closing stages to end Bournemouth’s dreams. United’s manager, Matt Busby was fulsome in his praise, calling it the toughest game United had faced this season, a sentiment backed by coach, Jimmy Murphy, stating it had been tougher than giving Atletico Madrid a two-goal start in their recent European cup quarter final. Back in the dressing room, Joe Brown was adamant in his protests that he hadn’t handled the ball. In one of the first instances of trial by Television, the BBC released a series of stills from their footage to the press to prove the ref had indeed got his decision right.


Below: No enough to get over the line: White Shirted Brian Bedford's close range header was enough to beat Ray Wood and Roger Byrne's late clearance but the goal wasn't enough to complete a hat-trick of memorable slayings.

United’s treble bid ultimately faltered, although they did retain their League title, while Tottenham had to settle for runners up with Wolves finishing sixth. Cox’s Pippins returned to their Third Division South campaign to finish fifth, in an age when only the champions gained promotion.


Over the course of the next five years, Freddie Cox and his team all moved on to other clubs in the lower tiers of the Football League with the exception of Tommy Godwin who ended his career at Dean Court in 1962. Cox himself left in 1958 for an unsuccessful spell at Portsmouth before steering an uninspiring Gillingham side to the Fourth Division title in 1964.


He returned to Dean Court for a second spell in charge in 1965 but in 1970 he oversaw the club’s first relegation to the Fourth Division. By then Nelson Stiffle and Ollie Norris had emigrated to Australia, Brian Bedford was becoming a popular figure at QPR where he became stadium manager after retiring. Joe Brown moved into management after hanging up his boots, briefly taking the reins at Burnley in the mid-1970s. Bournemouth fans wouldn’t see their like for another generation.


Wolverhampton: 1:Bert Williams, 2:Eddie Stuart, 3:Gerry Harris, 4:Bill Slater, 5:Billy Wright, 6:Ron Flowers, 7:Harry Hooper, 8:Colin Booth, 9:Joe Bonson, 10:Peter Broadbent, 11:Jimmy Mullen. Manager: Stan Cullis


Bournemouth: 1:Tommy Godwin, 2:Mike Lyons, 3:Arnold Wollard, 4:Lewis Clayton, 5:Harry Hughes, 6:Joe Brown, 7:Nelson Stiffle, 8:Ollie Norris, 9:Brian Bedford, 10:Stan Newsham, 11:Reg Cutler. Manager:Freddie Cox. Unchanged against Tottenham


Tottenham: 1:Ted Ditchburn, 2:Peter Baker, 3:Mel Hopkins, 4:Danny Blanchflower, 5:John Ryden, 6:Tony Marchi, 7:Terry Medwin, 8:Tommy Harmer, 9:Bobby Smith, 10:Alfie Stokes, 11:George Robb. Manager:Jimmy Anderson