Matchday Memories: On This Day 1971 – Cantwell’s City Topple The Tangerines

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CCFC’s Manager, Noel Cantwell

On this day (13th February) in 1971 the City’s gaffer Noel Cantwell saw his Division One side take on Blackpool at Highfield Road in blustery conditions before what turned out to be the lowest home crowd of the season (18,643).

This was the season they had their first (and, as yet, only) experience of European competition (in the UEFA Cup). They also made the Fifth Round of the F.A.Cup eventually going out to Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 at White Hart Lane. The Tangerines looked doomed having only won once in their last 23 games (though that was against CCFC by the lone goal at Bloomfield Road the previous December)!

John in the Sky Blue

Willie in the Sky Blue

After a lack-lustre goalless first half the Sky Blues nosed in front on the hour through a 25 yarder from John O’Rourke which went in off the post. Willie Carr then clinched it five minutes before the final whistle with a rising drive to guarantee city the points.

Cantwell’s CCFC lined up:-

Bill Glazier, Wilf Smith, Geoff Strong*, Ernie Machin*, Jeff Blockley, Bobby Parker, Dennis Mortimer, Willie Carr, Neil Martin, John O’Rourke* and Dave Clements.

John Craven in the Sky Blue

Only Geoff from amongst this Sky Blue team did not go on to join this Association. Sadly, Geoff, Ernie and scorer John have since passed away as has future Sky Blue John Craven in the Blackpool side that day.

Bob Stokoe‘s Blackpool Boys lined up as follows:-

Adam Thomson, Henry Mowbray, William Bentley, Peter Suddaby, Edward James, David Hatton, Anthony Green, Fred Kemp, John Craven, Fred Pickering (sub. Micky Burns) and Tony Coleman       Referee:- I. Jones.

Future Sky Blues (both now CCFPA members) ‘goalie Neil Ramsbottom and City legend Tommy Hutchison were members of the Blackpool squad at this time.

The seasiders were doomed to finish bottom of Division One by the end of the 1970-71 season eleven points adrift of safety (Burnley accompanied them in the drop). The Sky Blues had a comfortable tenth place finish and Arsenal took the title from Leeds United by just a point.

The Sky Blues European campaign had kicked off with a two leg victory over Bulgarian side Trakia Plovdiv but they went out on aggregate to crack German side Bayern Munchen. They suffered a 6-1 reverse in Munich before beating the Germans 2-1 at Highfield Road in November 1970.

Thanks to CCFPA’s Mike Young (& Dean Nelson) for sourcing the images.


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