Shaun Wilson

shaun.wilson1971@gmail.com

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The FA Amateur Cup was a competition for amateur clubs only.

It commenced in 1893 and ran until 1974 when the FA abolished official amateur status. Interest in the competition peaked soon after World War II, and the final was moved to Wembley Stadium where it attracted crowds of up to 100,000.

Before the war Ayresome Park had hosted the final on five occasions, and then after hostilities had ceased been used a further three times as the replay venue.

One of these came in 1956 when Bishop Auckland faced the famous Corinthian Casuals. The London side attempted to include in their side Surrey cricketer Mickey Stewart (father of Alec), who was on tour in the West Indies with England. After securing his release from the touring party he missed his connecting flight and despite chartering a plane himself he arrived too late to take part in the game.

Bishops star player Bob Hardisty was ruled unfit for the game but after a hastily convened meeting the decision was made for him to play.

Casuals opened the scoring after 34 minutes through Gerry Citron but Bishops levelled within 3 minutes when Derek Lewin equalised to send the 29,909 crowd into raptures.

After the interval it was one way traffic with Hardisty getting on the score sheet, along with a second from Lewin and on the full time whistle Tommy Stewart raced through to score and secure Bishops record ninth FA Amateur Cup win.

Featured above is a rare programme from the 1935 replay between Bishop Auckland and Wimbledon.

Unfortunately this was one of the most lacklustre finals, and the goal-less match certainly didn’t live up to expectations. So mundane was the game that the post-match headlines centred around the referee, who’s navy blue blazer was undistinguishable from the shirts of the Bishops’ players.

Confusion reigned amongst the players and one of the best chances in the first half was lost when Bishops’ Ray ‘Chick’ Bryan left the ball to the official.

At half-time after determined protests the referee changed his attire to a white cricket shirt!

The 23,335 crowd paid receipts of £1,552 and the County Durham side went onto win the replay 2-1 at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.