AHEAD of Stratford Town’s Evo-Stik CSS League Challenge Cup final against Cinderford Town tonight, Tuesday, Martin Kenny delves into the history books to look back at when the Blues won the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1963.
The 1963 Birmingham Senior Cup final victory has provided the most significant trophy in Town’s history, however, then manager Alan Wakeman was unable to witness the semi-final and final because he was at the bedside of his wife, who was seriously ill with cancer.
Town had overcome the odds to beat full-time professional outfit Kidderminster Harriers at home in a comprehensive 4-0 semi-final victory.
The threat from the Harriers was seen off by a hat-trick from Johnny Bent and a strike from Sid Keenan.
Town were also the underdogs in the final when they came up against another full-time outfit in the shape of Lockheed Leamington and the players went into the game with a point to prove, and determined to achieve success for Wakeman who could not be there.
Lockheed Leamington, known as the Brakes to this day, had not conceded a goal in getting to the final, but they were surprised by quality of Town’s attacking football.
The Herald gave praise for the ‘barnstorming Sid Keenan who scored two glorious goals in the 32nd and 66th minutes’.
The report continued: “But this was another team triumph with the defence in splendid form and the forwards always dangerous as they set swiftly into attacks.”
Although the Brakes scored a late goal through Pete Newbery two minutes from the end, this was always going to be Town’s day.
The Herald added: “Jubilant Stratford fans in the big crowd were in raptures as skipper Bill Rowley stepped up to pick up the trophy from Birmingham County FA chairman George Dutton.”
The scale of the achievement can be recognised by the fact this was only the second amateur team to win the trophy.
The team that lifted the Birmingham Senior Cup were Mick Stowe, Barry Reece, Mick Gerry, Brian Merrett, Rowley, Alan Gardner, Keenan, Colin Hillman, Bent, Graham Jessop and Johnny Morris.
At the end of season dinner it was announced that captain Bill Rowley had at last been selected for the Birmingham County FA side.
Reference was also made to the contribution of Wakeman who had offered to resign as he could not make the final, but the board and club were determined this would not happen and against all the odds Town lifted the Birmingham Senior Cup.