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Archived News from August 2005

12th August 2005 17:18

Torquay were elected to the old division 3 (S) only a few years before the Stags' election to the same section and stayed there all the time up to 1957-58 when the old divisions 3 and 4 were formed. The Gulls, having narrowly failed to gain promotion in to the old 2nd division in 1956-57, when only goal-average separated them and Ipswich Town, fared much worse in 1957-58 and as a result of that they became founder members of the old 4th division in 1958-59. Therefore the Gulls also played the Stags when they spent four seasons in the Southern section – and the teams have also played one expunged division 3 (S) game – a 2-2 draw at Plainmoor on September 2, 1939 (Stags scorers Akers and Ward), game NOT included in the stats below – competition then cancelled due to outbreak of the 2nd World War. And when league football was resumed in 1946-47, the teams also met early at Torquay. Again the game ended in a 2-2 draw! This happened on September 7, 1946 when Eric Bryant netted twice for the Stags. Bryant was a little more than two years later to become Yeovil hero big style by netting the winner in an epic FA Cup 4th round home fixture against Sunderland.

Since the 1966-67 season, the teams have met very frequently in the two lower divisions of the league as the teams were relegated together from the old 3rd division in 1971-72 despite both teams then beating the champs Aston Villa (Stags did it away 1-0 while the Gulls did that at home 2-1 ten days prior to the Stags winning 1-0 at Plainmoor that season). In the late sixties, Stags league fixtures against the Gulls both home and away were very successful as the Stags completed four doubles in a row over Torquay, the most important one in 1967-68 when the Stags won both fixtures 2-0, thus ensuring that the Gulls finished just three points below Bury in second promotion spot in the old third – long time it seemed that Torquay were to be runaway winners. The 2-0 home game on November 18, 1967, scorers Melling and Rowland, attendance 5295, ended a very barren spell with just one league point in nine league games – and the goal-less draw in 1971-72 was the last of nine consecutive home games without scoring.

A curiousity is that one of the Stags scorers at Plainmoor on April 13, 1968 was John Rowlands, who later was to play for the Gulls.

Twice, the Stags have run out 4-0 winners. First time on March 8, 1939 in front of just 800! spectators who saw Gardner and Carter net twice apiece and second time in 1985-86 – that clipping of the Gulls ensured the Stags going top of the old fourth division on October 26, 1985 when 3506 watched two goals from Whatmore, one each from Lowery and Chamberlain completing the rout. On the other hand, Torquay have also twice ran out 4-0 winners in home games. The first one on a Sunday, March 10, 1974 – after the Stags had drawn 1-1 at Exeter the day before – this arrangement was surely due to the fuel crisis in 1974 – and the second one as late as in April 2000 during the Stags longest-ever spell without scoring a league goal.

The teams have also something else in common – both knocking Leeds and West Ham out of cup competitions!
While the Stags KO'ed West Ham in the FA Cup in 1968-69 and Leeds in the League cup in 1994, Torquay's disposals were in the FA Cup 3rd round. Leeds were routed 4-0 at home in a replay after a 2-2 draw at Leeds in 1954-55, West Ham narrowly beaten 1-0 at home in 1989-90. Apart from that, the Gulls also made the Spurs play a second time in 1964-65 after a 3rd round 3-3 draw at Plainmoor.

Despite the long distance between the towns, yet quite a number of players have represented both sides. Among them are two former Stags managers, Keith Curle and George Foster. On the other hand, Don O'Riordan was Torquay hot-seat man between 1993 and 1995. And the manager of the first Stags championship side in 1974-75, Dave Smith, was in charge of the Gulls between 1989 and 1991 but left just before the end of the 1990-91 season and therefore wasn't in the hot seat when Torquay secured promotion after penalizing Blackpool at Wembley.

In the 2003-04 season, both sides were challenging the playoffs and auto promo positions. The clashes between the sides were narrow ones. Not for the first time, a clash between the clubs was a midweek fixture. And the one at Plainmoor on October 21, 2003, saw the writer of these lines among the spectators, due to holiday visiting Swedish friends in Plymouth at that time, and a few days later travelling up to Stagsland watching a mauling of Cheltenham. The game at Torquay was lost by the only goal of the game, while the game at Field Mill was one of the best that season. First postponed under controversial circumstances shortly before kick-off due to a deteriorating pitch – a decision that caused dismay to fans from both clubs – considering the fact that some Torquay supporters actually had made the long 248 miles trip from Devon to watch the fixture. The game was played a few weeks later – also a midweek tie. Eventually the Stags ran out 2-1 winners, all goals coming early in the first half, thence both sides had good opportunities to score. But the Gulls have only won at Field Mill on four occasions, the first one being in the Stags inaugural league season on September 12, 1931, which also was the Stags first-ever home league defeat to the tune of 2-4 despite two Harry Johnson goals, thus opening his Stags league goals account. Attendance then: 8499. The 1-2 on April 8, 1963 in the Stags first-ever promotion season was attended by 14259! And the Stags have scored in all but three home fixtures against Torquay in league history – all being goal-less draws. And the one with the most goals at Field Mill was also the Stags first home league game this century with the Stags running out 4-3 winners – first win this century – with Boulding (2), Darrell Clarke and Chris Greenacre contributing in front of 2876.

Both sides normally in yellow come fresh from 0-1 defeats, the Stags a frustrating one at Field Mill to Rushden & Diamonds, the Gulls at Oxford.

Played for both sides: William Bell, Dave Caldwell, Gary Chapman, Keith Curle, Charlie Davis, Derek Dawkins, O'Neill Donaldson, Dick Edwards, John Fairbrother, Fred Fisher, George Foster, Tommy Le Grice, Ian Hathaway, Arjan van Heusden, Joseph Hill, David Hodges, Walter Hunt, Harry Keeling, Pat Kruse, John Matthews, Tom Mitchinson, Don O'Riordan, Arthur Phoenix, Jason Rees, Darren Rowbotham, John Rowlands, Mark Sale, Arthur Weightman, Keith Welch.

Managed both sides: Dave Smith.

Home games: P 30, W 19, D 7, L 4, GF 56, GA 30
Away games: P 30, W 9, D 10, L 11, GF 30, GA 39

Season Home Date Away Date

1931-32 2-4 1931-09-12 2-2 1932-01-23 Div 3 (S)
1937-38 1-1 1937-09-18 1-0 1938-01-29 Div 3 (S)
1938-39 4-0 1939-03-08 0-3 1939-04-15 Div 3 (S)
1946-47 1-0 1947-01-04 2-2 1946-07-09 Div 3 (S)
1962-63 1-2 1963-04-08 3-3 1962-10-06 Div 4 (old)
1966-67 4-2 1966-10-31 2-1 1966-09-03 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 2-0 1967-11-18 2-0 1968-04-13 Div 3 (old)
1968-69 2-1 1968-08-17 1-0 1969-04-30 Div 3 (old)
1969-70 1-0 1970-03-21 2-0 1970-03-04 Div 3 (old)
1970-71 0-0 1971-03-13 0-0 1970-11-14 Div 3 (old)
1971-72 0-0 1971-12-04 1-0 1972-04-22 Div 3 (old)
1972-73 2-1 1973-04-14 1-1 1973-03-21 Div 4 (old)
1973-74 2-1 1973-10-27 0-4 1974-03-10 Div 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1975-01-18 2-0 1974-11-30 Div 4 (old)
1980-81 1-1 1980-11-08 1-1 1981-04-12 Div 4 (old)
1981-82 3-1 1982-05-01 0-2 1981-09-30 Div 4 (old)
1982-83 2-1 1982-12-17 1-3 1983-04-23 Div 4 (old)
1983-84 1-3 1983-10-15 0-1 1984-03-24 Div 4 (old)
1984-85 1-0 1984-10-13 0-1 1985-03-19 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 4-0 1985-10-26 2-1 1986-03-22 Div 4 (old)
1993-94 2-1 1994-04-09 0-1 1994-01-01 Div 3
1994-95 2-2 1995-04-29 1-2 1994-10-15 Div 3
1995-96 2-0 1996-04-23 1-1 1995-09-02 Div 3
1996-97 1-2 1996-10-29 2-1 1997-02-18 Div 3
1997-98 2-2 1998-04-11 1-2 1997-12-02 Div 3
1998-99 2-1 1998-10-09 0-0 1999-04-05 Div 3
1999-2000 4-3 2000-01-03 0-4 2000-04-08 Div 3
2000-01 0-0 2001-04-14 2-2 2000-10-24 Div 3
2001-02 2-0 2001-10-23 0-0 2002-03-23 Div 3
2003-04 2-1 2004-03-30 0-1 2003-10-21 Div 3

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)

Details on scorers in some games and attendance figures courtesy of the centenary book
Updates on “played for both sides section” courtesy of the MTFC history CD (produced by the SSA, available from the Stagsnet online shop - don't miss out on your copy)


Latest | August 2005