It's A Cup Final Knockout 1975
British Domestic Series

Presenters: Stuart Hall and Eddie Waring
Referee: Arthur Ellis

Scoregirls: Marilyn Ward, Karen Apted, Frances Sinclair and Rena Edwards

Designer: Stuart Furber
Producer:
Barney Colehan
Director:
Geoff Wilson
A BBC North West Production

GB

It's A Cup Final Knockout 1975

FA Cup Final Special

Event Staged: Saturday 19th April 1975
Venue: Wimbledon F.C. Football Ground (Plough Lane),
Wimbledon, Greater London, England

Transmission:
BBC1 (GB):
Saturday 3rd May 1975, 12.45-1.35pm (as part of Cup Final Grandstand)

Special Guests (non-participating):
Supporting Fulham -
Les Barrett (Fulham squad member), Harry Fowler (actor and comedian), John Lacey (Fulham squad player), Jim Langley (former Fulham player), Clodagh Rodgers (singer) and Les Strong (Fulham squad member);
Supporting West Ham - Ronnie Boyce (West Ham United squad member), Kenny Lynch (actor and comedian), John McDowell (West Ham United squad member), Alan Seely (former West Ham United player) and Tommy Taylor (West Ham United squad member).

Winners' Trophy presented by: Tommy Taylor (West Ham United Footballer)

Weather Conditions: Overcast and Warm

Teams: Fulham F.C. v. West Ham United F.C.

Team Members included:
Fulham F.C. - Kevin Carson, Mark Hayden, Louise McGuinness, Beverley Peake, Jill Peake, Graham Reid, Malcolm Steel, Sue Thompson and John Went;
West Ham United F.C. - Terry Finch, Adrian Hennessey, Tony Massey, Graham Thompson, Dave Tiffin and Linda Tillett.

Games: Bobbin Football Slalom, Seesaw Football, Pass the Medicine Ball, Caterpillar Balloon Bursting, Threading the Needle, Pass the Plank of Water Buckets, Netting the Footballs, Balloons from the Pole;
Jokers: Joker Playing Cards.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Points Scored
(Joker games shown in red)
F 0 2 0 0 4 0 2 0
W 2 0 2 2 0 2 0 4
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
F 0 2 2 2 6 6 8 8
W 2 2 4 6 6 8 8 12

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 W • West Ham United F.C.
 F Fulham F.C.

12
8

The Host Town

Wimbledon, Greater London

 

The world famous All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon

 

Wimbledon is a district of south-west London in the borough of Merton with a population of around 57,000 inhabitants. Locked between Wandsworth to the south, Kingston-upon-Thames to the east, Mitcham to the west and Sutton to the north, the area is most notably known worldwide for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, which have been staged at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since 1877. The residential area is split into two distinct sections known as the ‘village’ and the ‘town’, with the High Street being part of the original medieval village, and the ‘town’ being part of the modern development since the building of the railway in 1838.

The area has been inhabited since the Iron Age, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087 when the area was part of the manor of Mortlake and owned by wealthy families. The village developed with a stable rural population co-existing alongside nobility and wealthy merchants from the city. In the 18th century, The Dog and Fox public house became a stop on the stagecoach run from London to Portsmouth. The stagecoach horses would be stabled at the rear of the pub in the now named Wimbledon Village Stables. In 1838, the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) opened a station to the south-east of the village at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill and its location shifted the focus of the town's subsequent growth away from the original village centre.

Electric trams in London operated in London between 1860 and 1952, after which they were abolished completely. Shortages of steel and electrical machinery and the unviable cost of running the services were cited as the main reasons for their demise and this was coupled with the tram system being considered inflexible and out-dated. Around 1935, the phasing-out began in earnest with their replacement by diesel powered buses and trolleybuses, after a large proportion of the carriages and tracks were nearing the end of their useful life. The last electric trams received a rousing reception when they ‘ran in’ on the morning of Sunday 6th July 1952 at New Cross Depot. In 1990, Croydon Council with London Regional Transport put a project to Parliament to re-introduce trams to London. This was passed as The Croydon Tramlink Act, 1994 and on Monday 2nd June 1997, the West Croydon to Wimbledon Line was closed for conversion to operation as part of the new Tramlink tram operations. Part of platform 10 was utilised for the single track terminus of Route 3 and rail tracks and infrastructure were replaced with those for the tram system. The new service opened on Tuesday 30th May 2000.

Wimbledon Station was also the haunt of a 'Railway Collection Dog'. Airedale Terrier "Laddie" was born in September 1948 and started work on Wimbledon Station in 1949, collecting donations on behalf of the Southern Railwaymen's Homes at Woking, via a box strapped to his back. He retired in 1956 having collected over £5,000 and spent the rest of his days with the residents at the Home. On his death in 1960, he was stuffed and returned to Wimbledon Station. He continued to collect for the Homes, in a glass case situated on Platform 5, until 1990 when he retired once more and became part of the National Railway collection.

The Venue

Wimbledon F.C. Football Ground (Plough Lane), Wimbledon

The games for this programme were played at Plough Lane, the home ground of Wimbledon Football Club, from September 1912 until May 1991.

The leasehold on the disused swampland at the corner of Plough Lane and Haydons Road was purchased by Wimbledon Football Club in 1912. The pitch was consequently fenced in and the playing surface improved, while a dressing room was built. A stand holding 500 spectators was erected, and Wimbledon played their first match at the ground on 7th September 1912, a friendly match against Carshalton Athletic which was drawn 2-2. Improvements continued to be made to the ground during the First World War (1914-1918), and Plough Lane soon became the pride of the club. In 1918, vice-president A. Gill Knight boasted that the club had "the finest ground in the southern district".

 

Aerial view of Plough Lane, home of Wimbledon F.C.,
after joining the Football League in 1977

 

The South Stand was added in 1923, purchased from Clapton Orient (later to be known as Leyton Orient), and the terrace in front of the North Stand was improved during 1932-33. The ground was considered good enough to host an amateur international match, when England took on Wales on 19th January 1935. At the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945), the ground's capacity stood at around 30,000. However, damage inflicted during the Second World War meant that extensive redevelopment was necessary after the club returned in 1944. The South Stand had been bombed, and the incomplete fencing resulted in the club not even being able to charge for admission. Instead, half-time collections were taken to keep Wimbledon going. The South Stand was restored to its former glory in 1950, and during the 1950-51 season, the capacity returned to around the 25,000 mark. Glass panels were fitted at each end of both stands two years later, at the cost of £90 8s (£90.40) - a sum equivalent to £1,882 in 2009. Floodlights were purchased in July 1954, and the North Stand was completely rebuilt before the 1957-58 season. The ground’s freehold was then purchased from Merton Borough Council by chairman Sydney Black for £8,250 in November 1959, and he then donated it to the club. Black announced at the same time that the floodlights purchased five years earlier would be erected on eight pylons the next year at the cost of £4,000. Due to inflation, the price paid by Black for the stadium would have been equal to £143,097 in 2009. This figure became significant, as one of the conditions of the sale of the ground was the insertion of a pre-emption clause stating that if the site was ever to be used for any purpose other than sport, the Council would have the right to buy the ground back for the same price it had been paid, regardless of inflation. As the pound sterling's value decreased over the years, this clause became a double-edged sword. It protected the club from asset strippers, but also meant that the stadium's value could never grow above the £8,250 that Black had paid in 1959. The first match under the new floodlights took place on 3rd October 1960, in a London Charity Cup match against Arsenal with the visitors winning 4-1.

The club came to national prominence with a superb F.A. Cup run as non-League 'minnows' in the 1974-75 season. Entering the competition at the first qualifying round, Wimbledon saw off five teams to find themselves in the third round proper, where they became the first non-League team that century to beat a First Division side away from home by defeating Burnley at Turf Moor. In the fourth round, the team held the reigning First Division Champions Leeds United to a 0-0 draw at Elland Road, before narrowly losing the replay 1-0 to an own goal in front of over 40,000 spectators at Selhurst Park.

The ground remained largely unchanged until the club's election to the Football League in 1977, though during 1971-72 an attempt was made to start a market on the club's grounds to raise funds. The High Court ruled that this plan contravened a statute decreed by Charles I (1600-1649) in 1628 forbidding any market within seven miles of that of Kingston-upon-Thames. The court reckoned the distance between Kingston market and Plough Lane to be 5½ miles (8.8km), so no market was built. Despite election to the Football League in 1977 and subsequent success, the club was still plagued by financial trouble. To try and ease the strain on the club, in April 1983, Wimbledon bought out the pre-emption clause inserted back in 1959 for £100,000. A year later, they sold the ground and club to Samir ‘Sam’ Hammam, a Lebanese businessman for £3 million!

Following the publication of the Taylor Report in 1990, which introduced new safety measures for stadia, including the regulation that they be all-seated by August 1994, the board of the club decided that Plough Lane could not be economically redeveloped to meet the new standards. The work required to modernise Plough Lane would have been difficult and expensive, but not impossible as the board claimed. A supposedly temporary ground-share with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park was announced the same year, to begin for the start of 1991-92. Wimbledon's final first team match at Plough Lane came on 4th May 1991, ironically against new landlords Crystal Palace. 10,002 spectators saw Crystal Palace beat Wimbledon 3-0, before swarming onto the pitch to bid farewell to the ground. Plans to build a new 20,000-seat stadium in the London Borough of Merton had been approved by the local council in 1988, but the stadium was never built and a public park was later erected on its planned site.

 

The abandoned Plough Lane ground after being sold to
supermarket chain Safeway in 1998

 

Plough Lane continued to be used by both Wimbledon and Crystal Palace as the home ground for their reserve teams' home matches. This was the case until 1998, when Sam Hammam sold the ground to supermarket chain Safeway. Safeway sought to build a supermarket on the site for four years but, after local residents' opposition and local authority objections to their plans, gave up in 2002. They demolished the stadium during the summer of that year and subsequently sold the vacant site to David Wilson Homes in November 2002. Planning permission was granted to the developer in October 2005 to build 570 flats, and the development was completed in 2008. Following lobbying by Wimbledon supporters, the development agreed to adopt a Wimbledon Football Club theme, with the entire site named ‘Reynolds Gate’ after former player Eddie Reynolds. The six individual blocks that comprise the development were also named after former players, managers and a chairman: Bassett House, Batsford House, Cork House, Lawrie House, Reed House and Stannard House.

In 2001, after rejecting a variety of possible local sites and others further afield, the club announced its intention to move 56 miles (90km) north to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. The idea of Wimbledon leaving south London was deeply unpopular both with the bulk of the club's established fan-base and football supporters generally, but an independent commission appointed by the Football Association granted permission in May 2002. The large majority of Wimbledon F.C. supporters strongly opposed the idea of moving, feeling that a club transplanted to Milton Keynes would no longer represent Wimbledon F.C.'s legacy and traditions, and having campaigned against the proposed move, viewed its sanctioning as the ‘death of their club’. A group of supporters responded by forming a new club, A.F.C. Wimbledon, to which the large majority of Wimbledon fans switched allegiance. Today, that club plays in League Two of the Football League, at their home ground of Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames, a ground they share with Kingstonian.

A.F.C. Wimbledon has always stated as one of its aims to return to the ‘spiritual home’ of Wimbledon, Plough Lane. This aim is the basis of a project to create a new purpose-built stadium within the vicinity of the old stadium, or on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound Track, located next door to the old Plough Lane Stadium. Plans to develop the greyhound site as either a multi-purpose stadium or as a football stadium have been publicised frequently by the club and the media since establishment but until 2013 no official steps towards acquiring the site had been taken. Wimbledon announced that discussions were underway with Merton Council over a joint bid for the greyhound stadium and surrounding land, in cooperation with Galliard Homes, including outline plans for a new community-focused football stadium to be developed on the site, as part of the council's ‘call-for-sites’ scheme. The site would also include 600 residential units and a wide range of shops and community facilities. A similar rival development is also planned by the greyhound stadium to expand on the site and the pros and cons of each submitted plan for the site will be weighed up by the council who will choose which development to back, announced in March 2014. However, if the plans are approved, Wimbledon predicts that it could be 2016 before construction even begins!

The Games in Detail

Game 7 - Netting the Footballs

Fulham trounced West Ham on Game 7 - 'Netting the Footballs'. The game was one often used in variant forms on It's A Knockout and involved team members sliding down a ramp carrying hooped nets, with which they attempted to catch footballs kicked by the team kicker. Special guests Harry Fowler and Kenny Lynch were persuaded to try their hand this game and the comedians readily agreed. First up, Fowler climbed the ladder to the top of the ramp and slid down while Kenny Lynch, in his platform soled shoes, kicked the ball somewhat awkwardly. Result - a miss! The positions reversed, Lynch descended the ramp holding his net aloft, while Fowler booted the ball his way. Result - another miss. Lynch suggested that it was Fowler whose aim was off, not that he had missed his catch! In a limit time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the West Ham team scored a total of 7 'goals'. Presenter Stuart Hall interviewed the Fulham kicker, a printer by the name of Keith, and bet him a pint of ale that he wouldn't beat the West Ham score. After just one minute of play, the Fulham team had already beaten the West Ham score, but continued up to the limit time and scored a magnificent 19 'goals'. Stuart Hall was so impressed that he thought it was worth two pints of ale! This brought the scores level at 8-8 before the final game, setting up an exciting climax.

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

And finally... there was a magnificent Eddie Waring goof in this programme. He was tasked with interviewing special guest Clodagh Rodgers and muddled through as only dear Eddie could, then strolled off, thanking her. This wouldn't necessarily be a 'goof', but Clodagh's first name is pronounced 'Clo-da' and not 'Clo-dag' as Eddie vocalised on departing!

Additional Information

The existing recording of this programme at the BBC is unedited, running as a consequence to 73 minutes and does not contain end credit captions. The recording starts with two shambolic attempts to record a preview trailer to be shown on BBC Television in the week leading up to transmission. It was unusual that the end credit captions were not recorded on location (particularly seeing as the opening captions were), and it seems likely that these would have been added in post production. The unedited nature of the recording also reveals delays for technical hitches, including Eddie Waring's hand held radio microphone breaking down.

Made in Colour • This programme exists in the BBC Archives

 

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites