Blackpool FC Memory match
Manchester United 0 Blackpool 1 January 13, 1962
Would you credit it?
This was the season when Blackpool finished above Manchester United in the top flight of English football.
And even though they also beat United at Old Trafford, the Seasiders attracted criticism for failing to be more clinical in pressing home victory.
It seems so hard to take in, but if Gazette scribe Don Creedy was to be believed Blackpool should have ‘eaten’ United.
Creedy claimed that such lack of fire power was costing Blackpool dearly and a place in the top four.
He added caustically: “They will spend the rest of the season flitting around the middle of the table unless manager Ronnie Suart can do a Svengali act and produce a front-line that, for a change, does not flatter to deceive.”
So many things have changed in the interim, not just Blackpool’s drop down the divisions and United’s progress to the top strata of world club football.
The attendance figure for the match is of note too - a crowd of just over 27,000, miserly by today’s standards, were at Old Trafford.
United did the ‘double’ that day.
The two clubs met in the Central League at Bloomfield Road and won 2-1, thanks to two headed goals by Barry Lowes against a United side that included the likes of Albert Quixall and Mark ‘Pancho’ Pearson.
A look at the classified football results of that day showed that sloppy defending was not a mere modern-day malaise, as some would have us believe.
Chelsea won at Fulham 4-3, Liverpool beat Norwich 5-4, Preston North End beat Middlesbrough 4-3 and Charlton and Scunthorpe drew 3-3.
Fleetwood were in action that day two taking on Morecambe and going down 3-2 - League football was a long way off for both sides as this contest took place in the old Lancashire Combination.
In the world of cricket, India made history in Madras by clinching their first ever series victory, winning by 128 runs.
As to the pressing business on the pitch at Old Trafford, Blackpool boss Suart had some tricky selection decisions to make, one of which was the return to the fray of Bill Perry, who had made his League debut for the Seasiders at the same ground as far back as 1950.
United were able to recall Bobby Charlton, who had recovered from a bout of influenza.
By their own high standards, with the Munich Air Disaster still in the memory during a period of re-building, Creedy made his own point on the size of the crowd.
He said of the attendance: “A lot of the old United glory has gone and with it many of the spectators too.”
Once the action was under way, Creedy certainly proved hard to impress, giving a damning commentary on events unfolding on the pitch.
He was not alone in his condemnation.
Creedy picked up on the point that occasionally he heard shouts from the crowd of ‘Wake up Blackpool!’
The Gazette scribe added: “Blackpool showed an astonishing lack of urgency.
“The defence did more than was expected of it, but once again there was some lamentable work from the attack.
“Maximum marks therefore to the big six - Waiters, Armfield, Martin, Crawford, Gratrix and Durie.
“Black marks to a forward-line that seemed almost devoid of ideas, put its own defence in trouble through frequent loss of possession.
“It was not so much its finishing - and that was poor enough - but more so its inability to create openings.
The goal that separated the two sides was scored by Peter Hauser after eight minutes.
Bruce Crawford found Perry unmarked on the wing - some of the United defenders hesitated in the vain belief that Perry was offside.
The ball was then shifted to Hauser who beat Dave Gaskell in the home goal with what Creedy described as a ‘cheeky’ finish.
Hauser was born in South Africa and was one of a number of players from that country who wore the tangerine of Blackpool down the years.
Others included Perry, Des Horne, Brian and Keith Peterson, Gordon Falconer, Bernard Levy and Peter Smethurst.
At the time of his goal against United, Hauser was on the transfer list and later in 1962 he was to leave the club and drop out of League football for a time.
After Blackpool, he moved to Cheltenham Town, then a non-league team, and from 1963 to 1968, Hauser was player-manager at Chester, then a Football League side.
He later moved back home to South Africa where he resumed his career as a qualified surveyor.
Blackpool went on to hold on to their lead and take the two points, though by all accounts they had a good deal of good fortune.
There were no substitutes in those days and United were badly handicapped by injuries to David Herd and Tony Dunne, meaning that the home side were playing with just nine fit men.
Dunne had been hurt in an apparent accidental clash of heads with Hauser, while Herd also sustained a bad knock, though not before he had tested Tony Waiters in the Blackpool goal with a fierce strike.
Scotsman Herd, who died earlier this year, had a reputation at the time of having one of the hardest shots in the game - of cannon-ball proportions.
Dealing with Herd’s piledriver was not the only time that Waiters was brought into the action.
The England international was twice as busy as Gaskell at the other end of the field.
The win was some measure of revenge for Blackpool, who had lost in September to United at Bloomfield Road by 3-2, both goals coming from Ray Charnley, one of them from the penalty spot.
The title in the First Division, or what would now be called the Premier League, was won against the odds of an Ipswich Town team, managed then by Alf Ramsey.
They prevailed by three points from their closest pursuers Burnley.
Blackpool finished the season in 13th spot, two positions ahead of United and two points better off.
Their biggest success that season came in the League Cup where they got to the semi-finals, only to go out at the hands of Norwich City.