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Players of 1965/66
After beating Scarborough 6-0 and Rochdale 3-1, Altrincham reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup for the first time in 1965/66, where they drew Wolverhampton Wanderers, who were lying joint second in the old Second Division. Alty had a handled "goal" by Jackie Swindells ruled out but were beaten heavily, losing 5-0 at Molineux.
The Wolves team was MacLaren, Wilson, Thomson, Flowers, Woodfield, Holsgrove, Wharton, Hunt, Mcllmoyle, Woodruff, and Wagstaffe. Thomson and Flowers had both been full England internationals.
Altrincham's eleven were: George Smith, Jimmy Brown, George Forrester, Frank Peters, Neil Dewar, Derek Halliwell, Ronnie Taylor, Les Campbell, Pat Connolly, Jack Swindells and Clive Colbridge. The crowd of 30,475 saw Wolves score three times in the first-half. Wolves finally went out of the Cup in Round Five, losing 2-4 at home to Manchester United.
The Wolves' matchday programme for 22 January 1966 carried the following:
WELCOME TO A FINE TEAM
As we welcome Cheshire League side Altrincham to Molineux today we do so with the sincerity of club to club rather than from a high status to a lower one. Let us assure the many thousands who will have made the trip from Cheshire that there is no condescension in our greeting to a side who, without a shadow of doubt, have already proved themselves worthy of the place they have won in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup. To us, Altrincham are another football team to be respected and they will not find the Molineux crowd, reared on top football for so many years, slow to acknowledge whatever skill or spirit they can produce.
NO DOUBT ABOUT THE AIM
Politely though we welcome them, however, we simply have to assure our new visitors that our aim is to beat them. Nobody in Wolverhampton regards this - or any other cup tie for that matter - a something easy. Far from it. We have had lesser teams here before who have surprised us with both their ability and their tenacity and for that reason we expect a good, hard game. But whatever the outcome, all of us in Wolverhampton will wish them well in their outstandng effort to win the Cheshire League title for the first time in their history. Unbeaten so far, they certainly seem to be on the way towards it.
THIS WAS A COMPLIMENT
Altrincham paid us a compliment, we feel, in naming their cup team, barring injuries, some weeks ago. That is the measure of their confidence in their own players, and it is surely a gesture of respect to ours. Several of their players have had experience with top class clubs and have played here before. Inside forward Jack Swindells was once with Blackburn Ruvers and more recently with Newport County; Les Campbell, one of their inside forwards, was formerly with Preston and Clive Colbridge has played against us in the Manchester City colours. Goalkeeper George Smith is good enough to keep out of the team former Burnley and England man Colin Macdonald and several of the players were formerly with Sankeys, the Wellington side.
"THEY PLAYED RUDDY WELL"
"They played ruddy well and the best team on the night won", so said the Rochdale manager, Tony Collins, after Altrincham, the Cheshire League side, had won their second-round F.A. Cup-tie at the Fourth Division Club’s ground. And the winning manager declared with a wink, "Wolves had better concentrate on the League. They’ve had it in the Cup". How much the wink meant you can judge for yourselves this afternoon when watching the players who have gone five months and 36 matches without defeat. That’s good in any company, so you’ve been warned!
Five years ago, Altrincham, now Cheshire League leaders, were well nigh down and out. "Facing extinction", they call it. Then two local business men, Messrs. F. J. Swales (now Chairman) and N. White (now Vice-Chairman as well as football secretary) started a new chapter in the Club’s history. Having secured re-election to the Cheshire League, they pursued a bolder policy, signed well known names and carried out extensive ground improvements. This turned the tide and since the appointment as manager of Fred Pye, Altrincham have gone ahead so that in 1963-4 they won their League Challenge Cup and only departed from the F.A. Cup after three meetings with Wrexham’s Football League eleven.
NEW £30,000 CLUB
So, here they are in the big Third Round of the Cup - reward of merit - with a following, they expect, of 10,000 supporters, and that’s official. More, since that crisis year, they have shown a profit each season, have continued their ground improvements, now have the help of a weekly pool grossing just over £600, and next month are opening a new £30,000 licensed Club adjoining their Moss Lane Enclosure. Something attempted, something done. Bravo Altrincham! "We think Mr. Pye is the man to take us into the League", says the Chairman, and he has just received a five-years contract. So it is no small Cup minnow the Wolves will meet this afternoon.
Who are the players? In goal, George Smith from Buxton is keeping former Burnley and International player Colin McDonald out of the team. The backs are Jim Brown, ex-Sankeys, a strong tackler with the modern flair for upfield sorties, and George Forrester from the same club who, as captain, aims to use the ball to advantage. In the middle line, Frank Peters, ex-Sankeys, is the power-house of the party. Neil Dewar, at centre-half, joined them from Stalybridge and Derek Halliwell has joined in with lively displays since the captain of the early part of the season, Felix Reilly, was injured.
The attack has been scoring freely, so let’s look at this section. Outside right Ron Taylor was signed a year back from Colwyn Bay - an improving player. Inside forward Leslie Campbell, formerly of Tranmere Rovers, Preston North End and Wigan Athletic - a really hard worker. Centre forward Pat Connolly saw service with Colchester United and Macclesfield; now in the twenties as a goal scorer. Inside forward Jackie Swindells, the man on the mark this season with about half-a-century of goals. He had Football League experience with more than one club before joining Altrincham from Newport County. Outside left Clive Colbridge of Manchester City and Wrexham - a wing man of skill and scoring potential.
And that’s Altrincham, the club that came back .. with a bang, from poverty to prosperity. Before we leave the Molineux tie let me quote another comment on their win at Rochdale: "Not for Altrincham the ugly big kick. It was a scientific dissection which gave Rochdale little hope of salvaging a tie from the first flourishing minutes by Altrincham’s attack".