John Ritchie (Stoke City)
I was very sad to find out from Nigel
Mercer's site that John Ritchie had died. I
remember John as a member of what is arguably Stoke
City's greatest side, and I will never forget their
League Cup win of 1972, when they overturned firm
favourites, Chelsea. Here's Brian Glanville's
obituary at http://www.guardian.co.uk which reports
If there was ever an
annus mirabilis both for John Ritchie and his club
Stoke City, it was the 1971-72 season, when they won
the Football League Cup and reached the semi-finals
of the FA Cup, only to go out to Arsenal in a replay.
That League Cup so far has been the only major
competition Stoke have won, despite their long
history and a galaxy of stars, among them the
incomparable Stanley Matthews, the centre forward
Freddie Steele, the elegant centre half Neil Franklin
- and in that 1971-72 team, the England goalkeeper,
Ritchie, who has
died after a long illness aged 65, was born in
Kettering, Northamptonshire, and was a typical
English centre forward of his time, six foot tall, 12
stone (75kg) in weight, strong on the ground,
powerful in the air. In June 1962, he found himself a
member of a team cleverly put together by the
manager, the genial Tony Waddington, who specialised
in reinvigorating the careers of veteran players.
Such a one was the 35-year-old George Eastham, in his
heyday an electric inside forward with England,
Newcastle and Arsenal, who scored a rare goal in that
League Cup final, Stoke's clinching second against
the favourites, Chelsea.
Ritchie had much to
do with it. The elusive winger, Terry Conroy, an
Irish international, sold his man a dummy out on the
left at a time when Chelsea, with the score at 1-1,
were calling the tune. When Conroy crossed, Ritchie
expertly headed the ball back to Jimmy Greenhoff,
whose fierce drive brought a dramatic save from Peter
Bonetti. But he could not hold the ball, and Eastham
put it in. "I don't like to score normally"
he said, "because it embarrasses the boys, but
I'm going to savour that one."
Ritchie had other
splendid moments. Near the end, when Conroy took a
corner, Ritchie jumped high above the defence on the
far post to beat Bonetti with a ferocious header,
only for Peter Houseman to head off the line.
That season, he
scored 12 goals in the League, in which he was top
scorer, four in the League Cup and two in the FA Cup.
There were four replays, with eventual victories
against Oxford United, Manchester United and West
Ham, then defeat to Arsenal.
This was Ritchie's
second spell with Stoke. Joining them from his local
club, Kettering, he played 110 League games for 64
goals before joining Sheffield Wednesday, where his
89 matches brought 35 goals. Rejoining Stoke, his 12
League goals in 1971-72 brought his total in this
second spell to 92 League games for 39 goals. To be
in an attack alongside Greenhoff, Conroy, Eastham and
Peter Dobing was surely a centre forward's dream, and
Ritchie literally rose to the occasion.
He made his debut in
1962-63, Stoke's promotion season from the Second
Division. In the next season, he scored 18 goals in
29 games; two more than Dobing. In the 1966-67
season, he was, somewhat surprisingly, sold to
Sheffield Wednesday, after scoring eight times for
Stoke in 14 League games. He got another 10 for
Wednesday in 24 League matches, but in the following
season he missed just one League game, scoring 18
times, twice as many as the second Wednesday scorer,
By 1969-70, he was
back in Stoke, equal top League scorer with 14 goals
with left winger Harry Burrows, after Wednesday
dropped to the Second Division. The transfer fee was
just £25,000, so Waddington - who had first signed
Ritchie sight unseen - made a big profit.
Alas, in September
1974 at Ipswich Town, in a collision with Kevin
Beattie, Ritchie severely fractured his leg,
virtually ending his career, though he did play
briefly for non-League Stafford Rangers. He scored
more than 170 goals for Stoke. Appropriately, he then
ran a pottery business in the Potteries where he had
flourished. He is survived by his wife Shirley, two
sons and a daughter.
John Henry Ritchie,
footballer, born July 12 1941; died February 23 2007
There is a touching tribute at www.bbc.co.uk
Also see Stoke City legend's funeral
held at news.bbc.co.uk
Nigel Mercer has a
tribute page at John Ritchie
Ernie Tagg (Crewe
This wonderful tribute to Ernie appeared
in the Crewe Chronicle, see
Plaudits paid as Alex star
By Peter Morse, Crewe Chronicle
have poured in following the death of Crewe Alexandra
FC legend Ernie Tagg.
and family have been overwhelmed by the huge response
to the news that the former player and manager died,
aged 89, last week.
played a major role in the club's fortunes after
joining in 1937. He brought a then-huge transfer fee
to Gresty Road when he switched to Wolves as a
player, and then helped keep Crewe afloat during two
spells as manager.
his time with the club, he also acted as ball boy,
trainer, secretary and groundsman.
only child, daughter Sheila, said: 'We have been
amazed by the response. We were unsure how many
people would remember a man of 89. But so many people
have been in touch. It is so nice to know how much
was the best dad, the best grandad, best everything.
Everybody loved and respected him. We'll miss him
in September 1917, Ernie made his debut for the
Railwaymen in 1938 as an inside forward. He was sold
to Wolves just before the Second World War. When the
conflict was over, he enjoyed spells at Bournemouth
and Carlisle before returning to his beloved South
his time fulfilling various roles for the Alex, he
also had a milk round and a beer delivery round,
which often coincided with football duties.
who also worked for the Alex for a time, said life
was never dull with Ernie.
never had any money to work with at Crewe, and they
were often in danger of going under. I remember us
hiding in the offices when people came for money for
electricity or water!
we would juggle the money so we could have lights and
water for a night match at Gresty Road. He was so
retiring from football, Ernie and his wife Gladys ran
three pubs in Crewe, all called The Vine. When Crewe
were not playing, he would go to watch his second
added: 'He got on well with Bill Shankly and I
remember Bill once wrote to Dad and said 'It must be
easy to manage Liverpool compared to Crewe', because
he was just able to sign cheques.'
historian Harold Finch said Ernie brought an exciting
brand of football to the area.
liked attacking football and was not interested in
trying to grind out results,' he said.
crowd got good entertainment. He brought good players
to the club and got the best out of them. He was a
spokesman Rob Wilson said: 'Ernie was a tremendous
servant of Crewe Alexandra and we express our deepest
condolences to his family and friends.'
leaves his wife of more than 60 years Gladys, as well
as his daughter, three grand-daughters and seven
funeral will take place on Friday. People are invited
to pay tribute as the procession passes by the
Alexandra Stadium at 10.40am, before a service at
Crewe Crematorium and a wake at the Alex.
flowers only. Donations to the Special Care Baby Unit
at Leighton Hospital, Ward One, will be welcomed.
of club's last pre-war player
last of the pre-war Crewe Alex players, Ernie Tagg
lived by a code of loyalty and dedication during his
football career and life as a family man.
famous for his time with Crewe Alex, where he
fulfilled the roles of ball-boy, player, manager,
trainer, secretary and groundsman among others, he
gave his all over many decades.
from the game, he enjoyed more than 60 years of
marriage with his beloved wife Gladys, and doted on
their daughter Sheila, their three grand-daughters
and seven great-grandchildren.
he received many accolades, including becoming
Honorary Life Vice-President of the Alex in 1984, as
well as being added to Crewe and Nantwich Borough
Council's Roll of Honour, he took most satisfaction
from the enjoyment he brought to others.
a series of recent interviews with former Chronicle
sports editor William Hughes, he described how he
first got the football bug, when he was plucked from
the crowd at a schoolboy match to play for Bedford
Street against Edleston Road.
was only 10 and was very small and lightweight,' he
said. 'The other boys playing were about 14. One lad
didn't turn up and the sports master saw me on the
touchline and said: 'Tagg! Can you play football?'
was in my normal clothes, but fortunately we wore
short trousers in those days, and I played
inside-right in my shoes. I played in every game for
Bedford Street after that.'
15 he became the first boy from Crewe to make the
England Schoolboys squad. He joined the Alex in
October 1937 as an inside forward, and made his debut
against Oldham four months later.
transfer fee of £1,800, paid by Wolves for his
services a year later, helped cash-strapped Crewe
stay in business. But Ernie admitted he needed some
persuading to leave South Cheshire.
said: 'I was an apprentice instrument maker at the
Signal and Telegraph, and felt I'd be better off
financially if I got my trade and played part-time.
needed me to go because they were desperate for the
money, but I wouldn't budge. But Wolves gave me £200
to help me make my mind up! In those days you could
get a nice new car for that - and still have change.
record transfer in Britain at the time was £5,000
and it was the first time Crewe had received more
than £1,000 for a player.'
War Two restricted Ernie to just one appearance for
Wolves, but he later enjoyed several successful
seasons at Bournemouth and Carlisle before returning
to play with Nantwich Town.
returned to Gresty Road as a trainer under manager
Ralph Ward, before taking over as boss in 1964.
was manager for seven seasons, and continued as
secretary when Dennis Viollet took over in 1971. He
later returned as manager for a short spell in 1974.
shrewd eye for a player helped and he developed and
sold future internationals Stan Bowles and John
Mahoney. He was only ever given cash to sign one
player, taking Gordon Wallace from Liverpool.
the death of Fred Chandler, aged 94, last year, Ernie
was the final known pre-war Crewe Alex player.
As I couldn't
immediately find an obituary that included a profile I
have added one from The Who's Who of Cardiff City by Dean
Hayes, Breedon Books Derby 2006. (Click to
Born: West bromwich, 8 February 1947.
Career: Birmingham City 1964.
Middlesbrough 1971. Cardiff City 1972.
Welsh Cup winner 1972-73,1973-74.
England Youth international Johnny Vincent was in
Birmingham City's Football Combination side when only
16, and he had just turned 17 when he made his
Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers.
However, it was 1966-67 before he won a regular place
in the Birmingham side, having developed into an
attacking left-sided midfielder. Though he created
many goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, he
possessed a powerful shot in his left fool, and in
1967-68 he netted 14 times - his best return.
Having scored 44 goals in 194 games he left St
Andrew's for Middlesbrough for a fee of £40,000.
Unable to settle in the
North East, he was signed for Cardiff by Jimmy
Scoular in October 1972.
Ironically, he made a goalscoring debut for the
Bluebirds against Middlesbrough, a match City won
2-0, and in his early days with the club he played
very well. But the sacking of Jimmy Scoular and some
bad injuries affected his form and, in the summer of
1975, he left Ninian Park to go into business in his
native West Midlands and play non-League football for
personal obituary can be found at http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk reports:
THE grieving family of former
Blues great Johnny Vincent who died recently say they
have has found comfort in the overwhelming support
Popular midfielder Johnny
died on December 23 at the age of 59 after suffering
from cancer of the bones, lung and brain.
The grandfather-of-two, who
lived at a caravan park in Bewdley and died at the
Holmwood care home in Kidderminster, will be cremated
on Friday .
His daughter, Natalie
Patrick, today said the family had been helped in
their grief by messages of love and support left on
Vincent was one of
Birmingham's City's most respected players during the
Natalie said: "It really
has helped. We have just been overwhelmed by the
response and messages from friends and fans. I didn't
realise dad has so many friends. I have also been
really touched by the messages from younger Blues
fans who didn't know dad because he was not their
His funeral is being held on
Friday, at Lodge Hill Crematorium, Bristol Road, from
noon. The family said flowers and/or donations to
Cancer Research UK were welcome.
Winter 2006 -2007 news can be found at ...