The Texaco Cup was a tournament played in the 1970s between clubs from England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland that had not qualified for European competition. It was one of the first examples of corporate sponsorship in football, backed by the American petroleum company who were keen for additional exposure after acquiring the Regent filling station chain. Matches were played during the same weeks as the European competitions, rounds consisted of two-legs and penalty shoot-outs settled drawn ties. Wolverhampton Wanderers won the first Texaco Cup in the 1970/71 season and the experience very likely aided them in the inaugural UEFA Cup competition the following year where they reached the final, losing to Tottenham Hotspur. After finishing 9th at the end of 1970/71, Derby County were invited to participate in the Texaco Cup the following season and were drawn against Dundee United in the first round.
Wednesday 15 September 1971, Derby v Dundee United, first round first leg
The Rams went into this tie unbeaten in the league, with four clean sheets in a row and had thrashed Stoke City 4-0 at home in their previous game. Dundee United had lost 6-4 to Dundee the Saturday before and fared no better on this occasion, Derby winning comfortably by 6 goals to 2. The match report described the Rams as being ‘in scintillating form at times, working the ball beautifully out of defence and continually pulling the Dundee cover out of shape’. Alan Durban headed the opening goal after 12 minutes and Alan Hinton crossed for Kevin Hector to head past Mackay on 25 minutes. The score remained 2-0 until half time but Jim Walker, having replaced Durban after the interval due to a knock, made an immediate impact by scoring the third on 46 minutes, then John O’Hare delicately headed the fourth from a narrow angle three minutes later. Derby then lost concentration twice at the back to concede two soft goals in quick succession, Dundee United scoring through Gordon’s header in the 49th minute and Rolland’s half-hit shot a minute later. Hinton ran on to a Hector flick to beat the advancing goalkeeper in the 73rd minute before John Robson completed the scoring with a shot through a crowd of players eight minutes from time.
Derby County 6 – 2 Dundee United
Line-up: Boulton, Webster, Robson, Todd, Hennessey, McGovern, Bourne, Durban (Walker), O’Hare, Hector, Hinton
Wednesday 29 September 1971, Dundee United v Derby, first round second leg
The official programme for this game at Tannadice Park has a four page wraparound in red, white and black colours stapled over the cover. Inside, comment is made about Derby’s high spending of around £500,000 in the transfer market over the previous 18 months including fees for Todd, Hennessey and Gemmill. A Dundee United director took the view that his team were ‘unfortunate to lose by a four goal margin’ in the first leg and Don John of the Dundee Courier agreed, stating that United were ‘well beaten…but not as badly as the score suggests’.
Dundee United director and former Ram, Duncan Hutchison, played for United in the 1920s before moving on to Newcastle in August 1929 then transferring to Derby in March 1931 with another player for £2500. He remained at the Baseball Ground until August 1933 when he joined Hull City. Hutchison believed Derby were one of the best sides in the country at the time with 8 internationals and he states in the programme that he could remember the line-up without hesitation – Wilkes, Cooper, Collins, Nicholas, Barker, Kean, Crooks, Hutchison, Bowers, Ramage and Duncan. But he admitted the present Derby team was the best he had ever seen as ‘the boys just seem to live for the game’ and were ‘fast and footballers through and through’.
The Rams started the game well and took the lead after four minutes, when Archie Gemmill rolled a free-kick sideways for Alan Hinton to score from 20 yards before Butlin ran on to Hinton’s pass to score a second after 18 minutes. Dundee United pulled a goal back when Copland headed in a swinging centre just before half time, then Devlin equalised after 55 minutes, hitting the roof of the net from a narrow angle. Copland completed the United comeback on 67 minutes, the match ending 3-2 to the home team but 8-5 on aggregate to Derby.
‘Don’t go North, young man…’ was the headline on the front page of the Tottenham edition of the Ram on October 9 – in reference to tackling from behind still being allowed in Scotland and that the referee ignored heavy challenges during the second leg at Tannadice Park. Brian Clough added that ‘it isn’t until you see a game played as we used to do that you realise just how much an advance we have made’. Further inside the Ram, it was reported that Manchester City had had their £1000 Texaco Cup participation fee withdrawn after they fielded a weak side in their first round defeat at Airdrie. Six first-team players missed Derby’s second leg tie at Dundee United due to injury and Clough told the local Dundee paper on the morning of the game: ‘We have a load of injuries, but we have come here to win. We don’t like losing at Derby’. Clough had even telephoned the club to get Terry Hennessey, recovering from ‘flu, to rush to catch a supporters’ charter flight leaving East Midlands Airport on the afternoon of the match day so he could field the strongest possible team. Clough believed it was the duty of every team competing in the Texaco Cup to field its best available side, and to do everything it can to win every game: ‘no-one at the Baseball Ground considers the Texaco Cup to be anything but a first-class competition. That’s why we’re in it…and that’s why we hope to win it’.
Dundee United 3 – 2 Derby County (aggregate 5-8)
Line-up: Boulton, Daniel, Robson, Hennessey, Bailey, Gemmill, McGovern, Wignall, Butlin, Walker, Hinton.
Wednesday 20 October 1971, Derby v Stoke City, second round first leg
Despite a 4-0 thumping at the Baseball Ground in the Division 1 match on September 11, Stoke City manager Tony Waddington was optimistic of his side’s chances against Derby in this tie. ‘It’s a matter of us trying to do as well as we can,’ he said in the Ram. ‘Certainly, we have to improve on that showing. Apart from Manchester United, who played brilliantly – or rather, were allowed to do so – when I last saw them at West Bromwich, Derby are far and away the best side I have seen this season. We are under a lot of pressure tonight, and not just to give ourselves a chance in the second leg. Four matches in eight days is a big task for any side,’ he added.
The Ram also named Derby’s starting X1, not something that happens often in modern football. Steve Powell was to make his first-team debut just four weeks after his sixteenth birthday, wearing the number 8 shirt, making him the youngest player to represent Derby at senior level at the time and beating the record set by his father, Tommy. He would also be joined in the side by 17-year-old Alan Lewis who was replacing John Robson at left-back. Webster, McGovern, Gemmill and Durban were all missing. Brian Clough commented that ‘it is not a question of anybody being dropped because of poor form. A run of 18 League matches without defeat before last Saturday (a 1-0 loss at Manchester United) shows that nobody can have been playing that badly. Powell and Lewis deserve a chance because of their displays with the reserves, but nobody should look to them for match-winning performances just yet’.
Despite that inexperience, Derby took a 2-0 lead before half-time. O’Hare rounded Banks to score from a narrow angle on nine minutes then added a second on 37 minutes. Hector scored a third on 55 minutes with a left-foot volley from 20 yards but two headers in the 72nd minute and in injury time reduced the Rams’ lead going into the second leg. The Baseball Ground pitch was sodden after heavy rain which may have contributed to the loss of Terry Hennessey with a knee injury. The two youngsters received glowing praise in the match report – according to the Ram, Powell ‘positioned himself intelligently, tackled well and made some splendid passes, and Lewis never looked out of place in the No.3 shirt’.
Derby 3 – 2 Stoke
Line-up: Boulton, Daniel, Lewis, Hennessey (Bailey), McFarland, Todd, Wignall, Powell, O’Hare, Hector, Hinton
Wednesday 3 November 1971, Stoke v Derby second round second leg
The 16 page programme from this game did not include a report from the first leg at the Baseball Ground, but did feature match photos from Stoke’s 4-1 first round win against Motherwell. As Steve McGhee wrote when he covered this match in issue 10 as part of his series of games against the founders of the Football League, two advertisements include home ‘keeper Gordon Banks endorsing the “Tiger” boys’ comic and Michelin Tyres, as well as having his own line of gloves, hats and shirts at the Club Shop.
Derby edged past Stoke courtesy of a 1-1 draw, and took the lead after 59 minutes when Frank Wignall’s shot, aided by a deflection, looped over Gordon Banks. Stoke pulled a goal back with four minutes to go to leave them only one goal away from drawing the tie on aggregate, but the Rams held on to progress to the semi-finals.
Stoke 1 – 1 Derby (aggregate 4-3)
Line-up: Boulton, Webster, Robson, Todd, Hennessey, McGovern, Durban, Wignall, O’Hare, Hector, Hinton
Wednesday 24 November 1971, Derby v Newcastle semi-final first leg
‘Oil’s Well’ was the front page headline of the Newcastle edition of the Ram. The story argued that sponsored football was right for the game despite there being many critics who dismissed the Texaco Cup as an ‘irritating irrelevance’. First and second round attendances figures of the competition showed a slight increase from the previous year despite the steady downwards trend of attendances in the Football League at the time. Newcastle had beaten Hearts and Coventry to reach the semi-final stage. John O’Hare gave Derby the lead in the seventh minute, controlling a pass from Archie Gemmill and firing past Iam McFaul almost in one movement on the edge of the penalty area. Malcolm Macdonald was a constant threat for Newcastle but they did lose expensive new inside-forward Tony Green in the second half when he was substituted due to feeling sick. In the next edition of The Ram, for the home game against Manchester City, Newcastle manager Joe Harvey declared himself ‘quite satisfied’ with the 1-0 defeat and suggested his side must have ‘a fair chance’ in the second leg. ‘It’s wide open, a situation in which our Fairs Cup experience could stand us in good stead. Pitch conditions were better than I expected, and allowed a fair game of football. We should get a gate of over 30,000 for the return. Derby beat us 1-0, more convincingly than the score suggests, at the Park back in October, but that was a real off day for us’.
Derby 1 – 0 Newcastle
Line-up: Boulton, Webster, Robson, Todd, McFarland, Hennessey, McGovern, Gemmill, O’Hare, Hector, Hinton
Wednesday 8 December 1971, Newcastle v Derby semi-final second leg
The official programme emphasised the significance of this game for Newcastle: ‘Tonight we face one of the most important matches since we won the Fairs Cup (in 1969) for the right result this evening will put us into another Cup Final. Much will depend on the brilliance of Malcolm Macdonald. If he can escape the close attentions of Todd then we have a very good chance, but there won’t be much in it.’ The programme continues: ‘This match is of the utmost importance. The Texaco Cup has been criticised by various misguided people in recent weeks, but you will never find Newcastle United criticising it. Just look at things this way. At this time of the season we would normally be playing only League football, which means only one game a week, and waiting to see who we play in the FA Cup next month. A very ordinary routine, in fact, but thanks to the Texaco Cup the season has an added stimulant. It gives the players something else to go for, and that means extra cash in their pockets, and it means extra money for the club. With huge ground improvements to pay for in the near future we need every penny too. So a win tonight is of the utmost importance. After that we have the chance to win another trophy and achieve a unique double – the second time we will have won a trophy at the first attempt’.
Derby’s line up for this leg was missing McFarland, Gemmill and John Robson and this showed as Malcolm Macdonald scored on the stroke of half-time and Stewart Barraclough made it 2-0 after an hour to put Newcastle in front on aggregate. The Rams substituted Jim Walker for Alan Hinton on 68 minutes and it was Walker who took the tie into extra time when he got in the way of an attempted clearance from Alan Durban’s centre to beat Iam McFaul after 73 minutes. The Rams had a late let-off as Ron Webster blocked Macdonald’s shot on the line, but goals by John McGovern direct from a corner in the first period of extra time, and Colin Todd in the second, saw Derby through to the final by four goals to two.
Newcastle 2 – Derby 3 after extra time (aggregate 2-4)
Line-up: Boulton, Todd, Webster, Hennessey, Bailey, Daniel, Durban, McGovern, O’Hare, Hector, Hinton (Walker)
Wednesday 26 January 1972, Airdrieonians v Derby, Texaco Cup Final first leg
Airdrie had defeated Manchester City, Huddersfield and Ballymena United to reach the final, the first leg being played at Broomfield Park. The matchday programme refers to a previous meeting between the two sides played at the Baseball Ground at the end of the 1926/27 season (Airdrie won 1-0). George Jobey, Derby manager at the time, had been to Scotland to watch Bobby Bennie and Bob McPhail and wanted his directors to see them before talks began. In the end, McPhail moved to Rangers and Bennie to Hearts.
The Rams had travelled to Scotland by air but had to leave immediately after the final whistle to connect with an 11pm flight. As such, Derby had to decline the sponsor’s invitation to attend the post-match reception so a packed supper was laid on for the players and officials to eat aboard the coach. The programme for this game made it clear that supporters should not ask the Derby players for autographs after game.
The front cover of the Ram against Coventry on 29 January makes only a brief reference to this game. Tony Parry made his debut in midfield, and the match summary was that Derby were mainly content to keep Airdrie at bay in a physical encounter in which Hennessey and Barry Butlin were booked. The following issue of the Ram against Notts County in the FA Cup contains an angry half page article entitled ‘Sun fiction about Airdrie trip: now read the facts. An insulting and inaccurate attack on Derby County in The Sun newspaper last week has saddened the club’. The article by Alex Montgomery in The Sun on Friday 28 January read: ‘Derby boss Brian Clough had the Scots fuming yesterday. He did not turn up for his side’s Texaco Cup Final first leg at Airdrie on Wednesday. Derby chairman Sam Longson also missed the game. And the Scots were further angered that the Derby players did not attend a reception after the 0-0 draw.’
It transpired that Longson had flown to Antigua for a month on a pre-planned holiday which was arranged before Derby reached the final. Clough’s response in the Ram was: ‘Had the paper checked they would have discovered that this was not an isolated absence on my part from a Derby match. I have missed several games lately. This was the third successive away match I have not been at because I have been doing some very important club business. After all, it was the same paper who suggested I was watching Bournemouth’s Ted McDougall when they found I was not with the Derby team at Southampton recently. They didn’t check that either.’
Airdrieonians 0 – 0 Derby
Line-up: Boulton, Webster, Robson, Todd, Daniel, Hennessey, Parry, Gemmill, Butlin, Walker, Hinton
Wednesday 26 April 1972, Derby v Airdrieonians, Texaco Cup Final second leg
The second leg of the final was scheduled to be played on 8 March but was postponed due to torrential rain the night before the game. A Ram newspaper was issued for the fixture on the original date. Stuart Webb, Derby County secretary, wrote in the Leicester edition of the Ram on 18 March: ‘May I offer the apologies of Derby County to those supporters of Airdrie who travelled all the way from Scotland to Derby only to discover that the Texaco Cup Final second leg had been postponed. We flashed the news to Glasgow immediately but not soon enough to intercept some fans; we also had Airdrie directors and Texaco officials to placate, but they know we would have played the match had it been at all possible. The decision to call off the game did not, of course, lie with Derby County. On the Tuesday, we were faced with a heavy pitch but nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year. Then torrential overnight rain radically altered the conditions. We knew at 8.30am that the position was hopeless, and informed the Football League accordingly. But the referee had to be called in before this could be ratified, which meant a wait for Mr. Jack Taylor to arrive from Wolverhampton’.
The front page of The Ram newspaper issued for the final contains an article stating that the club fully endorsed the competition, in particular the vital prize money it had brought in. As finalists Derby had earnt £7000 in addition to all of the home match receipts. As travel to away games within the British Isles was less expensive than in Europe, away bills were smaller as well. Brian Clough pointed out that a good run in Europe was needed (if they were to get there) to equal the prize money offered by Texaco.
Two 8 page newspapers were also issued by Texaco – an English edition and a Scottish edition. Inside the English edition are some interesting comments from Clough about the Derby fans: ‘We have always taken some pride in the fact that our fans at the Baseball Ground are just about the most fair, well-behaved and sporting in the country – but there are times when we could really do with them being blind, biased and fanatical. Obviously we don’t want them to become hooligans and vandals but there are occasions when the Derby County team would benefit from much nosier and one-sided support – and this Second Leg of the Texaco Cup Final is one of those occasions’. Clough went on to discuss the financial benefits of the Texaco Cup for the Rams: ‘We want another big Texaco Cup gate for two reasons – firstly to give us the inspiration which can be as good as a goal start and secondly to get some more cash into the coffers. This competition has been very lucrative for Derby and the cash we have made in it could have a profound effect on our future successes. The Texaco Cup income could mean the difference between getting the big signings we are after or being outbid – that is why we have always taken the competition very seriously and why we will be approaching this second leg with as much keenness as for any game this season’.
The Ram newspaper from the final game of the season at home to Liverpool on 1 May, a game vital in deciding the League Championship, contained a small match report of the Texaco Cup final second leg. The match had ‘more than the odd flash of temper displayed’ and both Columb McKinley and home debutant, Roger Davies, were booked before Derby took the lead in the 40th minute. Kevin Hector was pulled down by goalkeeper Roddy Mackenzie, and Alan Hinton scored the penalty. As mentioned in issue 13 of Derby County Memories, Colin Boulton went unpunished by referee Jack Taylor for punching Drew Jarvie in the penalty area. Davies headed the second in the 50th minute from Barry Butlin’s cross, then Whitehead pulled a goal back for Airdrie on 77 minutes. The Rams, without Webster, McFarland, Todd, Gemmill and O’Hare, held on to add the Texaco Cup to the Watney Cup from the previous season. Skipper for the night, Alan Durban, stepped up to receive the trophy from the Football League President Len Shipman but a lap of honour had to be ended when over-enthusiastic supporters swamped the pitch. Airdrie showed the kind of fight that had pushed them clear of the relegation zone in Division 1 of the Scottish League. ‘We gave our lot,’ said skipper Derek Whitehead. Manager Ian McMillan added: ‘I was proud of the lads…I don’t think they let the club, or Scotland down’.
Derby 2 – 1 Airdrie (aggregate 2-1)
Line-up: Boulton, Powell, Robson, Durban, Daniel, Hennessey, McGovern, Butlin, Davies, Hector, Hinton
Irish and Northern Irish clubs withdrew from the Texaco Cup after 1971/72 due to political pressure, and in 1973/74 and 1974/75 competed in a separate Texaco (All-Ireland) Cup. Texaco withdrew sponsorship after the 1974/75 competition and the cup became the Anglo-Scottish Cup.