In this series of articles, Steve McGhee takes a look at some of the programmes issued covering matches between Derby and those who, back in 1888, along with the Rams, were founder members of the Football League.
At the time of the inaugural season of the Football League in 1888, Preston could certainly lay claim to be the major power in English football, going through that first season unbeaten, winning the league title as well as the FA Cup. Centre-forward John Goodall, who finished the season as the League’s top scorer, was to join Derby a year later to team up with his brother Archie, also a former Preston player.
1935/36 Derby County v Preston North End
1935 saw North End start their second season back in the top flight after 10 years in the Second Division. Their opening home game for that season saw them beat the Rams 1-0 and, by the time of the return fixture just 9 days later, both clubs lay in the bottom half of the table with 2 points from 3 games. The match was held on a Wednesday – as midweek games at the Baseball Ground had traditionally attracted lower attendances than those on a Saturday. The gate of 21,299, down 4,500 on that of four days earlier, was not unexpected.
Derby issued their usual 16 page programme for the game with, as was standard, team line-ups on the front cover. At right-half for the visitors was future Liverpool legend Bill Shankly – the printers adding an extra “e” to his surname. Editorial content under “Here and There” alludes to ongoing transfer rumours surrounding centre-forward Jack Bowers, the club stating that “there is no more in it than there was before”. In discussing the defeat at Deepdale 9 days earlier, the editor’s comment “we were other than darlings of the Gods” is a very florid way of stating the team were rather out of luck on the day!
There’s an interesting paragraph on page 8 regarding the new double-decker stand at the Normanton end which had been formally opened at the previous home game by Bendle W. Moore, the club President. The editor writes: “We can pride ourselves now on the fact that we have one of the most compact and best equipped grounds in the country, even if the accommodation does not come within thousands of some”. The new grandstand is described as “completing a transformation scene” – and the stadium remained as it was until the construction of the Ley Stand 34 years later.
“Matters of the Moment” discusses various transfers around the country as well as reminding supporters that the kick-off time for the next home fixture, against Brentford on Sept.18th, would be 6pm. Advertising was, as ever, fairly prevalent and included notice of “The Mystery Of Edwin Drood”, starring Claude Rains, playing at the Coliseum in London Road for 6 days. Stanley Bradley purveyed Vantella shirts at 9/3d each or Permacola shirts (including two collars) at anything from 8/6d up to 15/6d.
The back cover includes an evocative photograph of the “Gentlemen’s Salon Bar & Smoke Room” at the Tiger Bar situated on the Corn Market. Not a jukebox or plasma TV in sight! Arthur Groves and Hughie Gallacher were on target as the Rams won 2-0, setting off on what would be an 8 match unbeaten run seeing the club rise to third place in the table.
1947/48 Preston North End v Derby County
On a ten-game unbeaten run, and lying in third place in the table, the Rams most likely arrived at Deepdale in confident mood to face a North End side who, though just one place below them in the league, had lost their previous 3 matches. A good game in prospect – and the 28,294 in attendance certainly got their moneys worth in a match full of incident and goals. There were eleven of them, in all. Six in the first half, Derby 2-0 up after 7 minutes, the teams going in at half-time level at 3-3 and a further five in the second half, the home side ultimately prevailing by the incredible score of 7-4. The following week’s Derby programme put this down to poor defending, the form of Tom Finney on the day and the fact that ‘keeper Bill Townsend spent the last 10 minutes of the game in a concussed state (would never be allowed nowadays). Derby’s goals came from Jack Howe with a penalty and the unlucky Angus Morrison who hit a hat-trick but still finished on the losing side. The home team’s goals came from Shankly, McIntosh and McLaren, who each scored twice, and Beattie.
The Preston match programme, at 16 pages, didn’t really alter too much between 1946 and 1966. Team lineups are on page 8, some brief editorial notes including a short history of the Rams, a feature on Preston v Wolves from 1937, a list of the 12 records to be played pre-match to entertain the crowd and the usual statistics. Unfortunately, the original owner of my copy chose to remember the occasion by writing the final score on the front cover. Advertising content is surprisingly lacking in the usual ones of the times for pubs and tobacco, instead featuring ads for bread, laundry services, Oxo and, on page 15, one from the Preston Gas Company who delight in telling the reader how “Mr.Therm” has revitalised the home life of “Mrs. Jones” by supplying not just automatic hot water and cooking but also automatic heating! What we take for granted nowadays wasn’t always the case….
1953/54 Derby County v Preston North End FA Cup
Sixty years ago, the FA Cup was still very much a highlight of the season for all clubs and the third round draw paired Derby, who had been relegated at the end of the previous season, with First Division Preston (who had been the final visitors to the Baseball Ground that season). Both clubs were in mid-table in their respective leagues, Derby in 13th place with 25 points from 26 games and North End in 10th place with….25 points from 26 games.
Attendances at the Baseball Ground were hovering, on average, just under 20,000 but the lure of seeing Tom Finney and ex-Ram Angus Morrison in action raised the gate on the day to 25,339, however it was Preston who triumphed on the day 2-0. Indeed, they went on that season to reach the Cup Final before losing 2-3 to West Bromwich Albion.
For the match, Derby issued their standard 16 page programme. The editorial consists solely of an introduction to Preston and their players as well as mentioning that this would be only the second time the clubs had ever met in the Cup. Apart from the usual statistics, there is not a great deal else for the reader though he or she could study the crowd photo on page 4 and win 10 shillings if they were the “person ringed in the photograph”. The list of top scorers for all fur divisions shows Hugh McLaren as Derby’s top scorer with 11 goals – however this Cup tie would prove to be his final game for the Rams before he moved down the road to the City Ground. Aside from the advertising content, future notice is given of an upcoming Schools International between England and Ireland at the Baseball Ground as well as a rail excursion for fans to travel to the club’s next game at Lincoln (price: 6/6d return!)
1956/57 Derby County Reserves v Preston North End Reserves
Forward to November 3rd 1956, and, whilst Derby were continuing their Third Division (North) campaign at Accrington and Preston entertained Sunderland in the First Division, the two clubs’ respective reserve sides met in a Central League fixture at the Baseball Ground. Both clubs were in the lower half of the table though matches involving the Rams were certainly entertaining, 64 goals being scored in their 14 games to date (a total only exceeded by West Brom’s reserve team). Pike and Woodhead were on target for the Rams in a 2-0 victory.
The club issued a four page programme for the match costing 2d. League tables and a half-time scoreboard were on page 2, lineups on page 3 and fixture lists on the rear cover. In the Preston lineup that day was a man who had appeared prominently in the previous two matches in this article – Angus Morrison. This proved to be one of his final appearances for North End before he brought his career to a close with a transfer to Millwall. Twelve years earlier, Angus had joined Derby from Highland League side Ross County for the princely transfer fee of….one box of cigars!
Home programmes from 56/57 Derby reserve games are quite hard to track down in comparison to those from subsequent seasons – I wonder if print runs for this season were lower due to the fact the club were in Division Three at the time?
1958/59 Derby County v Preston North End FA Cup
In 1958, the two clubs were once again drawn together in the third round of the FA Cup. The tie at the Baseball Ground, played in heavy rain, drew a crowd of 29,237 – far and away the club’s highest attendance of the season. Derby, lying 10th in the Division Two, were probably the underdogs as their opponents were in the top six of the First Division, but made a great start with a Jack Parry goal after just 2 minutes. Derek Mayers quickly replied for the visitors before George Darwin gave the Rams a 19th minute lead. They held this advantage until the 78th minute when a back pass from Albert Mays allowed Dennis Hatsell to take the tie to a replay at Deepdale.
Derby issued their standard 16 page programme for the game costing 3d. Lineups and league tables were on the centre pages, fairly detailed pen pictures of the Preston players and a match report on the previous week’s first team game at Leyton Orient and reserve team fixture with Chesterfield made up the rest of the reading material.
The Baseball Ground was to host the Schools International between England and Scotland in April of that year and supporters were advised that tickets for the game would be available from January 17th. Advertising in the programme is quite bland compared to pre-war issues, much of it relating to the industrial and engineering sectors. The late 50s saw the opening of many Chinese restaurants throughout the country as consumers’ tastes became more sophisticated and, on Midland Road, the New Asia restaurant advertised itself as being open from 11am to 11pm seven days a week. No mention of a takeaway service, though. Perhaps that was a later development?
The replayed tie was scheduled for three days later and Preston issued a single card for the match with lineups on the front and an advert for Wolseley cars on the rear. This tie was postponed, however, due to the bad weather gripping the country and, when it was eventually played, on the 19th, it was Preston who advanced to the Fourth Round with a 4-2 victory in front of a crowd of 29,294. Dave Cargill netted both Rams’ goals, one from the penalty spot. As far as I’m aware, Preston didn’t issue a fresh programme for the game on the 19th. North End went on to reach the semi-final stage before losing out to Bolton Wanderers.
1969/70 Preston North End v Derby County FA Cup
In 1970, and in Derby’s first season back in the top flight, the two clubs were once again drawn together in the third round of the Cup, this time at Deepdale. With Preston now in the lower reaches of the Second Division, it was the Rams who were the favourites this time though, as the club had been eliminated in the third round on each of the previous 6 seasons, nothing would be taken for granted. The attendance of 21,479 was actually lower than North End’s previous game at Deepdale though that was the Boxing Day derby against Bolton. Both teams wore change strips for the game, Derby in all-blue and Preston in red shirts and, after 90 minutes on a muddy pitch, the sides were all level after a 1-1 draw, Alan Durban on target for the Rams.
The home team’s programme is an excellent read, 20 pages costing one shilling, with limited advertising. There are full page photos of both clubs’ squads, articles on the home side’s John Ritchie and the Derby “personality” Brian Clough, of whom it is said he was being linked with the vacant manager’s job at Barcelona!
There is a detailed analysis of the home club’s attendances for the season (always something that appeals to a “statto” such as myself) and a “flashback” feature on the Cup tie at the Baseball Ground in 1954. The lineups on the back page are unusual in that they only use the players’ surnames – by now, most clubs were using their full names. Wearing the number ten shirt for Preston is “Gemmill”….I wonder what happened to him?
Derby were to triumph 4-1 in the replay and, after beating Sheffield United in the next round, were eliminated by QPR at a packed Loftus Road. For Preston, the season ended in relegation to the Third Division for the first time in their history.
This article was first printed in issue 8 of Derby County Memories (March 2015). If you enjoyed reading it, why not buy copies of the magazine? See the About section for further details.