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Blast from the Past: Remembering Robert ‘Bud’ Hamilton

By Jim Campbell

Robert Hamilton was a local lad who was rated by many neutral observers to be the best full-back in Ireland when playing for Newry Town FC.

Robert or ‘Bud’ as he was affectionally known by many of his friends, first came into prominence when playing for Damolly Rovers during the 1924-25 season.

The Town’s local scout quickly recognised the young defender’s ability and persuaded him to sign up for The Marshes club towards the end of that season.

Newry’s management decided that it would help Robert’s development if he was loaned out to Portadown Reserves, whilst still remaining a signed senior league player with the Frontiermen.

Robert Hamilton

After six months or so ‘Bud’ was back in harness with The Town and at the beginning of the 1926-27 season he signed professional forms becoming an automatic choice at left full-back in the senior side.

His form in the early part of that season was absolutely magnificent and helped to catapult The Town into a top six Irish Senior League spot.

Interesting to note that Robert’s younger brother David, was also, by this time, an automatic choice at centre half in Newry’s very solid rearguard.

After a run of outstanding games in the senior league, 20 year old Robert was selected to play for The Irish League Representative Team against The Free State League at Windsor Park on Saturday 5th March 1927.

The game attracted a massive crowd in excess of 15,000 plus a host of cross channel scouts. Hamilton had a fine game, attracting the attention of Liverpool, Hearts and Glasgow Rangers. Rangers won the race for his signature but they had to increase their original offer to keep him away from Hearts or Liverpool.

The Town completed his transfer to Rangers on Thursday 10th March 1927 for an undisclosed fee and ‘Bud’ made his debut for the Glasgow club on Wednesday 16th March 1927 against Greenock Morton.

The Ireland’s Saturday Night newspaper commenting on Hamilton’s transfer to Glasgow Rangers said “Hamilton’s future is now in his own hands. He has the ball at his feet as it were and with him alone depends how high up the ladder of football fame he will climb. He has gone over to one of the best managed clubs in the land, a club that is known to give youngsters every opportunity to make good. He has everything on his side to make good. Youth, Height and Weight are assets which combined with ability should make any player feel comfortable in the best company.”

Very quickly Robert settled in at Ibrox Park and just as he was at Newry he became an automatic choice at left back in a great Rangers team that was sweeping all before it in Scotland.

In 1928 he was a member of the first Rangers team to tour America and also was a member of their 1929-30 clean sweep team winning the League Championship, Scottish Cup, Glasgow Cup and Glasgow Charity Cup. ‘Bud’ played in a further three Scottish Cup Finals ( Winning Two) and claimed three more Championship and Charity Cup Winners Medals.

Whilst at Rangers he added five full Irish International caps to the Inter League honour he had won at Newry.

Hamilton left Rangers in 1933 to sign for English Div 2 Club, Bradford City FC where he spent two seasons. He then moved North of The Border again to join Third Lanark and later went to Morton as his trophy-laden career came to a close.

After Robert signed for the Ibrox club in 1927 his younger Brother David continued to play for The Town in the Irish League but David’s career in football was halted when he emigrated to Canada.

Another of Robert’s brothers, Sammy ran two successful businesses on the Belfast Road in Newry for a number of years, namely Rockfoot Service Station and Rockfoot Carpets.

Married to a Welsh Lady, ‘Bud’ passed away in Cardiff on the 7th Feb 1964.

Blast from the Past: 10,000 fans at the Showgrounds for 1957 Irish Cup Tie

By Jim Campbell

In this article I recall the day almost sixty three years ago, when Newry Town played an Irish Cup second round tie against a powerful Glenavon side at the Showgrounds, in front of a record breaking 10, 000 crowd. The gate receipts of £525 (worth £12075 in today’s money) was also a record.

The date was Saturday, March 2, 1957 and the memories of that historic cup tie became permanently engraved in my schoolboy mind at that time.

Newry had qualified to play in the Irish Cup for the first time since 1940 and the town was buzzing with excitement for weeks ahead of the game.

Could Newry shock the football world and beat this fantastic Glenavon team with all its superstars such as Cush, Jones, Elwood, Corr, Campbell and McVeigh?

I vividly remember standing outside Woolworths’ front door in the town centre with a dozen or so other students from Newry Technical School when town star Pat Curtis came along and we were literally over the moon when our hero took the time to stop and talk to us about the game. He told us that the team was confident of success and reminded us that another Alliance League club Dundela had beaten Glenavon in the final of the Irish cup just two years earlier.

The town had a pre match defensive problem with Jimmy McKinven doubtful on the injured list so an urgent transfer of Teddie Harte was arranged with Banbridge Town FC (There was no such thing as transfer windows in those days).

There was a severe shortage of petrol, particularly in the Newry area so dozens of town fans living in the outlying hinterland had to use bicycles to get to the game.

The huge contingent of Glenavon fans travelled to the Showgrounds by bus, car and train.

One of the entrance gates at the Showgrounds collapsed under the pressure from the huge crowd before kick off and I reckon a hundred or so fans got in free of charge before the town management got the situation under control.

The town opened brightly and took the lead in the 15th minute of the game. The home fans erupted when NI Junior International star Pat Curtis collected a brilliant pass from the diminutive Jimmy Gallagher and slammed a magnificent twenty five yarder into the top corner past Roy Rea in the Glenavon goal.

But thereafter this star studded Glenavon side upped their game and ran out 4-1 winners – although this match was much closer than the scoreline would suggest. The battle between the two hard men – Wilbur Cush for Glenavon and Gerry Robinson for Newry in the midfield area was a feature. The two of them kicked lumps out of each other for almost the entire 90 minutes.

Newry Town’s panel for the historic game was: Jim Parkhill, Albert Black, Teddie Harte, Stanley Kidd, Jimmy McKinvin, Jackie Bowers, Gerry Robinson, Jimmy Gallagher, Billy Hewitt, Jimmy Edgar, Pat Curtis, Stevie Mallon, Derek O’Brien, and Eddie McGivern.

Glenavon: Rea, Armstrong, Lyske, Corr, Davis, Cush, Wilson, McVeigh, Jones, Campbell, and Elwood.

Referee: Mr C Flanagan (Sheffield)

Night at the Races this Saturday

Come along and join the craic at Newry City AFC’s Night at the Races this Saturday night (October 12) in the Social Club from 8pm.

If you would like to sponsor a horse there is still an opportunity to do so at £10 per horse or £50 to sponsor a race. Please contact Gary Wilson on 07745112320 asap

 

Blast from the Past: Local lads light up the Showgrounds

Newry Town 2 NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac 0

By Tony Bagnall

Exactly twenty years ago today, two local lads hit the glorious goals that pitched Newry Town into a money-spinning second round Inter-Toto Cup clash.

The pair, Robert Casey and Adrian Larkin, were the only two locals on the park in Newry Town’s first home European match.

Anyway those two magical, golden goals were enough to beat NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac and send the Newry Showgrounds into a frenzy.

The scenes afterwards were total ecstasy, players dancing with joy and the Town managerial team of Joe Rice, Trevor Anderson and Johnny McDonnell, together with many of the fans, dancing with them.

And make no mistake Newry deserved to go through.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, they created most of the clear-cut chances, most of the more telling moves.

On the other hand the full time professionals from Croatia were a solid footballing side and over the 90 minutes they probably had more possession. Their approach work was tidy and methodical but when it came to the nitty-gritty, they fell down.

There were some awesome performances from the Town team. Robert Casey was a giant. He ran the show, tackled like a tank, was supreme in the air and sprayed the ball about.

An absolute colossus.

Then there was Alan Hall who ran Casey close. When the Town needed him, especially in the ten minutes before the break, he was there to be counted. He made at least three goal-saving blocks and was never ruffled.

John Kenny was another big man for Newry, the Sligo speed-merchant ran his heart out while Stuart McLean, Tony Scappaticci and Shane Reddish scarcely put a foot wrong.

And then there was Adrian Larkin. He clicked his heels on the bench in Croatia without getting a run-out and did likewise for 79 minutes at the Showgrounds. But when he got his chance … how he took it. It might not have been the classiest goal ever scored at the Warrenpoint Road ground but arguably, in the over 80-year history of Newry Town, it was the most important.

However, overall it was the well-organised Newry teamwork that won the day.

With the rain pouring down the Town went into the attack straight from the kick-off and Dessie Gorman shaved the Hrvatatski post with an overhead kick.

The game settled down after that with both sides sparring, looking for a weakness. Newry found it on 16 minutes. Shane Reddish floated in a right wing freekick and there was Robert Casey rising majestically from a crowded goalmouth to power a header off the inside of keeper Zankarlo Simunic’s right hand post. A stunning goal.

The crowd went wild and the Town almost repeated the act ten minutes later when John Kenny crashed a low drive into the side-netting following an Alan Byrne free kick.

Casey was then blown up for a foul on the Croatian keeper after winning an aerial confrontation but most were of the opinion that the Town player was wrongly penalised.

In the ten minutes preceding the interval the Croatian visitors pressed strongly but the Newry defence was in a resolute mood. John Drake got in the way of a piledriver on 35 minutes and five minutes later McLean did likewise.

And Alan Hall in the space of sixty seconds twice did well to block.

On 48 minutes Robert Casey had another chance to net but Dessie Gorman’s right wing cross was a little too difficult to control.

Kenny too went close; following a sizzling 40-yard run, his searing drive inched past the base of the woodwork.

On the hour Rutherford, at the back post, miskicked a John Drake free kick and then three Town players, McLean, Kenny and Gorman each failed to get a touch on a Rutherford corner that ripped tantalisingly across the face of the Croatian goalmouth.

With 19 minutes left John Kenny blazed an Alan Hall freekick over the top as anxiety set in.

There was a mere eleven minutes to go however, when Dromalane lad Larkin replaced Dessie Gorman.

Talk about an inspired substitution. Trevor and Johnny Mac take full marks.  One minute later, and with just his second touch, the speedy marksman struck gold with a vital goal.

Robert Casey began the move shrugging off a Croatian, before deftly flicking a pass to John Kenny with the outside of his boot. Kenny picked out Larkin and the man nicknamed Joey slipped the ball under the advancing Simunic. And though the Dragovojac keeper did get a hand to the shot he couldn’t stop it trickling over the line.

The Showgrounds erupted for the second time.

But in the final nail-biting moments the visitors had a couple of opportunities to take the tie – and all they needed was an away goal to make the next round of the competition. However, Tony Scappaticci made a magnificent tackle to thwart Marin Lalic and then Berdi Nevio’s fierce drive zipped past the angle.

But Newry held on – and deservingly so – to make history and become the first Irish team to win an InterToto Cup tie.

Newry Town: Kevin McKeown, John Drake, Tony Scappaticci, Alan Hall, Stuart McLean, Shane Reddish, John Kenny, Alan Byrne, Robert Casey, Dessie Gorman, Mark Rutherford and Subs: Barry Tumilty (who replaced Byrne at the interval), Adrian Larkin, Trevor Smith, John McDonnell and Josh Connelly.

Cover photo caption: Robbie Casey celebrates with Adrian Larkin after the Dromalane lad hit the winner in the InterToto Cup tie against NK Hrvatatski Dragovojac.

DANIEL MURPHY NAMED NEWRY CITY SUPERFAN

Daniel Murphy has been named Newry City SuperFan 2018/19 at an NI Football League awards ceremony this week at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.

It’s the second year of the Danske Bank Premiership SuperFan Awards, which were launched to recognise supporters who go the extra mile for their clubs – the life blood of the Danske Bank Premiership.

Daniel Murphy is always accompanied by his mum, and the pair never miss a match. They are the life and soul of the supporters bus where they always have tea, coffee, sweets, buns and biscuits for all. A truly wonderful family, and Daniel is a true SuperFan who is loved by all at Newry City.

SuperFan nominations closed on 10 April 2019, with over 300 entries received across all 12 Premiership clubs.

 

 

Cover Photo: Daniel Murphy is presented with his SuperFan Award by Liam Curran, General Manager, Operations at Danske Bank. Also pictured are Laura Hillen, Media Officer at Newry City, Daniels mum Mary and event host Pete Snodden, Cool FM.