THE VIC MORGAN COLUMN: Bearing the Brunt of a long old trip to Cumbria (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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THE VIC MORGAN COLUMN: Bearing the Brunt of a long old trip to Cumbria
6:00am Thursday 13th September 2012 in Sport
Brunton Park, Carlisle. The sort of trip for a football fan that tests your loyalty, and bank balance.
After all its virtually in Scotland and not the place you'd normally put down for a day’s visit. Not that I have anything against Carlisle, its a lovely area, the people are always hospitable and friendly and games between the two sides generally memorable.
I remember Arthur Horsfield grabbing a brace at the County Ground against the Cumbrians early in his Town career in a two-all draw. That was a season which saw Swindon flirt deliciously with promotion to the old Division One, only for the effort to just fall short at the dawn of the seventies.
Horsfield also netted in the 1-1 draw with Jimmy Armfield's Blackpool that season. A game which drew twenty eight, yes, twenty eight thousand to the County Ground on a Tuesday night.
It was one of those evenings that everyone had to breathe in and out at the same time in the Town End, otherwise life was a little cramped. My first venture to Cumbria came at the end of a season which saw Swindon gain promotion via the play offs.
It was an afternoon when a badger helped beat the foxes. Bryan Wade, a shrewd Lou Macari signing from Trowbridge, hit one of the three goals which helped Town cement that play off place which led to ultimate success at Selhurst Park against Gillingham.
Bryan's nickname was "Badger", never knew why, just know he was a terrific little player and one of the many success stories to come out of that rise up the leagues. That visit also included a trip to Gretna Green by the supporters bus.
I don't recall anyone getting married that day and suffice it to say I haven't been back to Gretna.
It's also a fixture that one Charlie Austin will never forget I'm sure. Brought in by Danny Wilson for his full league debut, he'd come on at Norwich as a substitute, Charlie announced himself to the world as the goalscorer we know he is after just three minutes. Let’s hope that's not repeated later this month when Burnley come to Town in the League Cup.
Mention of that competition leads me to one of our greatest links with Carlisle United. Signed from the Cumbrians in the same month as England won the World Cup, was the late Stan Harland.
Stan, arguably our greatest ever captain, went on to lead Swindon to their 1969 triumph against Arsenal at the same venue as Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet. Stan remains a Swindon legend in the true sense of the word.
He even bagged one of the goals in a four-nil County Ground win over Juventus, staggering. They may be miles apart but always great memories, let’s hope some more are created this Saturday afternoon, see you there...
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