2016 marks the 90th anniversary of football in Aldershot and this year we will be remembering the most important matches, players and moments which have shaped our clubs. Every day on our Twitter and Facebook pages we remember another piece of history, and then bring them altogether here at the end of the week…
Portsmouth 1 Aldershot 3 – Tuesday 1 January 1980, Fratton Park: The injury-hit visitors produced a stunning performance to lead from the front and earn a fourth-successive away win. In front of 23,462, The Shots never looked back after Micky French’s ninth-minute header put them ahead, as Brodie flicked on McGregor’s corner, and Portsmouth contrived to concede another two, virtually identical goals. On 25 minutes, Andy Needham (below) headed Malcolm Crosby’s corner past Alan Knight, via another Brodie flick, but still it took some superb saves from Glen Johnson to preserve their lead. Needham poached his second on 87 minutes, and even though Alan Rogers scrambled a consolation seconds later, Aldershot found a New Year’s spring in their step.
Liverpool 1 Aldershot 0 – Saturday 2 January 1971, Anfield: Former Reds midfielder Jimmy Melia returned to Anfield as Aldershot manager to take on the Liverpool of Shankly, Toshack, Heighway, Callaghan, Clemence and all in this fog-bound FA Cup third round tie. But it was The Shots who took the plaudits, with one newspaper report suggesting that Liverpool suffered “a number of alarms and excursions against the surprisingly resilient Aldershot” before and after John McLaughlin’s 28th minute winner. Dennis Brown should have put The Shots ahead in just the fifth minute but even though Melia lost possession in the build-up to McLaughlin’s strike, “almost all the honours went to the gallant Fourth Division side” in front of over 45,000 fans.
Huddersfield Tn 1 Aldershot 1 – Saturday 3 January 1970, Leeds Road: The Shots travelled to the Division Two leaders – and eventual Champions – in fine form themselves but, even buoyed by a nine-game unbeaten run, this was a result few expected. Featuring future top flight stars such as Frank Worthington, Trevor Cherry and Jimmy Nicholson, The Terriers found The Shots worthy adversaries. Steve Smith gave the hosts the lead in front of a near 17,000 crowd at Leeds Road but Len Walker’s fine drive from the edge of the box earned Aldershot a replay. AFC: Godfrey, Walden, Jopling, Walker, Dean, Paton, Walton, Brown, Howarth, Melia, Gowans
Stafford Browne (53 goals in 105 games) – born Monday 4 January 1971: Joint-sixth in The Shots’ all-time record goalscorers list, Stafford averaged better than a goal every other game over two spells between October 2000 and May 2003. The Sussex-born striker, who played in the Football League with Brighton and Hove Albion, scored 17 times in 33 games in his first season with The Shots – including a four-goal haul against Hitchin in April 2001 – and was then top scorer in 2001-02 with 30 goals. Probably his finest hour came in May 2002 at Southampton’s new St Mary’s Stadium, as his second-half hat-trick saw The Shots come from behind to beat Havant and Waterlooville and win the Hampshire Senior Cup.
West Ham United 0 Aldershot 0 – Saturday 5 January 1991, Upton Park: A crowd of 22,292 – technically The Shots’ largest ever home attendance – saw an inspired display from goalkeeper Peter Hucker earn a replay. Although drawn at home, this FA Cup third round tie was switched on safety grounds – but still The Shots took the tie legitimately back to Upton Park! Hucker, an FA Cup Finalist with Queen’s Park Rangers in 1982, kept the Hammers at bay with a string of superb saves to keep the tie goalless. West Ham, of course, won the replay 6-1 at the start of a run to a Wembley semi-final against Nottingham Forest! AFC: Hucker, Brown, Cooper, Randall, Ogley, Flower, Burvill, Puckett, Williams, Henry, Stewart
Tommy McAnearney (Player & Manager) – born Friday 6 January 1933: Quite simply one of the most revered figures in the history of the Club, the Dundee-born wing-half joined The Shots as player-coach in March 1966. He was appointed player-manager in March 1967 and, after spells coaching former club Sheffield Wednesday and managing Bury, Tommy returned to The Shots as permanent manager in May 1972. In his first season, Tommy secured the Club’s first-ever promotion, and then led the team to its highest-ever finish, of eighth in Division Three. His team were then seconds away from reaching the 1979 FA Cup quarter-finals, only to lose in a replay to Shrewsbury Town. With a Shots career spanning 116 appearances as a player and over 500 games as manager, McAnearney – who passed away aged 79 in February 2012 – is one of few people to genuinely warrant legendary status at Aldershot FC.
Aldershot 1 Shrewsbury Town 1 – Saturday 7 January 1961, The Recreation Ground: Before 1979, there was the epic Shots v Shrews saga of 1961. Over 30,000 people enjoyed the three instalments of this FA Cup third round battle which began with an eventful 1-1 draw. Shrewsbury, inspired by Arthur Rowley, could have been four goals up by half-time, but somehow only had Malcolm Starkey’s goal to show for their dominance. The second-half, though, belonged to Dave Smith’s Shots. An equaliser came on 77 minutes, from John Lawlor’s penalty after Carl Taylor was fouled, and in the closing stages Aldershot – who “played like demons” according to the News & Mail – could easily have won it with five or six great chances. But a replay it was…
We want to tell the official and unofficial histories of Aldershot FC and Aldershot Town, and we also want your memories, to create a personal history of your Club and form part of the new Shots Stories archive. Be it your favourite match or player, your first Shots game, your memory of a great goal or – because some of the best memories aren’t always directly related to what happens on the pitch – the best away day or any story connected to supporting The Shots. These tales will be added to a new section of this website, so get writing and help us to remember. Email your contributions to email@example.com with ‘Shots Stories’ in the subject.