When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
AFC Bournemouth feature: Bedford's heroics in epic 1956-57 cup run
WHEN Brian Bedford headed Cherries into a 3-0 lead against Burton Albion, little did he know his exploits against the Birmingham League part-timers would go down in club history.
Ever present as Freddie Cox’s Pippins embarked on Cherries’ best run in the FA Cup in 1956-57, Bedford also scored to give Matt Busby’s Babes a fright in the sixth round.
He also played his part in famous victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Spurs, a rather fortunate win at Swindon and a narrow triumph against Accrington Stanley.
A crowd of 13,245 at Dean Court saw Cherries thump the Brewers 8-0 with Bedford, Ollie Norris (3), Stan Newsham (2), Mike Lyons and an own goal making up the tally.
“As the scoreline suggests, it was fairly comfortable and set us off on the run,” said Bedford, who plundered 38 goals in 83 appearances for Cherries before Alec Stock paid £750 to take him to QPR where he remains the club’s second highest goalscorer.
“We were delighted to get through the first round.”
Although his recollections of the 2-0 win against Accrington are vague, Bedford remembers one talking point from the 1-0 victory at Swindon in the second round where Reg Cutler’s goal saw them through with Bob Edwards missing a late penalty for the Robins.
“We had a player injured and there were no subs in those days,” said Bedford. “Freddie Cox stuck him on the left wing and pushed him as far upfield as he could. Every time we played ball to him, he was offside. It was a time-wasting tactic. Clever, but not very sporting.
“Everybody started to get excited after we had got through three rounds. It was just a question of who we got in the fourth and we pulled out Wolves. They had a multitude of internationals including Billy Wright and six or seven other England players.
“We were hopeful but not very confident. We were under siege for the whole game but managed to win 1-0. Reggie Cutler, who slid into the back of the net and broke the goal frame, scored a breakaway goal.
“It was an extraordinary incident. After we had scored, it was all hands to the pump. Somehow, and I don’t know how, we got through. They put us under enormous pressure for most of the game and it was a win built on defensive stubbornness. It was frightening but exhilarating at the same time.”
Heralded as one of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history, Cherries’ reward for victory over Wolves, then third in the top flight, was a home tie against Spurs, who were second.
Such was the demand for tickets that when they went on sale during a reserve game against Aldershot, a crowd of 19,531 turned up at Dean Court for a Football Combination fixture.
In front of 25,892, goals from Norris, Newsham and Nelson Stiffle’s 25-yarder earned Cherries a 3-1 win and booked them a place in the sixth round for the first time in their history.
“The whole town went mad after the Wolves win and expecta-tions were sky-high,” said Bedford, who turned 80 on Christmas Eve and now lives just outside Cardiff. “We all had to raise our game and the cup run gave us tremendous confidence and belief that we could play higher.
“We played Spurs off the park. At the end of the game, Danny Blanchflower came into our dressing room and wished us luck for the next round. It was a wonderful gesture and took dignity and courage.”
Having already hit the bar, Bedford opened the scoring against Manchester United, the champions and first division leaders claiming the ball had gone out of play before he headed home. There was also controversy over their two goals, both scored by Johnny Berry, the winner coming from the penalty spot.
Six of the United starting line-up would go on to lose their lives in the Munich air disaster just 11 months later, while Berry, who survived the crash, never played again due to his injuries.
“What annoyed me more than anything were the directors,” said Bedford. “Every time we won, they were in there congratulating and patting us on the back. Not one of them came in after the United game and I remember thinking to myself what a load of outhouses they were. It was a disappointing end to what had been a wonderful period.”
Comments are closed on this article.