'I queued for four hours' - Barber recalls Cup classic

Thursday 22 Jan 2015
Leeds boss Don Revie checks out the pitch at Sutton

Ahead of a big weekend of action in The FA Cup, FA Historian David Barber chooses his favourite Fourth Round tie...

I thought of myself as a Crystal Palace fan in the 1960s, though I saw a lot of amateur football too.

There were plenty of visits to Gander Green Lane, the home of Isthmian League Sutton United, and I attended their FA Amateur Cup Final with Wimbledon in ’63.

Sutton United 0-6 Leeds United

The FA Cup Fourth Round
Saturday 24 January 1970
Gander Green Lane, Sutton

It was the first time my dad took me to Wembley.

Sutton had a great FA Cup run in the 1969-70 season. They won at Dagenham and Barnet in the first two rounds and then drew 0-0 at Hillingdon Borough of the Southern League.

The Fourth Round draw threw up the possibility of a magical tie from my point of view – ‘Hillingdon Borough or Sutton United…will play Leeds United’!

Don Revie’s Leeds were in their pomp then and were the reigning League Champions. Sutton won their replay – I couldn’t go because I had homework to do – but I was determined to get tickets for me and Dad for the Leeds game.

The tickets were on general sale from the ground on a Sunday and I think I was in the queue for something like four hours. But it was definitely worth it.

We got there really early for the game, driving from Coulsdon, but the ground already seemed pretty full. There were 14,000 inside that day and our ‘vantage point’ for that special contest was a ledge by the toilets near one of the corner flags!

Allan Clarke and Mick Jones for Leeds United

Allan Clarke and Mick Jones were both in the Leeds side

Leeds lined up with Harvey, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles and Madeley. It was a million-pound side full of famous internationals.

Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke, then Britain’s costliest footballer, scored the opener on 15 minutes and I could see it being a big score.

The amateurs did their best, with centre-half John Faulkner making such a good job of shadowing Mick Jones that Leeds signed him after the game!

It wasn’t quite one-way traffic. Larry Pritchard, an England amateur international, hit the bar at our end and Faulkner had a goal disallowed for a foul.

But Leeds were clinical, Clarke notching four and Lorimer two in their 6-0 victory.

The Leeds players lined up to applaud the Sutton heroes off the pitch. Nearly 20 years later another Sutton team played top-flight Coventry City at the same ground – and beat them.

For details of all this weekend's FA Cup Fourth Round ties, click here.

By David Barber FA Historian