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Grantham Town's 50th anniversary reunion of 1974 squad celebrates team’s glorious football past

A reunion of former players has celebrated 50 years since the town’s most memorable match and the legacy it created.

Grantham Town Football Club celebrated a momentous 50th-anniversary reunion last week, bringing together the legendary class of '74 at the Sysonby Knoll Hotel.

The event on June 7 honoured the team's remarkable journey, especially their memorable FA Cup match against Middlesbrough.

Grantham FC legends reunited to reminisce and honour their legacy.
Grantham FC legends reunited to reminisce and honour their legacy.

Former players, including Ernie Nixon, Bob Norris, Jimmy Bloomer, Andy Crawford, Jimmy Jackson, Gerry Taylor, and Brent Horobin, reunited with the wives of Chris Gardiner, Terry Bly, and Ron Harrison.

The reunion was a heartfelt celebration of team spirit and camaraderie that defined Grantham Town's most successful era.

Sophie Cope, attending the event, said: "It's always an honour to share the company of arguably the most successful team in the club's history.

The event kicked-off a nostalgia-filled day.
The event kicked-off a nostalgia-filled day.

“The bond they shared is clear to see and still remains as strong as ever."

The gathering reminisced about past glories and highlighted the club's efforts to emulate Terry Bly's legacy.

The former Gingerbreads continue to support the club, eagerly anticipating the new season and the opportunity to connect with fans and share tales of their golden days.

Former players reflected on the memorable matches
Former players reflected on the memorable matches

The FA Cup Third Round tie against Middlesbrough in January 1974 is Grantham Town FC's most significant match.

This match saw the then non-League club face off against Jack Charlton’s formidable Middlesbrough side, who were leading the Second Division at the time.

The season was a significant chapter in their opposition’s history, and they faced a Division Two team who, under the management of Jack Charlton, achieved remarkable success by securing promotion to the top tier of English football.

Boro would go on to clinch the league title with a record 15-point margin, setting milestones such as the highest points total (65), the longest unbeaten league run (24 games), and the best defensive record (just 30 goals against).

The game was held at Grantham's London Road Ground, attracting a crowd of over 6,000 fans, a record for the club.

Despite being outplayed, Grantham Town's squad gave Middlesbrough a tough fight.

The final score was 2-0 in favour of Middlesbrough, with goals from David Armstrong and David Mills securing their victory.

However, Jack Charlton praised Grantham's performance, noting the challenge they presented, famously remarking, "By heck, they gave us a fright!"

This match not only highlighted Grantham Town's capabilities but also cemented their place in the annals of FA Cup history.

The squad's efforts that season, under the management of Terry Bly, also saw them finish as runners-up in the Southern League, the top tier of non-league football at the time.

The legacy of this match and the team’s performance continues to be celebrated, exemplified by various commemorations and reunions over the years.

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