Dave Irving featured prominently for Reds on the 20th January, Sunday football was introduced to Workington and a TV crew was attracted by nostalgia – just some of the talking points in years gone by……
Workington’s policy of selling to survive reared its ugly head again forty eight years ago. The Board made no secret of the fact that they would have to sell one of their best assets if they were to stay in business.
Most supporters understood the situation but knew it would be to the team’s detriment, considering we were in with an outside chance of promotion at the time.
Speculation continued to grow on Dave Irving’s future during the winter months of the 1972-73 season with several clubs interested in Reds’ twenty-one year old striker.
And Dave’s last Fourth Division game for Workington was against Hereford United on this day in 1973. The Football League new boys, who had replaced Barrow, arrived at Borough Park on the back of a long unbeaten run but they came unstuck in front of our best crowd of the season – 2,065.
Dave Irving (featured), who else, opened the scoring but Hereford had levelled matters mid-way through the second half. And with a draw looking the most likely outcome, Dave Helliwell snatched an eighty seventh minute winner driving the ball past the visiting ‘keeper, David Icke.
Icke went into a career as a sports broadcaster after his time at Hereford but then became an infamous English conspiracy theorist!
Mr Irving, meanwhile, was on his way to Everton signing for the Goodison outfit two days after helping Reds overcome Icke’s Hereford.
The deal was believed to be worth £28,000 which, for twelve months, would be a record transaction for Workington.
Dave only made a handful of appearances for the Everton first team but his spell there was a part of what became an illustrious career which blossomed in USA.
Six years after his final Fourth Division game, Dave was playing in his hometown of Maryport helping Reds to a Cumberland Cup victory over Netherhall during a four month stint back at the club.
Dave scored the only goal, thanks to an assist from younger brother James, to secure the 1979 County Cup win watched by an estimated crowd of 200 at the Milltofts field.
Workington were involved in a bit of Football League history on the 20th January 1974 being one of a dozen clubs who became the first to play on a Sunday.
There was industrial strife in Britain at the time due to an energy crisis, compounded by the miners’ strike, with the ‘three day week’ introduced as a measure to spread resources.
And Sunday football was introduced as one of the consequences with a Borough Park Fourth Division encounter against Darlington producing the highest scoring game in that first batch of matches.
It finished 5-2 in Reds’ favour with the goals coming from two Tony Geidmintis penalties, an OG, Ian McDonald and Brian Wood.
Although the country was in the midst of another crisis, the turnstile response at Borough Park was good with the 1,763 spectators contributing to our best gate of the season.
Our only away league win recorded on this day was a 1990 NPL success at Curzon Ashton. A goal down at the interval, Reds came back to clinch the points thanks to Keith Glover’s equaliser and an 88th minute winner from teenager Graham Caton – his first goal for the club.
A Border TV crew turned up at Borough Park for a 1996 home match against Bradford Park Avenue with the interest down to a former Football League fixture being revived at Northern Premier League level. The previous Workington v. Park Avenue clash had been twenty five years earlier in the old Fourth Division.
The two ex. Football League members produced a decent game which Reds shaded 3-2 with David Taylor, Kevin Rowntree and Darren Wilson sharing the goals.
David Taylor’s son, Aaran, and Gari Rowntree, son of Kevin, were on duty for Reds in our most recent outing in 2018.
Gari skippered the team in a home match against Barwell during which Aaran saved a penalty. It was all in vain, though, as we lost 2-0!