Remembering the class of ‘84

It would be remiss of us not to mention the 40th anniversary of Reds lifting their first NPL trophy.

It was on the 2 May, 1984 that Workington won the President’s Cup for the one and only time.  They overcame Marine in a two-legged final, on the ‘away goals’ rule, after a 1-1 draw at The Marine Travel Arena (Rossett Park in those days) and a tension filled goalless draw at Borough Park.

Reds had reached the final after aggregate victories over Chorley (2-1) and Burton Albion (2-1).

Skipper John Reach, who had scored in the previous two rounds, netted the vital away goal in the first leg of the final and recalls a special occasion.

“I remember we went to Marine with a certain degree of trepidation.  They were a top eight side and we were struggling below mid table and matches there were always hard fought and physical.

“We fell behind but the boys ‘dug-in’ and we more than held our own.  A cross into their box was partially punched clear by the goalkeeper and it fell nicely for me and I struck a half volley before being bundled to the floor.  I didn’t see the ball go in but, from the loud cheers from the travelling Reds fans, I knew we were level.

“It was a great away draw and one which gave us hope for the second leg.

“The return leg was a very nervy affair with several half chances created by both teams but none taken.  The old cliché rings true, ‘the supporters were the twelfth man’ and they helped us through a difficult 120 minutes and the inevitable pitch invasion at the final whistle was just fantastic.

“Needless to say, I didn’t drive home that night,” concluded Reds’ influential captain during the early eighties.

Reach, a retired teacher, watches Newcastle United occasionally nowadays and plays golf badly but is longing for a return to Borough Park and intends to attend a game next season.

Sadly, the manager of that successful team, Joe Wojciechowicz, passed away nearly two years ago.

Goalkeepers that season, Keith Hunton and Gerard Fisher, are still based in the county living in Workington and Carlisle respectively.  John Smith and Graham Gill were based in Preston and Chorley the last time we made contact with Vaughn Williams still a Lancaster resident and Neil McDonald, who attended a Borough Park game recently, settled in his hometown of Barrow.

Midfielders Allan Carruthers and Keith Sawyers are based in the north of the county and getting their sporting kicks on the golf course.

Martin Gaffney, Keith Glover, Martin Harris and Gary Messenger are all west Cumbria based, the latter a regular attender at home matches.  Ian Johnston is another of the Cumbrians that still lives in the area and he has watched son, Craig, and grandson, Owen, come through the various Workington teams over the years.

Completing the squad of 1984 was Wayne Harrison and he remains actively involved in the game, coaching to high level in America.    

Like our present-day idols, the Reds of forty years ago ended a disappointing league campaign with a memorable cup success at Borough Park.

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