This Week in Football History: Ronnie Radford and the FA Cup's most iconic moment

What a goal!! Radford the scorer!!
What a goal!! Radford the scorer!!

In today's look back down memory lane, Adrian North recalls Ronnie Radford sending the Hereford crowd wild and launching the career of a certain John Motson in the process...

"The tackle from Ronnie Radford on John Tudor, the one-two with Brian Owen, and the rocket from 30-yards. With apologies to Giggs, Gerrard, and Villa, this is the FA Cup's most iconic moment, and also perhaps its most iconic piece of commentary."

February 5, 1972 - Hereford Utd 2-1 Newcastle Utd, Edgar Street: John Motson makes his career.  

"The magic of the Cup". It's the oldest of clichés, and one that has been overused so many times it has begun to annoy me a little these days when drunken fans call in to BBC Radio Five Live scream "magic of the bloody cup eh Robbie?" down the phone at an ever cheerful Robbie Savage.  

But the cliché is true. The FA Cup is a magical competition, just ask Bradford City. 

Since the war a non-league club has only beaten a first division giant on four occasions. Yeovil Town beat Sunderland in 1949, Sutton United shocked Coventry in 1989 and there was Luton's brilliant victory against Norwich a couple years back. 

But back in the third round of the FA Cup in 72', Newcastle United made the trip to a small town in Herefordshire and were to fall victim to their own hubris at the hands of Hereford United and Ronnie Radford.  

It's often forgotten that this game was actually a replay after Hereford had gone to St James' two weeks previously and came away with a remarkable 2-2 draw. Newcastle at the time were still harbouring ambitions of catching Derby, Liverpool and Leeds in that year's title race but after falling off the pace in December and having already drawn against Hereford the matches and fatigue were beginning to pile up for Tynesiders.  

Still, they had quite the team, spearheaded by Malcolm Macdonald who would later go to be the league's top scorer in 74/75 and 76/77 and the 2-2 at St James' was expected to be the magical story for that year.

Even a local Geordie newspaper had made up a story that had Macdonald claiming he would score ten goals against the southern non-leaguers in the replay.  

The match, having been postponed three times, eventually took place on February 6 and commentating for the BBC was the fresh new voice of a 26-year-old John Motson.

The Hereford groundsman was clearly in Mallorca that week as the pitch soon resembled a 1916 trench from Northern France and in such conditions a proper game of football was near enough impossible

After 80 minutes of the scrappiest football the cup has ever seen Macdonald headed in an apparent winner. But we all know what happened next.  
 

The tackle from Ronnie Radford on John Tudor, the one-two with Brian Owen, and the rocket from 30-yards. With apologies to Giggs, Gerrard, and Villa, this is the FA Cup's most iconic moment, and also perhaps its most iconic piece of commentary.  

"What a goal!! Radford the scorer!! And the crowd... The crowd are invading the pitch!"  

In five seconds, Motty had made his career and football had a new voice while the scenes of thousands of Hereford fans mobbing Radford have been replayed ever year since.  

Radford who, just like the other great miracle worker of the past two millennia, was a part-time carpenter had taken the game to extra-time where he would then play a key role in setting up Ricky George's winning goal in the 103rd minute, which sparked another pitch invasion and Newcastle, too shocked by what had just happened, couldn't find an equaliser.  

Hereford would be knocked out by a Geoff Hurst hat-trick in the Fourth Round but Radford, George, and all 14,000 parka-wearing Hereford fans had already become immortalised in football history.   

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