Step back in time: Remembering Falmouth Town's trailblazing team of the fifties (From Falmouth Packet)
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Step back in time: Remembering Falmouth Town's trailblazing team of the fifties
Pictured above is the Falmouth Town team of 1958/59, who were responsible for introducing a brand new era of contract professionalism into Cornish football following the sale of the Ashfield ground to Shell Mex and British Petroleum.
Town won the South Western League Cup the season before, and had bedded themselves in to Bickland Park with a mainly local team in their first season there, before signing the likes of Danny Sullivan (Crystal Palace), Roy Mallett and Ron Shorthouse (both Plymouth Argyle), and centre forward George Willis, who had played over 100 games in the football league for Brighton, Argyle, and Exeter City.
The team was considerably bolstered by England amateur international Jimmy Coates, who happened to be stationed at RNAS Culdrose.
Jimmy could strike the ball with fearsome power, and is fondly remembered by older Town followers.
A year later he captained Kingstonian against Hendon in the FA Amateur Cup final in front of 100,000 fans at Wembley.
Another from Culdrose was flying winger Terry Willett, who played for the Royal Navy.
The team captain Roy Mallett was starting his 12-year stint at Falmouth Town.
Yeovil Town had tried to sign him from Argyle, but such was Falmouth’s ambition as explained to him by then chairman Desmond Benson, he decided on Falmouth instead.
With the £20 maximum wage inflicted on football league clubs (and abolished in the early 1960s) many top players preferred to play in non-league football which, was enjoying a golden era, with large crowds regularly turning up at Bickland Park, which saw the 500 seater stand largely taken up by season ticket holders.
The team also had its local heroes in Jimmy King (goalkeeper) who had replaced the long serving Rex Manhire who had broken his collar bone, Norman Morrison (left back), Cedric Martin (left half), and “Jock” Logan (outside left).
The South Western League Cup final was played at St Blazey against local rivals Truro City.
Their star was Geoff Peach, who fetched a considerable transfer fee the following season which brought him to Bickland Park to replace Jimmy Coates - perhaps the only fee paid between two clubs in the South West.
Peach did indeed score for City, and Basil Steer grabbed a brace, but they couldn’t match Falmouth’s firepower as Town netted six times through George Willis (3), Jock Logan (2) and another from Danny Sullivan.
Town kept adding to their team over the next couple of seasons until they consisted solely of contract professionals, setting new records over the next 40 years in Cornish football, including three appearances in the FA Cup against Football league opposition - the only Cornish club to ever achieve this.
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