The hunt is on for Dudley Town old-boys

Dudley Town are keen to hunt down former players who figured in two of the club’s most historic seasons.

Dudley Town’s 1976 FA Cup heroes, back row, left to right: Derrick Cooper (assistant manager), John Edwards (manager), Alan Phillips, Bob Fellows, Mike Leyland, Alan Walker, Brian Hampton, John Smith, Ernie Mordan (Physio). Front: Johnny Chester, Nigel Bullock, John Sneyd, John Day, Richard O’Kelly, Dave Molyneux, Ray Abbey
Dudley Town’s 1976 FA Cup heroes, back row, left to right: Derrick Cooper (assistant manager), John Edwards (manager), Alan Phillips, Bob Fellows, Mike Leyland, Alan Walker, Brian Hampton, John Smith, Ernie Mordan (Physio). Front: Johnny Chester, Nigel Bullock, John Sneyd, John Day, Richard O’Kelly, Dave Molyneux, Ray Abbey

The West Midlands League outfit are looking to stage a reunion dinner later this year and want as many former Robins from the squad that reached the first round of the FA Cup in 1976 and the one that won the Southern League title in 1984/85.

Under the guidance of manager John Edwards, whose son Jon is a current director of the club, Dudley made their one and only appearance in the first round of the world’s oldest cup competition.

The Robins kicked-off their record run with a preliminary round 3-1 victory against Halesowen Town. Wins against Stratford (2-0), Bilston Town (4-1), Enderby Town (1-0) and Southern League Bedford (1-0) then set up a first-round clash with Third Division York City, who were managed by Wilf McGuinness.

Over 5,000 fans crammed into the Sports Centre in Dudley to see Edwards’ side go close to a giant-killing act as they claimed a 1-1 draw. The reply saw the professional outfit end the Robins’ historic run as they bagged a 4-1 win.

Graham Smith was the man in charge when Dudley were crowned Southern League Midland Division champions in 1984/85.

That successful campaign was to be the club’s last at the Sports Centre with the ground being closed down and condemned and after mine workings under the adjacent cricket ground collapsed.

And now club director Stephen Austin wants to track down the heroes from those glory years and also other players who turned out for the club during the 70s and 80s.

“We are on the search for former players,” said Austin. “Later in the year we are planning a club reunion and also looking at potentially starting a former players’ association.

“It’s 45 years since we made our only ever venture into the first round proper of the FA Cup against York City.

“We are trying to re-establish contacts with players that played for Dudley from the 1970s and 1980s when we won the Southern League as well. We want players that played during that period of time to make contact with us.

“Through things like Facebook we have access to people from the more modern era, but for those two specific highlights in our history it’s difficult to try and track people.

“At the moment we have only found two people from that period of time and we would like to try to find some more.”

Former players can get in touch with Austin by email (stephenaustin_43@hotmail.com) or through the club’s website www.dudleytownfootballclub.co.uk

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