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1964-1973 THE SCOULAR YEARS

PUBLISHED

11:36 21st March 2013

by Richard Shepherd

Pushing for promotion - and that night with Madrid!


Jimmy Scoular's arrival at Ninian Park corresponded with City's first steps in European competition - and there were many notable matches at Ninian Park and abroad while the Scot was in charge!

Entry to the European Cup Winners Cup was open to the winners of the Welsh Cup and the Bluebirds almost made that trophy their own during Scoular's reign. While their league form remained indifferent in 1964-65 and they finished in thirteenth place, City fans rallied when it came to European matches.

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Scoular and family, on their arrival at Ninian Park in June 1964

Esbjerg of Norway were their first scalps and after a 0-0 draw in the away leg, a Peter King goal put City into the second round where they were drawn against Sporting Lisbon, the holders of the cup. The away leg came first and in an astonishing match, goals by winger Greg Farrell and Derek Tapscott gave the Bluebirds a magnificent 2-1 victory. The return leg was a dour bruising game, but City held out for a 0-0 draw to reach the quarter-final.

Once again a tough draw paired them with the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup holders, Real Zaragoza of Spain. Gareth Williams and Peter King made it a 2-2 draw at La Romareda, but a crowd of 38,458 at Ninian Park for the second leg went home disappointed when a late goal by Canario, a former member of Di Stefano's awe-inspiring Real Madrid side, proved enough to put the Spanish club through.

Scoular had a big clear out of players for the following season but it had little effect as the club slumped to twentieth place in Division Two. One notable event during the season however, was the introduction of sixteen-year-old substitute John Toshack who scored on his debut against Leyton Orient in November, 1965. There was another milestone when City's match against Coventry City was the first to be beamed back to the away side's ground. About 10,000 Sky Blue supporters were at Highfield Road to watch their side win 2-1 on giant screens.

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John Toshack

There was no change in Cardiff's league fortunes for the next few seasons and they narrowly avoided relegation to Division Three by finishing twentieth yet again. After being knocked out of the Cup Winners' Cup at the first hurdle in 1965 by the classy Belgian outfit, Standard Liege, City shocked the football world by reaching the semi-finals in the 1967-68 season. Peter King began the good work by netting Cardiff's goal against Shamrock Rovers to earn a 1-1 draw in Dublin. Bobby Brown and John Toshack made sure of further progress by scoring  in the return leg at Ninian Park.

Holland was the next port of call and once again King was on the mark as City held the Dutch side NAC Breda to 1-1 in the first leg, leaving Brown, Toshack, Barrie Jones and Malcolm Clarke to fire the goals in a 4-1 second leg win at Ninian Park.

Scoular had now cleverly worked out a way of playing the away legs with an extra defensive player, usually Malcolm Clarke, and his plan worked to perfection on a number of occasions. The Bluebirds had  reached the quarter-finals for the second time and  were determined to go one stage better even though the draw meant they had to beat Moscow Torpedo. A header from Barrie Jones gave City a slim advantage to take to Tashkent, for that was where Torpedo's home leg was played, 2,000 miles away from their Moscow home. This was because the Russian capital was experiencing sub-zero temperatures and the switch meant that the tie took place close to the Chinese/Soviet border.

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City players and supporters party in Tashkent, the now capital of Uzbekistan

City's star was Bob Wilson, a 'keeper signed by Scoular from Aston Villa in 1964. He made some tremendous saves and was only beaten by a single goal to leave the tie requiring a play-off. UEFA decided the third match would take place in Augsburg, West Germany but City were in trouble because centre half lynch-pin Don Murray was injured. Although he had treatment throughout the journey to Germany, he would be unfit to play and reserve defender Richie Morgan, who had not even appeared in a single league match, was drafted in to the team. A brilliant performance from the Bluebirds aided by a  goal from Norman Dean sent City through to the semi-final on a 2-1 aggregate.

SV Hamburg had a number of famous German internationals in their line-up including Uwe Seeler and Willi Schulze, both of whom had been in Germany's 1966 World Cup Final side against England. Dean shot City ahead in the first leg in the Volksparkstadion, only for the Germans to equalise midway through the second half. Wilson was again in superb form in the City goal as the Bluebirds held out for a magnificent 1-1 draw. The second leg at Ninian Park drew 43,070 fans, but though Dean and Brian Harris netted for City, a last minute freak goal by Hoenig made the score 3-2 in Hamburg's favour and City's dream was over.

Harris had come to the club from Everton in 1966 only a few months after gaining an FA Cup winners medal in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. He would bring experience and stability to the City back line for a number of seasons despite his first game in City colours ending in a 7-1 defeat at Plymouth Argyle. Cardiff's cup form spilled over into the league and they ended the 1967-68 season in thirteenth place, improving this to fifth position the following year when Toshack was leading scorer with twenty-two goals followed by Brian Clark on seventeen.

FC Porto proved tough opposition in the next Cup Winners Cup sortie and City slipped out at the first hurdle beaten 4-3 on aggregate. Yet another Welsh Cup triumph saw the Bluebirds hit their record away score in Europe the following year when they slammed the Norwegian part-timers of Mjøndalen 7-1 in the away leg. Reserve striker Sandy Allan bagged a hat-trick in the 5-1 second leg win. Once again interest was shortlived as Turkish cupholders SK Göztepe won 3-1 over the two legs to end City's interest.

A club record fee of £35,000 was paid to Coventry City for Ian Gibson at the start of the 1970-71 season but it was a transfer out of Ninian Park that left Bluebirds fans angry. The City board accepted £110,000 from Liverpool for John Toshack in November, and even though bustling centre forward Alan Warboys came to the club from Sheffield Wednesday for  £40,000 on Christmas Eve, the Bluebirds would eventually miss out on promotion after finishing in third place. Before Toshack's move to Anfield, City had beaten the Cypriot side PO Larnaca 8-0 on aggregate and then FC Nantes 7-2 over both legs.

Warboys had been signed too late to play in the next round which brought the draw that everyone had wanted from the moment Cardiff were first involved in the European scene. The Division Two side would play the mighty Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. Ninian Park was packed with 47,500 Bluebird supporters who will never forget the sight of seventeen-year-old Nigel Rees crossing for Brian Clark to nod past Real keeper Borja. The Spaniards proved to be a better side at the Bernabeu though and in an ill-tempered game went through to the semi-final after a 2-0 victory.

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The most famous of goals - Brian Clark heads past Borja of Real Madrid to go down in City folklore

City's league form once again dipped dramatically and during the next few seasons the Club hovered perilously close to the relegation zone. In 1973, a further run of poor league results brought an end to Scoular's nine year reign as manager when he was sacked by new club owner, David Goldstone. But the Scoular years will undoubtedly go down in City folklore for containing some of the best moments in the Bluebirds' history.

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