English Schools FA Trophy

Stoke-on-Trent Boys, who won the English Schools’ Trophy for the first time in their history in 1961-62, achieved the “impossible” by winning it again in 1962-63, a feat only equalled by Manchester, who won the Trophy in 1934 and 1935.  The rise of the Stoke Association had been phenomenal and to retain the trophy was remarkable considering that there were 346 entries for the competition in 1962-63.

Stoke’s progress in the tournament was as follows:

In the first leg of the final played at Bristol on Monday, May 13th, 1963 the Stoke Boys virtually made sure of winning the Trophy by defeating Bristol Boys 3-0, M Starkey their centre forward scoring a hat-trick.  The game was largely spoiled by a high wind which made ball-control difficult.  The second leg at Stoke on Thursday, May 16th, 1963 was more evenly contested but Stoke never appeared to be in any real danger of losing the Trophy.  Giles scored first for Bristol to reduce the arrears and for a time Bristol were in the ascendancy, obviously determined to shake the confidence of the Stoke Boys.  Starkey, the Stoke centre forward, who had scored three times in the first leg, equalised with a controlled run through the middle and a brilliant shot which left Macey, the Bristol goalkeeper, with no chance at all.  Stoke gradually gained control in the second half and although the destination of the Trophy was never in doubt, Weston the Stoke outside left, put his side in the lead with a clever header eight minutes from the final whistle.

The football was exciting and skilful, watched by a crowd of over 17,000 at Stoke and 18,000 at Bristol, and worthy of such a prestigious final with Stoke victorious with an aggregate score of 5-1.

Stoke Schoolboys 1962-63

Back Row (L-R): Starkey, Hart, Boulton, Hurd, Stubbs, Smith, Weston

Front Row (L-R): Marsh, Bentley, Bannister, Worsdale

Some of the boys who faced each other in the final were members of the England Schoolboys team who played six games in 1962-63, winning five, losing one scoring 15 goals and conceding 7.  Hart (Stoke), J Macey (Bristol) and W Bentley (Stoke) forgot the previous rivalry and became team mates.

At least one of these young boys became a professional footballer as Jimmy Husband recalls, “I had digs in Tuebrook with a landlady for three years and one of my colleagues was the England Schoolboy captain and centre half, Eric Curwen, a Blackpool lad.  I did suffer from homesickness and Everton paid for my rail ticket home every month.  The club could sign you as a professional at 17 but they would often wait until you were nearer 18 but I actually signed within days of my 17th birthday.  Unfortunately, they did not sign Eric and he went on to play for Southport”.

England Schoolboys 1962-63

Back Row (L-R): Hart, Eric Curwen (captain), Tainton, J Macey, Hinton, W Bentley

Front Row (L-R): Wosahlo, Bradley, W Baker, Carey, Jimmy Husband

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