“I WAITED for him to lose control – most players did. Don didn’t. Skipping round me with a grace that made a mockery of the condition he made the final score Arsenal 1 Swindon Town 3.”
These are the words of Arsenal goal keeper Bob Wilson. All of us there can take up the story.
Don hit the ball firmly into the empty goal. Before it crossed the line he held both hands aloft. This was not the final nail in the Arsenal coffin, it was a stake that pierced the heart.
No-one noticed Arsenal after that. The brief remainder of the game belonged to the massed choirs of the West Country saluting the victorious Swindon Town team who had completed (Wilson’s words again) “One of the biggest upsets in football history.”
For many of us watching it was surely the best sporting moment ever.
A rousing game brought a deserved win for third division Swindon against high flying Arsenal. It was a moment of joy, triumph and glory.
A delicious goal scored by a quiet young man from Somerset was the icing on the most wonderful cake of all.
Every road from the west led to Wembley that day and there were traffic jams from High Wycombe on but we all got there in time.
Wembley was not impressive.
The toilets were scruffy, the pitch was being painted green to disguise damage and at both ends were huge terraces vulnerable to the elements.
The happy mood of the town team was obvious to those of us in the stand.
“Lovely play,” said TV commentator Hugh Johns as Don Rogers picked up the ball and ran from his own penalty area the length of the field, skipping past several defenders.
Arsenal’s centre half and keeper Wilson got in a muddle and the ball was played to the energetic Roger Smart who scored easily. The Town were on their way! One nil ahead.
Extra time was needed but Arsenal was fading. The game was set up for a glorious climax.
My final memory, with me still is Captain Stan Harland and manager Danny Williams holding the cup aloft. “Swindon! Swindon” rang out around the stadium. So many of us rightly and proudly rejoiced.