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Australian legend

M a rston w o
Joe t
t A us tralian l.
the firs a
n FA Cup fin l
a Hal
play in tt he w
He tells that special
about 1954
day in

RESTON NORTH End had rustled The Marstons had arrived in England in 1950, he did, he started 196 consecutive matches for which
up tickets for their star defender direct from Leichhardt, then a working class suburb he was paid £12 a week. In 1954, he became the first
Joe Marston and his wife Edith of Sydney. Preston North End, one of the biggest Australian to play in an FA Cup final.
to see the 1953 FA Cup final at teams in England at that time, had signed Marston, an Preston were favourites to beat West Bromwich
Wembley. Australian international, sight unseen. Albion that year. West Brom had finished the season
The Marstons were on their way back to Sydney Nicknamed “Digger” by teammate Tommy second to Wolverhampton but been called ‘the team
for an end-of-season break – Preston supporters had Docherty, a Scot who would go on to manage of the season’. Ravaged by injuries their season
raised the money to send them back home rather Manchester United and Sydney Olympic, it took had imploded.
than see the homesick Australians never return – and Marston 12 months to crack PNE’s first team but once Preston players travelled to London on the Tuesday
Wembley was a suitable pit stop. before the final. An official party of about 80 people –
Blackpool played Bolton Wanderers that year and directors, players’ wives, and supporters – followed
for the Marstons it was to be a prophetic day out. them on Friday. Everyone stayed at the famous Savoy
Their seats were opposite the Royal Box, just near the Hotel in the West End, where Edith met another

entrance to the players’ tunnel. Australian, Errol Flynn, in a lift.

“We were sitting there listening as the crowd sang Inside Preston’s dressing room before the game,
the hymn Abide With Me before kick-off,” recalls Edith, the players were nervous, talking quietly to each

“At 2.45pm the bell sounded to call the whom Joe lovingly refers to as his “greatest trophy” as
the pair pose for photos in their living room.
other. Even Docherty, the comedian of the team, was
not his normal garrulous self. Billy Forbes was pacing

two teams into the tunnel. Up they walked, As the crowd burst into a frenzy of colour and
song, and the referee blew his whistle to get the game
up and down, going into the shower room, sitting on
the toilet and having a cigarette.

side by side, along the long incline towards underway, Edith took in a sharp breath.
“Wouldn’t it be great to play here next year?”
Marston with Preston
At 2.45pm the bell sounded to call the two teams
into the tunnel. Up they walked, side by side, along the

the streaming light and blast of noise” she said to Joe.

As a matter of fact, it would be. Sort of.
teammate Tommy Thompson long incline towards the streaming light and blast of
noise. The crowd was so loud it was impossible to tell

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“Joe sat on the wooden bench inside
the silent Preston dressing room.
Jesper Olsen was 24 when he won the 1985 FA Cup final with Manchester United. Now assistant
He thought back to his Sydney days, coach at Melbourne Heart, the former Denmark winger revisits the occasion with Jonathan Pippard

when he and his mates would kick AS A boy, Jesper Olsen tuned in along with winning team that doesn’t really matter,” says here early next season with a final mooted for

a ball until it got dark and the cops the rest of the world to watch the FA Cup on
television in a faraway land. Unlike millions of
Olsen. “The season had finished so we partied
well on into the night. The next day we travelled
Australia Day
“It would be a great thing to do for football

would chase them out of the park”

others however, one day in 1985, he found himself back on the train to Manchester and went on the here,” says Olsen. “To involve leagues below
in the middle of the story. Having made his name open-air bus. Those memories last forever.” the A-League, there would always be a fantastic
with Ajax as a speedy winger, Olsen had been Twenty-six years on, Olsen, now living in event for smaller clubs. There must be a way to
signed by Manchester United manager Ron Melbourne and working as assistant coach of do it. It would give the whole football family a big
Atkinson at the beginning of the 1984-85 season. Melbourne Heart, is excited by the prospect leap to be part of something like that. Then you
which team each section of the crowd was supporting Sydney; how he used to run along the railway line May 18, 1985 was to be the biggest day of his of a similar cup competition in Australia. The can get bigger clubs coming to [smaller clubs],
– it was simply a wall of sound and a blur of colour. through the now-fashionable inner-western suburbs career to date – an FA Cup final against league proposed FFA Cup is seemingly set to start next and get some rivalry and some history as well.”
The teams lined up to be introduced to Queen to get to training; back to the days when he forged champions Everton.
Elizabeth – the Queen Mother. First West Brom, then his way up through Under 14 and Under 15 teams “It was a huge occasion, I had grown up
Preston. The players had been earlier advised of the to eventually represent New South Wales; and with English football in Scandinavia,” he tells
protocol: “Just nod and say, ‘Yes, Ma’am’.” when, after school, he and his mates would kick Football+. “It was something you just didn’t miss
“Then we were ready for business,” recalls Joe. around a football until it got dark and the cops every year. Everton were a fantastic side. They
Preston struggled on the sun-dried hard surface, would chase them out of the park. had already won the league, and they’d also won
greased by light rain. Albion scored first but Preston There was meant to be a celebration that night the European Cup Winners’ Cup. So they were
equalised almost immediately. As the second half but it was more of a wake. The popular singers after the treble, but had a lot of games to finish off
ebbed away, Preston finally got their short passing of the day, Petula Clark and Norman Wisdom, the season with.”
game together. In the 52nd minute they went ahead but performed for the team at a dinner at the Savoy. For United were, according to Olsen, “a fantastic
just couldn’t kill off West Brom. West Brom eventually the players, the worst was yet to come – returning cup side,” yet they went in to the final as
levelled and it seemed the game would stalemate, both to Preston on the Sunday. Despite the loss, a underdogs after a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of
sides happy for a replay in a few days’ time. crowd – ten-deep – lined the streets from the their opponents earlier in the season.
“We thought that if we got a draw at Wembley then railway station right up through the centre of town. “Everton was a good side but a horrible side to
we’d kill them in the replay,” recalls Joe. “We would “We just felt so guilty, so bad for the fans,” recalls play against,” he continues. “They were so well
definitely have beaten them.” Joe. “We let them down.” Joe, with wife Edith, organised and played offside – you never got
in their family home on
Marston can still conjure up the final minute of Joe and Edith stayed for one more year at NSW’s Central Coast going against them.”
the match as clear as day: Joe Walton, Preston’s Consequently, the final was stifled for any kind
left-back, was caught way down the line in West of flowing football until the 78th minute, when a
Marston received this medal
Brom’s half. A West Brom defender struck a long ball in 2009 for his services to Preston. Tom Finney, devastated by the FA Cup loss, loose United pass in midfield saw Everton star
back towards Preston’s goal. Joe and right-back Bill the game in Australia relinquished the club captaincy. The players voted on Peter Reid burst into the opposition half with
Cunningham were supposed to pick up the two West a replacement. Joe was chosen to lead the team. On only Kevin Moran and the goalkeeper in front of
Brom strikers in the centre of the park. Joe sprinted his final appearance at the Deepdale ground, against him. Moran lunged in two-footed and collected
forward to meet the long ball. From nowhere, the Aston Villa, a band was hired to play. Reid’s legs, writing himself into history as the
West Brom striker Frank Griffin popped up in front of As the teams ran out onto the pitch it struck up first, and to date, only player to be sent off in
him to flick it on. He beat Joe to the ball by a sliver. a jaunty version of Waltzing Matilda and For He’s A an FA Cup final. Down to 10 men and facing the
But it was enough. Destiny is decided by millimetres. Jolly Good Fellow. The crowd sang along, loudly. As a wrath of the all-conquering Merseysiders, United
“I was that far from him,” recalls Joe, holding his going-away present, the Preston North End directors were galvanised and took the game to extra-time.
thumb and index finger tightly together. “I was about gave Joe a clock. “Everton – having played so many games before
that far from him . . .” “I was talking to Edith about Wembley the other the final – they kind of ran out of puff,” says
The Preston goalkeeper came off his line. Joe knew day,” says Marston, clearing the plates from the Olsen.
what would happen next. He put his head in his hands. kitchen table of their home near Umina Beach on the And with 10 minutes remaining, it was Norman
“That was it.” New South Wales Central Coast. “I said that even Whiteside who broke the deadlock in stunning
Afterwards, in the dressing-room, Willy Forbes though we lost, there are only about 3000 footballers fashion, coming in from the right wing and curling
slowly pulled his boots off. He collected some mud who can ever say that they played in an FA Cup Final.” his left-foot shot perfectly into the bottom corner
from the floor, put it into a matchbox, and turned to Joe and Edith arrived back in Australia midway of the goal to secure a 1-0 success.
Marston: “I’ll never be back here, Joe,” he said. “I’m through 1955. Joe was 29. They had nowhere to live “It was not a pretty game, and not one of
keeping this.” so they stayed with friends. Within a week, Joe had the greatest finals, but when you end up on the
As the West Bromwich Albion players made their got back his old job at a brush factory and was soon
lap of honour around Wembley, Joe sat back on the back playing for Leichhardt-Annandale at Lambert
wooden bench inside the silent Preston dressing room.
He thought back to the barefoot five-a-side games
Park, where he and Edith had met many years earlier.
Some old mates threw them a welcome-home
“It wasn’t a pretty game, not one of the great finals, but
he played with his mates by the Cooks River in dinner. Other than that there was little fanfare.
when you’re on the winning team, that doesn’t matter”
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