Tim Buzaglo nets Woking’s first at The Hawthorns. Image credit: Mirrorpix
THIS week is a special anniversary in the history of Woking FC.
For it was on January 5 1991 – 30 years ago – that the Cards enjoyed their finest triumph, defeating West Bromwich Albion, then of the old second division, 4-2 in a huge upset at The Hawthorns.
Here’s how the Surrey Advertiser reporter on that day, Chris Dyke, reflected on events a few years later while he also spoke to some of the players to get their recollections
FEW offered little Woking a prayer.
It was one of those days when you hoped for the best but feared the worst.
The Cards seldom disappointed on the big cup occasion, but even the titanic trilogy with Kidderminster and then the 5-1 thrashing of Merthyr Tydfil had not truly prepared Geoff Chapple’s side for Albion.
The Baggies were struggling under Brian Talbot, who swiftly lost his job, but the manner in which Woking of the Diadora League turned a 1-0 half-time deficit into an emphatic giant-killing will remain eternally in FA Cup folklore.
It remains as the single most exciting occasion in my years of reporting the Cards’ matches.
Everton, who were to knock Woking out 1-0 in round four, was another extra special moment.
So was the day the club clinched the Isthmian Premier title and rose to the Conference and the hat-trick of FA Trophy triumphs at Wembley which climaxed a remarkable decade of achievement.
But none, for me, can eclipse that day in the Midlands 30 years ago when Woking arrived on everyone’s football map.
Tim Buzaglo’s three goals; the sheer quality of the non-leaguers’ football during a dazzling second half and the thousands of fans – many of whom had never even seen the team play before – packed into the corner of the ground at the end where the drama unfolded. It was all fairytale stuff.
Then there was the reaction of the Albion supporters.
No boos or abuse for Buzaglo – they merely lifted him shoulder-high like some icon. He, the man who had just left their favourite club shame-faced. It was all rather surreal, as was the adulation and national – not to mention international – acclaim that followed.
Chapple, the manager then, reflected: “That was the start of it and my greatest moment because it was the first.
“I remember looking in the West Brom dressing room and their players were just sitting around as casual as you like, reading the newspapers.
“I thought to myself ‘who the hell are we’?
“At half time we were 1-0 down but that was all right because all I wanted was for us to give a good account of ourselves for us and the league. Then we went 4-1 up and I remember people telling me later how they switched on their radios back in Woking to find out there had been another goal. It was everywhere.
“Afterwards came the letters. I had…
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