Updated: Feb 18, 2021
BY PETER JONES
THE 27TH OF APRIL 1974 S A DAY SYNONYMOUS WITH MORECAMBE, AS THE SHRIMPS RAN OUT 2-1 VICTORS OVER DARTFORD AT WEMBLEY.
One man who had a pivotal part to play in the victory was Geoff Street who played as centre-back for the famous game.
Street missed the 3rd round tie against Kettering due to an injured shin. The injury was severe enough that he missed the subsequent replay and then the 4th round victory over Bedford Town. The Morecambe side were unfavoured for both ties but repeatedly showed their fighting spirit to keep progressing through the competition. He was a major doubt for the semi-final, but Dave Roberts was bold enough to start him against Gateshead, meaning that he also took himself out of the team. Roberts' decision was a master stroke as Street scored the only goal of game, setting up a nervy second leg at Christie Park. The Seasiders were 2-0 winners and had earned themselves a place in the FA Trophy final.
Dartford were to be the opposition and they were also huge favourites for the game. Morecambe had established themselves as somewhat of a cup team and they were keen to overcome the omens and odds to bring the trophy home. Street was part of a team that was a far cry from the glamour of the Globe Arena today. He recalled times where he would have to go around the ground with a bucket to raise funds to buy the players' tracksuits. This underfunded team were soon to deliver great riches for the club.
Southern Premier League teams had the better record in the FA Trophy, but the Shrimps were eager to continue to upset the odds. Roberts was certainly influential in the team, not only was he still capable at performing on the pitch but he had built a strong squad for the 1973-74 campaign. Roberts had experience too of winning the trophy, but the rest of the squad were in uncharted territory and the travel down to Wembley left many of the squad awestruck. Street and the rest of the players were delighted with the opportunity to train at Hyde Park before the game and stay in the Royal Lancaster Hotel, no doubt the highlight of many careers. Street had spent a couple of years at Christie Park and was comfortable with his surroundings, as well as reaching the peak of his playing career. This was true for much of the squad and they were all reaching a pinnacle of their playing days together.
The team walked out to 30,000 at Wembley on a day they would never forget, the Morecambe players were singing in the tunnel before the game - displaying the growing confidence that the great cup run had provided. Despite the stadium holding 100,000, the row of supporters that were present were soon to witness a famous hour in Morecambe's history. Malcolm Richmond put the Shrimps ahead after he scored the first goal, this was a fantastic thrill for him and all the supporters in the ground. What made it even sweeter was a telegram that he received after the game from his parents that read 'Boyhood dreams DO come true!'.
Jimmy Sutton helped to ensure that the dreams of all Morecembe fans in the stadium came true when he scored the second and vital goal. Sutton ran straight to reserve team manager Sean Gallagher following his goal, recognising that it was him who had given him the chance to impress and gain a place in the team for the day.
Morecambe held out despite a late Dartford consolation and the game was won, players and fans united in celebration. However, whilst the squad were celebrating Street was on the deck with cramp. Everyone was too happy to realise he was floored and began climbing the Wembley steps for the trophy. Still retrieving treatment, he had to watch as all his teammates received medals and lifted the trophy. By time he had got to his feet the team were halfway round their lap of honour, Street quickly hobbled to catch up and finally join in the celebrations.
Joy turned to remembrance for many in the stadium. Supporters and players no doubt wishing their family members who were not lucky enough to be alive to see it, could have joined in the jubilation. Street immediately began to think of his father and how proud he would have been to see his son winning a trophy at Wembley. Emotions were high, and the celebrations were long for the lucky thousands that were in London on that famous day.
Street was part of a famous team that delivered on the biggest stage. The squad from that day will always be remembered in the annals of Morecambe history and they deserve all the love and gratitude they have, and will continue to, receive.