Wednesday, 20 June 2012
THE TWELVE PROGRAMMES OF JUNE - PART SEVEN
HIGHGATE UNITED v ENFIELD
Tuesday 7th March 1967
The FA Amateur Cup Quarter Final tie between Highgate United (then of the Worcestershire Combination Division One) and Enfield FC (of the Isthmian League Premier Division) will always be remembered for the terrible events in the first game which was abandoned at Highgate United on 25th February 1967.
Halfway through the first half with approx 4,000 people packed into the ground lighting struck Highgate player Tony Allden, which led to the game being abandoned. Tony never regained consciousness and tragically died in hospital the following day.
As a gesture of good will and sympathy football league neighbour's Aston Villa agreed to stage the replay and also donated a kit for Highgate United to wear for the match.
The result being the football community coming together to honour the memory of Tony Allden with the game drawing an incredible attendance of 31,632 people - many waiting for a long time to get into Villa Park. Villa, at the time were regularly attracting low 20,000s which indicates what a fantastic crowd it was. Many Amateur club's players attended the game to pay respects to Tony Allden as well as to see Enfield who were considered one of the Amateur game's giants at the time.
The programme is a simple four pager with Enfield described as 'among the strongest forces in the Amateur game' and details the fact that a local side in Alvechuch 'shook' Enfield in the previous season's competition. It states 'Little chance was given Alvechurch in their quest at Enfield, but the Worcestershire side came out victorious by three goals to two'. 'At Highgate they say that what Alvechurch can do, the United could do better.
In the end in a game where the result really didn't matter it was Enfield who ran out 0-6 winners. The E's famously went on to lift the trophy for the first time by beating Skelmersdale United 3-0 at Maine Road after a 0-0 draw at Wembley.
Highgate United went one better in the 1972/73 season when they faced Walton & Hersham in the Amateur Cup Semi-Final. After a 0-0 draw at Highfield Road, Coventry they lost out 0-4 to W&H at Crystal Palace.
Tony Allden's memory is honoured by The Midland Combination League (which The Gate won three years in row from 1972 to 1975) who stage annually "The Tony Allden Memorial Cup". The game is played in pre-season and the current holder's are Castle Vale who beat Heather St John 2-0 on 28th July 2011.
Highgate United currently play in the Midland Football Alliance (Step 5 of the non-league pyramid) which feeds into the Southern Football League Midlands Division and Northern Premier League Division One South. They currently play at The Coppice in nearby Shirley to the South of Birmingham and last season finished 20th of 22 clubs with only Atherstone United and Willenhall Town finishing below them.
For 2012/13 they will play the following teams -
Boldmere St. Michaels
Heather St. John's