It was a great idea by the Shrimpers Trust to get two Blue legends to talk before the Luton cup-tie last Saturday.
Like many of my generation I believed Billy Best could walk on water and it was great to read posts about that time on the various forums. (Billy though was my second player of the year as he joined after my first season, my vote in 1967 went to.....Eddie May!)
Yes, they were both generous with tickets and, yes again, lifts were offered back from mid-week matches. After a 3-1 defeat at Grimsby on a cold Tuesday night in 1972, Arthur Rowley himself asked if I would like to go back with the team.
Let me think; tempature below zero, no more trains home, go back with the players. Yeh, allright.
Stopping in some god-forsaken place on the way back a chinese was found open where Gary Moore kindly offered me a vinegar sodden chip! Thanks Gary.
I couldn't find a report, Brentwood Town don't even exist in that form anymore, but didn't want this particular anniversary, there's been a few lately, to pass without a TLG mention, heroes both to this twelve year old at the time.
So a final word on what they actually did, a pinched article from the Echo, and some player data before we move on, or back, to that 1913 Cup tie v Chelsea. Yes, DoDtS has come up trumps again!
Both Billy and Gary scored hat-tricks in the First and Second Rounds of the F.A. Cup in the 1968/69 Season with the first pair coming against Kings Lynn on 16th November 1968 as the Shrimpers won 9-0. Billy and Gary netted three goals each on that occasion, and followed that up on Saturday 7th December 1968 in a 10-1 demolition of Brentwood Town. This time Billy Best scored five, including what was then the fastest recorded hat-trick, and Gary Moore four.
Former Shrimpers stars Billy Best and Gary Moore were both delighted to be back at Roots Hall on Saturday to see the current side enjoy another FA Cup victory. The duo scored consecutive hat-tricks in the first and second round of the competition against Kings Lynn and Brentwood during the 1968/69 season and that remains a record.
They were therefore greeted warmly by the fans again at the weekend and Best, now 65 and living in Northampton, who scored 123 goals in 247 games for Southend between 1968 and 1973.
Billy was honoured to be invited: "It's always great to come back here. People must be sick of the sight of me by now but it's great and it was even better that Southend won. They made hard work of it and should've scored more goals. But for me they deserved to go through because they were the only team who tried to win the game."
And 63-year-old Moore, who played 181 times for Blues between 1968 and 1974, was just as thrilled to return to Roots Hall: "It's the first time I've been back since I left. It's still a great little ground and it was great to see them win. I have wonderful memories from my time here and I'm always looking out for their results."
(Article edited from the Southend Evening Echo, Monday December 1, 2008)
From the SUFC Database
Sat 16-Nov-1968 Kings Lynn
|Home||FAC1||9||0||Best(3) MooreG(3) Chisnall(2) Haskins(og) ||9983|
|Sat 7-Dec-1968 Brentwood||Home||FAC2||10||1||Best(5) MooreG(4) McMillan ||13107|
|Birthday:||4th November 1945|
|Size:||6ft 2in - 12st 11lb|
|Author: 1972 Club handbook Updated: 28 Jun 2005|
|Gary was born in the small Durham mining village of South Hetton and gained school representative honours with Sunderland Boys and Durham County Boys, he then signed for Sunderland as an amateur when he was still 15. At 16 he played for the England Youth Team and became a full time professional at 17. After six seasons at Roker Park, Gary was transferred to Grimsby, where he notched up 15 goals in an 18 months stay. When he arrived at Roots Hall, he was yet another in the long line of North-countrymen to move to Southend in an effort to find fame and fortune with United. Over the years he has given great service to Southend, both as a goal scorer and in midfield.|
Hobbies are: golf, gardening and reading.
|Nov-68 to Aug-74||156+8||7+1||9||0||172+9||46||7||2||0||55|