BISHOP AUCKLAND FOOTBALL CLUB had achieved unprecedented success in the FA Amateur Cup after it began in the 1893-94 season. By the time they met Pegasus in the 1951 final at Wembley Stadium, they had been winners seven times, in 1896, 1900, 1914, 1921, 1922, 1935 and 1939, and losing finalists in 1902, 1906, 1911, 1915, 1946 and 1950.

Immediately after the Second World War, though, they had hit a sticky patch, losing 3-2 to Barnet at Stamford Bridge in the 1946 final, losing at the semi-final stage in 1947, 4-2 to Wimbledon at Dulwich, losing again at the semi-final stage the following year, by 5-0 to Leytonstone at Middlesbrough, before being thumped 4-0 at Wembley in the 1950 final by local neighbours Willington.

Seventy years ago in 1951, Bishop fans were hoping for a better performance in the final against Pegasus, a team who had only been in existence for three years.

Pegasus were made up solely of Oxford and Cambridge students, plus men who had recently left both famous universities. Pegasus was a winged, divine horse and the name of the team came from the logo of Oxford (a centaur) and the logo of Cambridge (a falcon). Their goalkeeper Brown, left back Maughan, and centre forward Tanner were all amateur internationals. The team had been well coached by Vic Buckingham, who made 204 Football League appearances for Spurs between 1935-1949.

Buckingham had drilled the Pegasus players to play 'push and run' football, a keep it simple and pass the ball quickly type of game, similar to how Spurs had played after the war. At Wembley they played some good stuff and beat Bishop 2-1.

Ron Evans, from Ferryhill Station, who later served as physio to the Bishop Auckland team was 16 years old at the time and he recalled: "It is a long time ago but I do remember catching a train from Bishop Auckland around midnight, and arriving at King's Cross in the early hours of Saturday morning. We would then have a tea and a bite to eat before doing some sightseeing before the game. I only watched Bishop Auckland play at Wembley in a final three times, against Pegasus in 1951, Crook in 1954 and Hendon in 1955, so I only saw them win once at Wembley.

"For the Pegasus game, which was the first 100,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium for the amateur final, we were at the opposite side to the Clock Stand and our tickets cost 2s 6d.

"I never went to the Willington final in 1950 but can recall queuing up outside the Hippodrome in Bishop Auckland to watch the black-and-white Movietone news highlights of the match in midweek. I'll never forget the picture of Willington keeper Jack Snowden more or less sitting on the ground, with his back against the goalpost.

"My biggest game before that was the semi-final against Leytonstone in 1948. We were 5-0 down when we got a penalty late on, but Tommy Farrer missed it. I was bitterly disappointed when we lost 2-1 to Pegasus. Jimmy Nimmins scored our goal late in the game, too late."

Dick Longstaff was another disappointed Bishop supporter at Wembley in 1951. He recalled: "To be fair, Pegasus did play some good football, after being coached by a former Spurs player, but the story of the game was that they took their chances, we didn't. Furthermore, two of our best players, Hardisty and McIlvenny, were tightly marked whenever they got the ball.

"As usual a big crowd turned up in Bishop Auckland market place to greet the players on their return. The players went up to the balcony on the Town Hall and I do remember Benny Edwards apologising most sincerely for the two chances that he had missed."

Dick added: "The thing that annoyed us about Pegasus was that somehow they avoided playing in the preliminary rounds of the cup. I think a chap called Thompson, who had a lot to do with them, had some pull in higher circles. He later worked for the FA."

Dick was talking about Harold Warris Thompson, a professor at St John's College, Oxford, who played a big part in getting the Pegasus football club up and running before he became an administrator with the Football Association. A former FA official referred to Thompson as a "bullying autocrat" who was behind the sacking of England manager Alf Ramsay in 1974. Thompson later served as chairman of the FA from 1976-81.