If Freddy Shepherd was getting a bit upset last week, his 1960s counterpart Wally Hurford had professed himself "heartbroken" exactly 40 years earlier.

It was January 4 1964, Newcastle United at home to non-league Bedford - a team of builders, draughtsmen and decorators with a china black cat for a mascot - in the FA Cup third round.

Bedford deservedly won 2-1, Stan Anderson's last-minute goal little comfort to fans who tried to throw bales of straw on to the pitch. Team manager Joe Harvey - "angry and disgruntled" said the Echo - promised that heads would roll, chairman Hurford wondered how they could afford such high wages, up to £100 a week, with such poor results.

Steve Smith, who brings the anniversary to our attention, was drawn to it by the presence in Bedford's goal of the great Jock Wallace, one of just two full-time professionals in the side.

Better remembered for two hugely successful spells as Rangers' manager - and as Berwick Rangers 'keeper in their legendary Scottish Cup victory over their Glaswegian namesakes in 1967 - Wallace has a unique claim to fame.

He started 1966-67 with Hereford United, played for them in the English and Welsh FA Cups and signed for Berwick - thus becoming the only player to appear in English, Welsh and Scottish Cups in the same season.

Bedford fans, meanwhile, headed joyfully homeward insisting that they wanted Arsenal, at home, in the fourth round. They drew Carlisle United at home instead - and were hammered 3-0.

January 4 1964? Middlesbrough went down 2-1 at Brentford - "not as humiliating a defeat as Newcastle's, but a crippling blow", wrote Ray Robertson - Sunderland, inspired by George Herd, beat Northampton Town 2-0 and in the Fourth Division, nine-man Darlington went down 3-2 at home to Stockport County after Bobby Whitehead and Brian Henderson had been carried off.

Hendy had broken his right leg in two places amid fears, said the Echo, that his 463-game Quakers career might be over. Sadly, the fears proved correct.

The only time we met Jock Wallace was on the evening of April 5 1989, Colchester United v Hereford United at Layer Road - "a corrugated cow byre" the column unkindly observed.

Hal Mason, the Eagles' programme editor, spent every summer holiday in Tow Law; Simon Inglis, who wrote The Football Grounds of Great Britain, noted that the Colchester terracing had been built by German prisoners of war and that by the look of things they'd sawn up their beds for the purpose.

United had been bottom of the Fourth Division almost all season, at one stage 11 points behind second bottom Darlington. In January that year, club chairman Jonathan Crisp put through a call to a retirement villa in Spain.

Big Jock returned.

By April 5 they were level with the Quakers - who'd not won a game until November 12 - had two games in hand and were holding fund-raising evenings at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

The Hereford match ended 1-1. Wallace, cordial if somewhat incomprehensible, held court afterwards in bespoke suit and slip-on shoes.

"Ye wouldna think an old wolf like me would build up his hopes so high," he said. "Aa dinnae give two pins who goes down as long as it isnae Colchester." ("Pins" is a loose translation from the Scottish.)

With uncomfortable similarities to Quakers' present position, it all hinged on the Feethams match on April 29 between the two clubs - when before a 7,126 crowd Darlington lost 2-1 despite Phil Bonneyman's penalty and were subsequently relegated to the Conference.

Job done, Jock Wallace returned to his retirement villa - where he died, aged 61, seven years later.

A confession from the Rev John Dobson, 39-year-old area dean of Darlington and Vicar of All Saints, Blackwell: until a couple of weeks ago he'd never seen a football match in his life.

His debut, which may hardly be termed divine intervention, was as a hospitality box guest for the 1-0 home defeat by Macclesfield. Three days later, the club went into administration.

"I fear," says Mr Dobson, "that it may be some time before I'm invited back."

Sent to football folk across the country, the Christmas issue of the FA competitions' bulletin had on its cover a fetching photograph of a little lad with the FA Cup.

It was taken at Shildon's Dean Street ground a couple of days before the fourth qualifying round tie with Stocksbridge Park Steels - problem is, no-one has any idea who it is.

"It's a real mystery, the competitions' bulletin has never aroused so much interest," says Shildon secretary Mike Armitage, himself an FA Council member.

A possible clue is that the young man up with the Cup was thought to have been wearing a Middlestone Moor primary school shirt. If anyone knows his identity, he's welcome to the column's copy of the bulletin. If he asks the FA, they might let him have two dozen.

Sandwiched between Premiership appointments a day either side, we bump into Teesside ref Jeff Winter at the Northallerton v Murton game in the Albany Northern League second division - there to watch his son Craig, 21, playing for Northallerton.

Winter, said to warm up before matches to the Eye of a Tiger theme, had reckoned on one of our previous meetings to know how to handle Arsenal striker Ian Wright - and then booked him the following Saturday.

Both men now have burgeoning television careers. "There might be something really big coming up with me and Ian Wright quite soon," says Jeff.

Winter's tale? "You'll be the first to know," he promises.

And finally...

Another chip off the old Jock, who in his first spell as Rangers manager led the club to the treble in 1976 and 1978 and in his second to League Cup victories in 1984 and 1985 before contentiously being relieved of his duties the following season. Readers are invited to name the high profile manager who replaced him. Back again, will ye no', on Friday.

Published: 06/01/04