Oh the press got on about the replay at Odsal and were quoting how many would be there and things. A big match at Odsal in them days, a semi-final, got 60,000 and they talked about another 60,000. They never expected double, more or less double. It was an unbelievable crowd.
We didn’t expect what happened you know. We met at Bullgreen. We got on the coach. I know somebody said, hell there’s a lot of traffic coming down King Cross, which was the Warrington traffic, you see, coming down. It came through Halifax and going over North Bridge we realised just how much traffic there was and the driver said I’m going to miss this job and they finished up, they rang the police, and two motorcyclists came and actually they took us up, instead of going down Godley and up they took us on to Hipperholme and we went round that way and came at the bottom side, which we found out was better.
The main road through Northowram was, well, just logged up. There were a lot of people got that far and no further. We realised, the police said we’ll take you this other way and they took us round and we went through every light and everything. We were like Royalty! Some of the lads were acting daft, you know. Cars were pulling up and playing hell!
But it was amazing, 1954 there weren’t a lot of people with cars and there were a lot came on coaches and that and they tried to fill cars up because, as I say, a lot of people didn’t have vehicles to get to a match like that.
There were a lot stopped and knocked on houses in Northowram and said can we listen to the wireless. They got out of the car because it were stopped on the road and they thought oh we’ll never get there. So they got out and asked somebody if they could listen to the wireless.
They knocked a gate down you know and they just trampled over it. Well no body could take money off them. It was just a surge of folk come in, and they estimated about 20,000 came in and didn’t pay. They always said there was about 120,000.
Well we didn’t know what was happening. One or two came in and said ‘By there’s a good crowd’. You know how they talk, like, ‘looks a good crowd that’. Now by the time we, ten to three, it were ten to seven wasn’t it? Anyhow we came out, well there’s about 20 yard to walk before you meet the steps. Well, as you come out, there’s just a crowd around you and they’re all patting you on the back, going down you see, and knocking hell off you coming back.
We went through the crowd and they’re all shouting ‘come on Halifax’, you know, and then you just got to the top and it were like looking down and it just took your breath away. It were unbelievable. You stopped in your tracks and said oh! Never seen a crowd like that and then we walked down the steps and by the time we got on the field and looked around it was unbelievable. But we soon got going and you forgot about it.
The match wasn’t bad. But it er, well they always said it was exciting, the score was exciting really, because two or three minutes to go we were still thinking we could win it. He just got a late try did Gerry Helme.