Now the Eric Webber era was well before my time and for me personally history of my club is generally confined to my era where I can remember as i can relate to it better. But my dad who started to go plainmoor in 1955 remember him as manager very well. He started as player / manager In 1951 and retired as a player in 1955. My dad says he was a exceptional strong old fashioned center half. Was a successfull manager who brought so many great players into the club. Mills, Stubbs, Northcott brothers. Who is Larry the lamb ?? My dad mentions him but I've never heard of Larry the lamb. Says he was a winger and skillfull
In the conversation I had with my dad he talked about torquay united being in the golden years. Big crowds , great players and some amazing games. Crowds being over 10000 and on a few occasions over 20000. It's mind boggling to me how they fitted in. The old cow shed must have been rammed from corner flag to corner flag. Tell me anyone , was the away end still the away end back then ? Those massive crowds , did away fans travel in vast numbers. My dad says Don Mills was the greatest player ever in his 65 years of watching torquay united. He said the best comparison with a modern day player was Alex Russell. But add onto that Don Mills was also a top class goal scorer. Sammy Collins, what a goal machine he appeared to me. Now without checking has he the record for most goals in a season.
The remarkable 4 -0 replay FA cup win over Leeds United at plainmoor in 1955. We drew the 1st game 2 -2 at Elland road on a saturday and my dad was actually at plainmoor when the game was being played at elland road. Now we can't remember if there was a reserve team fixture the same day or indeed was there just for updates on the score from Leeds. He remembers the tannoy saying it was 1 -nil.....then half time the tannoy said 2-nil and everyone was cheering. Then they said after half time The score from elland road is now l
Leeds United 1 Torquay United 2 and not long after they announced it was now 2 - 2 and at that point everyone in the ground assumed Torquay would now lose. Remember leeds had the legendary John Charles playing for them. Anyhow my dad at plainmoor they announced the full time score was 2-2 and the replay was to be the following Wednesday at 2pm !!!!! This was because the floodlights were not good enough. Now if we had floodlights why were they good enough if we actually had them ,im asking myself. Was it just not good enough for a high profile game or were they just good enough if it was just dusk.
Anyhow my dad bunked off school , got in trouble for that and watched Torquay Stuff Leeds United 4-0. They were a superstar team Leeds but our superstars were more than a match for them.
That missed promotion a few years later could have changed the whole map for us . That missed promotion by goal difference was against Sir Alf Ramseys Ipswich town. It was the closest we have ever got to the 2nd tier of the football league. What if he had done it , would Sir Alf still gone onto manage England and indeed win the world cup. History has been shaped by fine margins and so many what ifs.
My dad remembers Birmingham City coming to plainmoor for what I assume was a fa cup tie. He says the headlines in the paper was that Torquay was going to win !! The club was ready for it , again I've not checked the crowd figure but my dad said it was rammed again and Birmingham had the England goalkeeper on goal who was called gill merrick. Well ...we lost 7-1 , now I'm assuming Birmingham City was a big club with a good team but Torquay must have had a lot of confidence at that time with these great players but on the day it just didn't work out.
Robin Stubbs signed from Birmingham by Webber. What a signing !!! Is this the best signing ever?? From what I'm told the first few seasons he lit up plainmoor with his goal scoring ability.
Eric Webber was actually sacked from the club in 1965 , but what a 14 years. Must be so much more within these 14 years , I'm sure this is just the surface of it. Was Eric Webber our own Sir Alex Ferguson? The class of 1955 ? I don't know , but the conversation I've had with someone who was around in that era sounded like we had the best players we have ever had . The best support we have ever had . We got promotion to the nearly formed 3rd division one season , great FA cup games. Goalscoring records.....how much better could it have been. Loyal players, players played for the badge. So many legends within that time. Heading all that was Eric Webber who I'm sure anyone would agree was a club legend. Loyal servant and from this piece below which was from my Herald Express special Wembley 1989 edition the day before the cup final clearly shows that Torquay United meant a lot to him. Well Eric , you meant a lot to the club and fans aswell.
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