Mickey Fudge's golden memories of his and Telford United's 'Roy of the Rovers' day

Banks, Cohen, Wilson, Stiles... Their names became legends thanks to England's 1966 exploits at the World Cup final.

Action from Wembley in 1971. Joey Owen rises to get in a header as he beats Tony Newcombe to the ball. Jimmy Murray is also on hand with Bill Carter in close attendance.
Action from Wembley in 1971. Joey Owen rises to get in a header as he beats Tony Newcombe to the ball. Jimmy Murray is also on hand with Bill Carter in close attendance.

Irvine, Harris, Croft, Ray... It was 50 years ago this month that this Telford United team achieved legendary status, coming from 2-0 down against Hillingdon at Wembley to win only the second ever FA Challenge Trophy final.

And the scorer of the winning goal just four minutes from time in that epic 3-2 victory on May 1, 1971, was Mickey Fudge.

Mickey, who is now aged 75 and lives in Muxton, Telford, was delighted to see the photos we used as part of a feature about the occasion the other day.

"Everybody has been telling me about the photographs. I hadn't seen them," he said.

"I still have my memories. It's something to be proud of. When I tell the grandkids, they think I'm telling lies, so I'm glad I've got that paper and the photographs now."

That match saw Telford empty as thousands of supporters made the trek south to Wembley. Telford United had made the inaugural FA Challenge Trophy final in 1970, but were beaten, and for a while in 1971 it looked like happening again.

"I think a lot of the fans were leaving at half time when we were 2-0 down. My wife Pat told me all the girls were crying, but in the end they were cheering and clapping when we got the winning goal. It turned to tears of joy."

Mickey Fudge in 1968 with the then Wellington Town.

Ah, that winning goal.

"I can't remember much. I remember running and jumping over the fence behind the goal at Wembley. The lads lifted me up in the air. I'm so proud that I scored in every game on the way to Wembley.

"It was a fantastic thing for Telford. We had just changed from Wellington Town to Telford United and it put Telford on the map. I was glad to be part of that.

"I remember on the journey to Wembley the supporters were like a 12th man. They were fantastic.

"And to score a winning goal was like Roy of the Rovers stuff.

"There are things you dream about and you read of in comic strips on football but when it happens it's unbelievable, you can't describe the feeling.

"We were such a good forward line. I always used to say to George Jagger that if you do all our running, we will get the goals and get the bonus.

"At Wembley the pitch was really draining on our muscles. He came to me and said 'I'm knackered, can you do more?'

"We changed the system when we were 2-0 down. Ronnie Flowers walked in at half time and said 'Get out there and show the fans what you can do.' And that was it. We went out with that determination to do what we had to do. We put Paul Coton on the right wing and I moved inside. We just kept attacking and said we might as well get beat by four or five as two.

In action at Wembley in the 1970 final – which Telford lost.

"As it was, it worked a treat. Joey got that goal, Jack got the header, and once we got level I knew we could score. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get the winner."

Mickey, who had previously played for West Bromwich Albion, was at the time of that match a welder at Sankey's in Hadley.

"I had learned to weld when I was at West Brom."

He loved playing at Telford and did not want to leave but things changed with the arrival of England World Cup hero Geoff Hurst as the player-manager.

"When Geoff Hurst came he got rid of a few of us. You move on, and that's it. He said he was getting rid of this clique, and all the rest of it."

He moved to Kidderminster Harriers and was with several other teams and turned down offers to play in America and elsewhere abroad before becoming the licensee of the Lord Hill pub in Dawley.

A key figure in his career was his wife Pat, who sadly died a few years ago.

"She was like the main person behind me. She pushed me. It's true what they say, that behind every successful man is a successful woman."

He adds: "I'm proud of being part of that team at that time. We were all good friends and there was good camaraderie in the dressing room. It was a nice time in my career.

"We had a fantastic set of lads. The dressing room at the time was all about fun, it was always laughing and joking. Jack Bentley was one of the big jokers, always taking the mickey out of people."

The woman behind the man – Pat Fudge

Bentley, who died in 2007, is one of those who has not lived to see the golden anniversary. Of the others, Mickey says Jimmy Murray, a former Wolves player, has also passed away.

He's still in touch with some of the others, and had a call from the skipper Graham Carr – father of famous television personality Alan Carr – a few weeks ago to see if anything was being done by Telford United to mark the anniversary.

"I know we have had this thing over the last 12 months, but I would have thought they would have done a little bit. I wish they had done something, but how many people would remember now, 50 years on?" says Mickey.

He keeps active, playing bowls for Trench, and crosses swords on the green with another player from the final, Alan Harris, who plays for Much Wenlock. He plays a lot of golf, and pops down to watch young players in football matches in Donnington.

"Although I'm originally from Bristol, I have been in Telford that long now that I class myself as Shropshire. I have stopped around here because I love it so much.

"I was born loving football, and will die loving football. It's a passion."

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