Memory match - Blackpool 3, York City 0 - March 20, 1984 (with video)

Keith Walwyn - played for both sides
Keith Walwyn - played for both sides
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Time was that it was a landmark occasion for your team to appear on television, and present-day supporters should realise how fortunate they are.

Time was that it was a landmark occasion for your team to appear on television, and present-day supporters should realise how fortunate they are.

Nowadays, there is video coverage galore way down the soccer pyramid – and nothing escapes the soccer-mad viewer.

But back in the day – such as when the Seasiders took on York City in the old Fourth Division – it was something of a state visit when John Motson and a BBC crew came to Bloomfield Road to capture the action for that evening’s Match Of The Day highlights show, fronted by Jimmy Hill.

The TV companies did not necessarily rule the roost back then in terms of what went on – and when.

Only a limited amount of games were allowed to be screened on both the BBC and ITV and the companies were also contractually obliged to show a number of lower league matches.

What unfolded for the BBC national audience was a rather one-sided spectacle as Blackpool ran out convincing winners.

Blackpool gave a debut to Mike Walsh, who had just arrived from Manchester City and would go on to give fine service to Blackpool.

The York ranks included Ricky Sbragia, who was coming back to his former club, as was the Minstermen’s Brian Pollard.

The visitors also fielded Keith Walwyn up front – the striker was later to link up with Blackpool.

In goal for Blackpool that day was Gary Pierce, who was one of five goalkeepers used by the club that season.

The former Huddersfield Town and Wolve stopper was the most regular of the Blackpool ‘keepers in that campaign, in which the team missed out on promotion after starting the season as one of the favourites to go up under Sam Ellis.

In the end, Blackpool finished in sixth spot.

Ironically, the side on whom they did a number that term went up as champions of DivisionFour with an impressive 101 points, no fewer than 29 in front of the Seasiders.

As Gazette reporter Tony Quested, who was covering the match, reflected in his own way, it was indeed a rare visit by the TV cameras.

Or as he put it: “Blackpool appear on Match Of The Day as often as Sid Vicious did Songs Of Praise.”

Quested was not necessarily impressed by the BBC’s coverage of the match.

“The highlights compared to the real thing were as similar as Boy George to Marvin Hagler.”

The Gazette scribe was far more impressed by the quality of the Blackpool goals. He contended they were all candidates for the Corporation’s goal of the month competition.

Check them out for yourself on the video highlights on The Gazette sport website.

Blackpool were on top of their game this afternoon, and to beat York in this manner was a notable scalp as it was York’s heaviest defeat of the season and their first in 10 games.

However, York came close to taking an early lead.

Pollard had a good chance after 10 minutes, but his effort was blocked by David Moore.

Within three minutes of that near-miss, Blackpool had forged ahead.

Keith Mercer was on hand to blast home his 11th goal of the season after Ian Britton’s free kick was headed on by Paul Stewart.

Britton volleyed wide of the target, but he made amends by putting the Seasiders 2-0 up on 21 minutes.

It was described thus by Quested: “David McNiven’s lay-back from a throw-in was perfect, Stewart’s cross a gem – and Britton defied his lack of brawn and inches with a header squeezed between two hulking defenders.”

Pollard had another opportunity for York with a lob that beat Pierce, but Steve Hetzke at the heart of the Blackpool defence was on hand to avert the danger.

Stewart was proving to be in excellent form for the home side, and he figured prominently in several Blackpool attacks.

Blackpool led 2-0 at half-time and had to play in the face of a strong wind in the second period.

David Moore made it 3-0 after 62 minutes.

Quested wrote: “Stewart probed again, debut boy Mike Walsh sent in a cross which Pollard knocked out, and Moore laid into it with a left-foot shot which screamed in off the woodwork.

“His first Blackpool goal came on the day he and brother Kevin, of Grimsby, both appeared on Match Of The Day.”

It could have been 4-0.

Quested continued: “When Stewart was legged up by Pollard late on, Hetzke had the chance to avenge Blackpool’s 4-0 defeat at York from the penalty-spot where he’s usually so lethal.

“Possibly for the cameras’ benefit, Hetzke tried to bust the net.

“His shell exploded somewhere in the South Stand, whose veterans thought they had finished with all that in the trenches.”

It was an afternoon when the Blackpool attack and defence both did their job well.

Hetzke’s miss from the penalty spot notwithstanding, Blackpool were rampant in attack, while the defence were very much on their game, in what was probably their most efficient display of the campaign.

Walwyn and his strike partner John Byrne had scored 33 goals between them prior to their arrival, but a resolute defence held them firmly in check.

Blackpool: Pierce, Moore, Walsh, Rodaway, Hetzke, Greenall, Britton, Stewart (Deary) Mercer, McNiven, Windridge.