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ON THIS DAY: 16th February 1972
Miners' strike turns off the lights
Many homes and businesses will be without electricity for up to nine hours a day from today, the Central Electricity Generating Board has announced. Miners now into the sixth week of their strike over pay, have been picketing power stations and all other sources of fuel supply in an attempt to step up pressure on the Government.
From today, electricity will be switched off on a rota basis between 0700 and 2400 every day. It means consumers will face longer power cuts, up from six to nine hours.
The Three-Day Week was one of several measures introduced in the United Kingdom by the Conservative Government 1970–1974 to conserve electricity, the production of which was severely limited due to industrial action by coal miners. The effect was that from 1 January until 7 March 1974 commercial users of electricity would be limited to three specified consecutive days' consumption each week and prohibited from working longer hours on those days. Services deemed essential (e.g. hospitals, supermarkets and newspaper prints) were exempt. Television companies were required to cease broadcasting at 10.30 pm during the crisis to conserve electricity.
Throughout the mid 1970s, especially 1974 and 1975, the British economy was troubled by high rates of inflation. One of all governments' strategies at the time to tackle this was to cap public sector pay rises and publicly promote a clear capped level to the private sector. This caused unrest among trade unions in that wages did not keep pace with price increases. This extended to most industries including the majority of the energy industry's raw materials provider, which had a powerful union, coal mining.
By the middle of 1973, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) drawn from a workforce who almost wholly worked for the National Coal Board had encouraged their members to work to rule – as a result of imports being economically unattractive, coal stocks slowly dwindled. The global effect of the 1973 oil crisis also drove up the price of coal. The administration of Prime Minister Edward Heath entered into negotiations with the NUM, to no avail. To reduce electricity consumption, and thus conserve coal stocks, a series of measures were announced on 13 December 1973 by Heath, including the "Three-Day Work Order", more commonly known as the Three-Day Week, which was to come into force at midnight on 31 December. Commercial consumption of electricity would be limited to three consecutive days each week. Heath's objective was business continuity and survival and to avoid further inflation and a currency crisis. Rather than risk a total shutdown, working time was reduced with the intent of prolonging the life of available fuel stocks. This was designed to be short-term remedial austerity that reduced wages for people, a sort of economic rationing as seen until 1954 but of a different product, coal.
Energy / Economic Crisis
Hereford United in the FA Cup 1972 & 1974
The December 2013 spate of localised power cuts was a small reminder of the 1970s national energy crisis. The recent storm damage induced power cuts are insignificant compared with the two 1970s power cuts resulting from the economic crisis and Government restrictions.
The Three-Day Working Week
The 1970s power cuts affected the whole country and the worse in 1974 ran for the best part of two months. This energy crisis impacted on everyday home life and the workplace. Electricity was rationed for private and commercial use which meant heating and lighting was not always readily available. To help cope, many commercial organisations introduced a shorter working week.
Are you young enough to remember the “three-day working week” or completing your school homework by candlelight? Plus there was a fear that petrol would also be rationed but this threat was averted.
The miners strikes of 1972 caused power cuts around the country. With no coal for the power stations blackouts lasting nine hours plunged Britain into darkness
Office workers in London attempt to keep warm during the 1974 power cuts.
Today, one of the reminders of the severe 1970s conditions is in the football programmes of the 1971-72 and 1973-74 football seasons. The match day programmes provide an everlasting record of the unusual kick-off times. Clubs typically bought the start times forward to much earlier in the afternoon in order to save energy by not having to turn on their floodlights.
West Ham’s 1970s Energy Saving Measures
Football League clubs, similar to all organisations at the time, introduced further measures to help cope with the lack of electricity. In West Ham’s case this included
In December 1973 the club announced that evening training for juniors was restricted to one evening a week for the foreseeable future.
Extract: Minutes of Board Meeting held on Tuesday 4th December 1973
Extract: Minutes of Board Meeting held on Tuesday 18th December 1973
In the club’s board meeting minutes on January 31, 1974
it was noted that in anticipation of longer restrictions some Club’s had acquired generators.
In West Ham’s programme for their Division One match against Manchester City on Saturday December 8, 1974 page 12 refers to the programme being printed prior to Government regulations and which accounts for the discrepancy in kick-off times. The programme cover states 3.00pm when the actual time was bought forward by an hour.
Further a field, the 1973-74 Southern Junior Floodlit Cup competition was cancelled due to the back log of fixtures. Though this did not impact on West Ham as they had been knocked out in their first match!
For West Ham the two separate energy/economic crisis events had a deja vu moment! Quite by coincidence West Ham United met Hereford United at home in the FA Cup during the two crisis seasons.
1972’s energy crisis was less severe than 1973-74 season’s but nevertheless it has left an indelible mark in West Ham’s folklore.
Hereford United’s First Visit – Monday February 14, 1972
The main match impacted was West Ham’s home FA Cup 4th round replay against non-league Hereford United.
The original tie was played on Wednesday February 9, 1972 at Edgar Street and ended in a scoreless draw.
The replay was set for the following Monday February 14 but due to the Government emergency power regulations the kick-off was bought forward from the evening to the afternoon. The replay started at the unusual time of 2.15 p.m.
Long story but the country was on a three-day week due to the power strike so floodlights couldn't be used for an evening kick-off so it was played on a Monday afternoon at 1415hrs. Hereford United pleaded with West Ham to make it an all-ticket match but they refused and long after the game was over, they faced accusations of having orchestrated the whole affair. The argument was that they knew what fantastic support Hereford had and didn't want 15,000 of us all together to create an atmosphere detrimental to their players. Whether that's true or not, we'll never know but I do know that they opened the gates at Upton Park at 1030hrs on the big day and with no one at work, the ground was nearly full before most United fans had even arrived in London. I know, because I was one of them. I remember my overwhelming feelings of disbelief and then of anger and frustration when I realised that I was not going to see the game after following my team right through all the rounds, including marathon trips to Kings Lynn, Northampton, West Bromwich and Newcastle.
My Day at West Ham
By Organic Bull "Hereford United historian Ron Parrott"
Courtesy BULLS NEWS The Pedigree Hereford United website
Geoff Hurst Hat Trick warms up Hammers Fans
I was fortunate enough to be one of the 42,271 West Ham FA Cup record crowd who squeezed into Upton Park that Monday afternoon. One of my abiding memories is of Geoff Hurst notching a hat-trick and scoring all of West Ham’s goals in their 3-1 win. This turned out to be Geoff’s last hat-trick in his claret and blue career.
We were milling around aimlessly outside the ground then someone shouted that they'd found a way onto the roof of a nearby tower block of flats and we needed no second invitation. The lifts were heaving so we ran up endless flights of stairs to reach the rooftop, where we managed to find a spot from where we could see most of the playing surface. This worked well, uncomfortable, a long way from the opposite end and not ideal but hey, who cared? We'd beaten the so and so's who locked us out and we were going to enjoy the game come what may! But no, we spoke too soon, because during the half-time break, a team of policemen turfed us off shouting something about the 1972 equivalent of "health & safety". We were devastated and had no choice but to listen to the rest of the game on the radio back in our car!
"Having researched the West Ham United Meeting Minutes covering the period from the first game at Edgar Street and the subsequent arrangements for the Upton Park replay. I can find no evidence to support the claim that the game should have been an all-ticket affair"
Steve Marsh theyflysohigh
FA Cup 4th Round Replay :
West Ham United 3 – 1 Hereford United (Ht 1-0)
Hurst 3 (43, 52, 74 mins), Meadows (84)
The teams that January afternoon were:
West Ham United:
Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore (capt), Harry Redknapp, Clyde Best, Geoff Hurst, Trevor Brooking, Pop Robson
Fred Potter, Tony Gough (Capt), Ken Mallender (Billy Tucker 65 mins), Alan Jones, Jim McLaughlin, Colin Addison, Ricky George, Dudley Tyler, Billy Meadows, Brian Owen, Ron Radford
Two years later and Hereford United returned for another FA Cup tie. The match programmes again provides a lasting record of one of the impacts on everyday life. From the beginning of December 1973 to early February 1974 clubs were forced to shift their kick-off times to make the most of the daylight hours. The table below captures the range of different kick-off times for West Ham’s first team and reserve team matches. The earliest were some morning starts for reserve team games while the Division One and FA Cup matches all kicked-off well before the usual 3.00pm.
Extract: Minutes of Board Meeting held on Tuesday 14th March 1972
* If the FA Cup 3rd round had gone to a second replay, it was scheduled for Upton Park on Monday 14th January 1974 with a 1.30pm kick-off.
Hereford United’s Second Visit – Saturday January 5, 1974
Late Pat Holland Equaliser Saves the Day
Two years after West Ham had beaten Hereford United in a mid-week FA Cup 4th round replay at Upton Park, the Bulls were back. This time Hereford had the Hammers on the back foot after taking the lead in the 21st minute. It took an equaliser from substitute Pat Holland five minutes from time to get West Ham back in the tie.
This was an impressive turn around by the Hammers as injuries to Bobby Moore and John McDowell reduced the team to 10 men for much of the second half.
1972’s cup replay started at 2.15pm on a Monday, this time the start was even earlier at 1.45pm.
West Ham United:
Mervyn Day, John McDowell, Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore (Capt) (Pat Holland 30), Mick McGiven, Graham Paddon, Bobby Gould, Ade Coker, Clyde Best
Tommy Hughes, Ron Radford, Tommy Naylor, Mick McLaughlin (Capt), Alan Jones, Taverner, Eric Redrobe (Owen 48), Dudley Tyler, Jim Hinch, Brian Evans, David Rudge
Clyde Best on the attack
See Appendix A:
ON THIS DAY: 25th February 1972
Miners call off crippling coal strike
Miners have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a pay settlement after a seven-week strike for increased wages. The move follows a week-long ballot on a union leaders' decision to accept a pay package worth £95m, following recommendations by Lord Wilberforce's court of inquiry.
The strike has crippled the country's power supplies, seen 1.2 million workers laid off as a result of the imposition of a three-day week and a state of emergency declared on 9 February.
Rolling... Geoff Hurst after the start of his hat-trick
Replay Defeat at Edgar Street
Four days later a weakened West Ham side made the trip to Herefordshire for the replay. With Bobby Moore sidelined, in stepped Alan Wooler for a rare first team appearance. Keith Coleman and Bertie Lutton also came into the side plus Pat Holland started. Unfortunately for the Hammers the newly elected Football League club rose to the occasion to win.
Despite Clyde Best giving West Ham a 33rd minute lead Hereford fought back to score with a first half penalty and a 73 minute winner.
Friendly Return to Edgar Street
January’s FA Cup defeat at Edgar Street was not the Hammers only visit to Hereford’s Edgar Street ground that season. On Tuesday April 30, 1974 West Ham returned for a friendly in the Len Weston Memorial Cup.
With the pressure off West Ham recorded a 4-3 win courtesy of two goals from Pop Robson and single nets from Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking.
But this would have offered no compensation for the embarrassing early FA Cup exit at the hands of a Division IV side.
For the Hammers, as far as the 1972 and 1974 FA Cup competitions were concerned, the energy crisis bought mixed fortunes. But in the following 1975 FA Cup it all changed.
But that is another story…with a happy ending.
Click Picture Link
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
Despite an afternoon start on a week day the game was a sell-out with the gates closed well before the kick-off. With 42,271inside the ground ... just 51 short of an all-time Boleyn Ground record, with record-breaking ground recepits of £16,980. An estimated 5,000 late comers were also locked out and many of whom ended up watching the game from the roof of the flats behind the North Bank. One of the memorable images from this cup tie is of fans precariously perched on the roof top.
Cartoon after the first game at Edgar Street
FA Cup 4rd Round :
West Ham United 1 – 1 Hereford United (Ht 0-1)
Holland (85 mins) Redrobe (21 mins)