1987-10 Swindon Town: Flashback for the Fans – Don Rogers

hello to you it had an excitement and an atmosphere you could almost taste in those days didn’t it that’s what we’ll be looking at in this new series recalling some of those marvelous moments of West Country soccer history and the men who made them for us in this program the man they called the maestro a Swindon boy who in one of the most sensational episodes in football went up to London with his local team and they won the League Cup in front of a hundred thousand people an 18 years on he’s with us now Don Rogers whose extraordinary skill speed and gift of scoring remarkable goals wasn’t just football it was a little bit of real magic and now he’s confronted by another Don welcome how does it feel for you seeing those those remarkable girls again brings back a lot of very happy members you know it’s things you can remember and seems to be like yesterday that happened well those the golden days of football or is it just old stages like me thinking those days were better well I think we probably all think they were the golden days but I think they probably were because everything you know the maximum wage came off the players in 1960 huge crowds no coke crowd trouble you know and everybody went enjoyed themselves ok Don Rogers then born at paulsen near Bristol joined Swindon as an apprentice when he was 15 way back in 1960 and in the following years when he wasn’t scoring goals he was streaking through defenses to lay them on and if you remember this you’re good back as far as I do good ball to smart from Rogers good reign this horse field back to Rogers give it to the experts the expert didn’t destroy Smith’s into Sampson away goes Rogers ah geez but Hospital inside him and Noble there it is pause field rubbing rocks there good bull by noble to Colonel Rogers takes on Jacobs Rajan is loitering behind Smith’s there it might be the big shot there it goes there it is it’s noble that blow a chance here for Rogers chips it’s hospital what do you think of that luck then that was when I turn that fresh it’s there I mean I got so used to saying that there were a lot of girls about then done from your team superb action that was really what do you remember about the the Peter nobles and their old tremendous minds and they were evil well they were I don’t know they were good players at that particular time for Swindon you were young lad growing up amongst older guys what was what was life like at the club a lot of money about um no there wasn’t very much money around no not at all I mean I give an example of that is when we used to wear a basketball boots for training and if you busted one basketball boot you didn’t get a new pair I mean you gotten another one to match it and if I had a hole in the bottom needs to give you a piece of cardboard to put in the bottom thrifty Daisy oh yeah pound was worth a pound in Swindon that’s right yeah it was

but then the Rodgers talent really flourished in 1967 no fewer than 18 clubs were after a young winger but Roger stayed with his homely little third division club but then in 1969 one of the great storybook episodes of British soccer Swindon began a truly amazing run in the League Cup the side then included the likes of Rod Thomas Joe Butler Rogers smart Stan Harland Frank burrows goalkeeper Peter downs Brad John trollop still with a club Peter Noble an unbelievably little Swindon were in that final at Wembley and if that wasn’t enough they were facing perhaps one of the most celebrated Arsenal sides since the last war Peter stories Simpson Bob Wilson Radford Graham Bobby gold Pat Rice Georgie Armstrong McNab Frank McLintock this then was the scene as little Swindon from the West Country set up for Wembley on Saturday 5th March 1969 there’s Danny Williams what a tremendous achievement by him and certainly there can be no prouder moment for any manager than to lead his side out for a Wembley final in front of a crowd of a hundred thousand and of course they have a man their number eleven that Arsenal was fear Don Rogers whose football really puts him in a cause high above the third division a winger who could score goals and he’s got 22 of them this season John Smith coming away for Swindon John Rogers managing and a good to us and in need of you to get that pond away good work by Roger Smith and a chance to watch us again to keep it up off the referee freaking nicely the Swindon to Smith to the far post nobody’s there the bad mistake by Wilson – smart while just running inside noble following up and my goodness that astral defense was called wide open then and Wilson attorney for that earlier mistake Simpson Radford and now Raja is putting it out of defense was good they play and they’re to take the return good play by Rogers time this is in Cyprus Swindon you shot those city slickers didn’t you hey I think that goal gets funnier every time I see it I’m sure Roger did think that were you and Wilson great day for Roger smart Larry oh yeah gender sheer cuz he didn’t score that many Roger really you know that stage the Arsenal were worried very worried don’t you think yeah yeah yeah because we were given them as good as we were getting on the right of the picture the Arsenal manager Berti moon fitting McNab but not your he’s taking two men to look after him all the time and he opening it back to Wilson looking for Radford what miss chatting that one he’s only got called in the middle Armstrong’s teaming up as well on men advancing on Emily tried to pile one in there just inside that near first here comes the corner to hold a game putting dancer under pressure but downs for as cool as you like let’s play buildest with Madoka Radford again trying to pick it on corners in there

under that crossbar port going in and another corner it’s so much credit is this man Peter down strong against all the odds he’s getting up there and punching these balls away here’s another one coming in you’re getting in up we go again well there’s no doubt where they come from here comes yet another caller from Armstrong gained under that Boehner gave downs for their what a game he’s having first game he’s ever had at Wembley oh my goodness he’s going to remember this one he had another corner placed a bit wider this time looking for McClintock and your but before you can get there it’s Harland it’s still bumming about McNair it’s too loud blackbird right for the game what a goalkeeper goalkeeper Peter down from magnificent that that side had become unbeatable hadn’t it in your minds you’ve had eleven games to get to Wembley unbeaten yeah I think you know everybody was saying Arsenal we’re a better team than us and we’re going to win but I’d only there’s one person on our team thought that because we’d beaten some good teams along the way and we were playing really well so we fully expected to win all right and so the story rolled on now can you hold out five more minutes now for Swindon to hold out and judging by their performance over the last 85 minutes there’s nothing people say that they can’t do it you’re straight to Rajan’s of all people now cool the physical control get to it now well there it goes his class poor Peter downs for the man who has done more than any man could ask of a goalkeeper this afternoon he’s something like three minutes left of normal time he’s beaten at last the neuronal what you thought three minutes from the end the cup snatched away oh I think it reminded us of the semi-final a bit because it happened to us in the semi-finals yeah but I think as soon as the whistle went for Tom I think everything was okay then because we realized we were stronger than them little like we would win it you thought you were stronger than the mighty Arsenal yeah well we’ll thought that and that’s them a lot indeed you were to be – noble – Penman on the brain leave outside MSD he’s trying to dummy pause but Navin does so the game for Arsenal Trump Roger smart the man who scored their goal but fairly good saved by Bob Wilson pushing it onto the post they really do come back these Swindon boys well we’ve got just about to the end of this period of extra time but it’s a brave man and put his money on a winner of this game it’s still so very even and so very very close very nearly through just come back by Swindon Town pull back so tragically so close to the end of normal time door mojos puts their

hand buckler to pendulum Rogers so much confusion in this usually so orderly Arsenal depends for this one he’s got noble there in the middle he just well saved by Wilson and you’re now for us what is his streaking ahead and there is this incredible scoreline a school one Swindon Town Football League Cup for 1969 the Mariners scored two of them number 11 Swindon’s time to go and collect the Football League Cup for morale Highness the Princess Margaret being led by number six Van Hollen such an inspiring choice isn’t it absolutely tremendous fear Don your trademark was going through on the goalkeeper as you did for the goal that finished the Arsenal what was your secret because you always made it look so easy goalkeepers look so foolish I think with when you get clean through like that I think the first thing you have to figure out in your mind is what you’re gonna do we’re gonna take it pass and we’re gonna shoot we’re gonna chip if you don’t make your mind up then you’ve got no chance did you end up you don’t know what you’re gonna do now 1969 was the year that George Armstrong was taking corners against you it was also the year that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and looking at that Wembley pitch it look like the moon I don’t remember it being so bad Don yeah I was there why was it so bad yeah it’s diabolical because on the Wednesday apparently had the Royal Horse Show there and if you actually look at it where all the fences were there’s all mud patties Royal Horse Show well Swindon put on a royal performance what’s your one great memory briefly of that of that match a great memory would be the third goal going in the back of the net and turning around and saying they can’t beat us now they can’t beat us now a epic match prophetic words they didn’t you really took to London by storm tremendous caps anything else just every time you think about it brings back good memories yes indeed well back home in Swindon that town was to go wild the team were treated as heroes the celebrations went on and on I was in amongst it done what do you remember about those wonderful days and nights I remember about the tremendous amount of people that was obviously lined the streets I mean I think practically everybody in Swindon was out watching us come back look at those pictures I mean thousands and thousands of them and the Town Hall Square was absolutely jam-packed yeah some day but in 1972 you were eventually to leave Swindon for the bright lights of London and the team Crystal Palace and for two years among the adulation the glamour and the big money of the big city the rogers magic was still at work now if florges can attack him he might have a chance he’s got past Bosch and now he’s confronted by another some gold but what was done Rogers his best ever performance most folk would automatically say his cup final but funnily enough done I know that you have another game in mind which might qualify Don Rogers old whiskey aside the fort back from

Oregon there’s a church I asked with Ian Moir step stay away from girls old penis I cannot Walter’s just as the first part was Rodgers and Mulligan a fairly simple task with well votes on iPhone Rogers at one side of stiffly running the other and then finding the next to put Crystal Palace three new head what are you going it’s gonna be fine yes now I know what you mean hey you enjoyed that super yeah you know in the in the concept context of both the clubs and when that resort meant as much to Crystal Palace’s what the cut funnel did to Swindon and the fans were well they weren’t boiled afterwards I never understood why you didn’t play for England senior side why do you think you didn’t you were clearly one of the best players of your time difficult thing for me to answer that really yeah I mean winners weren’t really in fashion at the time when I was at my peak probably you know lots of people said I should have played for them but the manager didn’t think so so fair enough they used to say you wouldn’t always be as good away from home as you were at Swindon or at Crystal Palace but that applies to most people I mean you’ve watched a lot of football and I mean that applies to nearly every team in the key in the country did you really put yourself out there Don did it did you bust a gut or were you just the ice cold genius yes well I didn’t best forget now I think I think football is a k so you can either play it or you can I don’t think you’d be teach somebody to play football you can make them make their skills better but you can’t teach them the game of football I mean talking to you now about great days you’re very calm about it or watching you play your faces expressions as you knock it in the net are you as calm and cool as you appear to be that’s probably more so on a football pitch than anywhere else I think I think it’s something I enjoyed doing and it came fairly easily I think really so you know they just seem that way well certainly who made it look easy yeah it wasn’t as easy it looked well after that you joined Queens Park Rangers just for one year then it was back to Swindon for 7576 and for the last ten years or so Don you’ve been happy running your sports shop and building business do you ever miss the game and what do you think to the present game well I don’t think I really missed the game well haven’t had a sort of serious injury in that and have another operation I think that wellness came to that out anyway mm-hmm as regards the model I think the game has changed a hell of a lot and I think we see a lot more longballs nowadays I think people try to get the ball forward a lot quicker don’t play it from the back so much and they put pressure on defenses and it seems to work out do you like watching it as much as the when you played oh no I don’t like watching it as much I think there’s probably a lot more action than the penalty boxes could the balls and they’re a lot more yes a lot of action perhaps not so much pretty scientific stuff no but we enjoyed watching you young man all the time and I’ve got a little surprise for you now because here is the old pot the League Cup of 1969 which you and your team won that was once under my bed I hope you treated it properly if it was under your bed yes I did it had just

been full of something nice I take it no never and when you look at it now what is it what do you think home I’m very fond members yes very fond memories well I’m sure you have and it’s been wonderful sharing them with you thank you for coming Don to join us and give us a glimpse of some of those really magic moments and the great enjoyment you gave to us all