On the 31st of March 1928 a match took place at Wembley that shook the football world at the time. The match was between England and Scotland. It ended in a 5-1 win for the Scottish side that went on to be better known as the Wembley Wizards.
On that day, two of the best known players of the period lined up against each other. England's Dixie Dean who was nearing the end of his record breaking 60-goal league season and Scotland's Alex James who scored twice in the match. He only played eight times for Scotland partly due to Preston's reluctance to release him for international matches.
Just over a decade later both players are recorded as playing at the Abbey Stadium in war time matches as guests for clubs and services teams. Dixie is reported to have represented the Lancers in a match on the 16th October.
Dixie is reported to have also played for Cambridge Town a couple of times during the Second World War. His debut for Town was on Saturday 31st October 1942 against RAF B in the East Anglian League.
Alex James served with the Royal Artillery during the war there are records of war time matches between Abbey United and them recorded. However, he is reported to have played for Hallens against Marshall
You can read more about the Abbey United war years in a 100yearsofcoconuts feature The War Years which tells the story of how Abbey United carried on throughout the Second World War.
One man Frank Pettit, was almost single-handedly. responsible for keeping Abbey United alive throughout the war. We are very fortunate to have his memories recorded.
Frank was Treasurer of Abbey United from 1932 to 1950, Secretary in 1934 and 1935 and Chairman between 1939 and 1945 s.
There was no alternative, he says, for if football had stopped at Newmarket Road the ground would have had to be sold.
Listen to his story. It is a remarkable and unique insight into the early days of Abbey United
In 1944 Aston Villa won the the League (North) Cup – more commonly known as the War Cup – by completing a 5-3 aggregate success over Blackpool.
Billy Goffin’s goal wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat in the first leg at Bloomfield Road. But cheered on by a crowd of 54,824, Villa won the second leg 4-2 at Villa Park. Frank Broome was on target twice, with George Edwards and Bob Iverson netting the other goals.