RONNIE Radford is responsible for arguably the most famous FA Cup goal but not many would associate him with Worcester City.

Radford’s rocket levelled non-league Hereford’s replay at home to top-flight Newcastle United on an Edgar Street surface that resembled a mud bath in February 1972.

Legendary commentator John Motson, then 26, has since acknowledged covering that match was a “turning point” in his own career but Radford remained outside the Football League and joined City as full-time player-manager in the summer of 1974.

His brief was to lead City’s swift return following relegation to Southern League Division One North the previous season.

Radford replaced caretaker Bill Jackman who had overseen a rather unfortunate drop from what was then non-league football’s top tier.

In the era of two points for a win, City had required five from the final three matches but ended up with four.

The heartbreak was magnified on the last day of the season with John Inglis putting the hosts ahead against Maidstone at St George’s Lane only to ship two quick-fire goals.

Inglis levelled with the last kick but the 2-2 draw in front of 1,503 was not enough to save their status or Jackman.

Despite being strapped for cash, Radford paid Cheltenham a small fee for ex-Hereford colleague Roger Griffiths with centre-half Stewart Biggart (Gloucester City) and midfielder Ian Davidson (Hull) also coming on board.

Amateurs Ian Trevor, Paul Hunt, Mark Hingley and Garry Holbrooke turned professional to join the likes of Bobby McEwan, Ray Aggio, Barry Kelcher, Inglis, David Smith, Peter Hensman, Keith Allen, Bob Bache and Lionel Martin, all of whom had stayed on from the previous campaign.

It proved to be a baptism of fire for Radford, though, with a resounding 3-0 defeat to a Redditch side featuring future City stars Ken Lawrance and Ralph Punsheon in a disappointing curtain raiser at the Lane.

Things got no better and with gates dropping at an alarming rate, City were heading for what was described as “their worst cash crisis since the war”.

A host of players such as Neil Merrick (Bournemouth, £2,000), McEwan (Bromsgrove) and Aggio (St Albans) headed for the exit swiftly followed by Radford who was released from his contract to join Bath City as a player.

Jackman was reinstated temporarily before protracted negotiations took place with Nobby Clark.

Amazingly, there was some trepidation on both sides with Clark never having managed a professional club before and he took three weeks to finally take the post.

His first match in charge was a 1-0 defeat of Kidderminster on Boxing Day 1974 and the rest is history, inspiring a resurgence that made Worcester the envy of most non-league clubs in the land.

The team photo was taken prior to friendly game v Gibraltar August 12, 1974.

Back - Neil Merrick, Bobby McEwan, Stewart Biggart, Ronnie Radford (player-manager), Mark Hingley, John Inglis, Ray Aggio, Bob Bache, David Smith, Fred Potter (coach).

Front - Ian Davidson, Stewart Hadley, Roger Griffiths, Lionel Martin, Garry Holbrooke.

With thanks to Worcester City historian Julian Pugh.