Rotherham United: Old pals recall historic firsts

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When Rotherham United and Aston Villa were paired together in this week’s second round of the Capital One Cup, it prompted recall of when the clubs made history over half a century ago in the first ever final of the competition when it was simply called the Football League Cup.

And two Millers teammates from that historic final over 50 years ago met up again to talk about how they carved their own niche in that first final.

Barry Webster scored the first goal in in whilst Roy Ironside actually saved a Villa penalty that night.

The two were pals long before their professional footballing days and they remain close friends today, living only half-a-mile apart in Jordanthorpe.

The competition was introduced by the Football League in 1960 as an additional knockout tournament with the difference being that the semi-finals and final were over two legs.

So, in August 1961 (the final being held over from the previous season) over 12,000 at Millmoor watched the first leg of the final with Rotherham in what’s now The Championship and Villa in the top flight.

Rotherham won that first leg 2-0 and to their right winger Barry Webster went the distinction of scoring the final’s first ever goal.

“I can remember it, yes,” said Barry. “Roy actually threw the ball out to me. I passed to Don Weston and I’d moved into the penalty area when Ken Houghton put the ball through to me. The angle was tight and their goalkeeper, Nigel Sims, was a big bloke, but I struck it well and it went over over him into the roof of the net.”

A second goal (from Alan Kirkman) quickly followed but whereas the FA Cup Final at Wembley waited over 60 years to see a penalty saved, it was just over 60 minutes in this new competition.

“It was taken by Villa’s right back Stan Lynn, a burly bloke who had a powerful shot,” said Roy whose son Ian was also a goalkeeper, playing in the Premier League for Middlesbrough, whilst grandson Joe plays for Sheffield United.

“He struck it low to my right but,” he adds modestly, “it was perhaps more luck than judgement that I managed to get it round the post.

“We were a family club, no big hitters, but we were a great side but didn’t realise it.”

But there was to be no glory end. Villa won the second leg 3-0, the game going to extra-time before being decided.