In front of 6,150 supporters on a bright but crisp winter’s day 52 years ago this week, a group of men wrote themselves into the Doncaster Rovers record books.
Those attending the Football League Division Four clash with North East rivals Darlington at Belle Vue on January 25, 1964 could have had no idea of the goal glut to come as the referee blew his whistle to signal the start of the match.
For it was on that date that Rovers slammed an incredible 10 goals past the Quakers and earned themselves a spot in the record books by racking up the biggest-ever win in the club’s league history.
It is a record that still stands to this day.
The game had extra spice as boy wonder and goal grabber extraordinaire Alick Jeffrey was just starting to make his return to first team action following a spell on the sidelines for various reasons for a few years.
However, Jeffrey, one of the club’s leading goalscorers, actually didn’t find the net on that remarkable day – although five of his team-mates did.
By half-time, Rovers had notched up an incredible 6-0 lead, a brace from Colin Booth, a strike from Keith Ripley and a hat-trick from Alfie Hale putting the hosts firmly in control as the interval oranges were passed around a buoyant dressing room.
Although they relented a little after the restart, four more goals were added to the haul, Hale grabbing his fourth, Ripley also adding to his tally while Denis Windross and Albert Broabent also added their names to the scoresheet on that “I was there” day.
However, despite it being a major milestone in the Rovers record books, it failed to prove significant in the 1963-64 season for the club, with the side failing to capitalise on the win and march up the table.
Only five more games were won across the course of the remainder of the season – and Rovers eventually finished in 14th place.
And Darlington got their revenge, winning the return fixture 2-0.