Chatham Cup flashback: Fifty years ago and the first final outside of Wellington

Fifty years ago, the Chatham Cup final was staged at Auckland’s Newmarket Park — the first time it had been played away from Wellington’s Basin Reserve.

Only replays had taken the showcase event away from the capital — including the marathon 1972 final that went to replays in Christchurch and Auckland, as Mt Wellington and Christchurch United battled out what is arguably the greatest final ever.

In 1973, Mount Wellington were back in the final, eager to make up for the previous year’s disappointment.

They faced North Shore United, seeking their fifth cup win, and the New Zealand Football Association approved the switch of venue, knowing the match would draw a sellout crowd at Newmarket Park.

READ MORE: Memories of Newmarket Park, Auckland’s former ‘Home of Football’ >>>>

North Shore were leading the Northern League at the time, and ambitiously eyeing promotion to the National League in which Mount Wellington played.

As the Chatham Cup had for so many years brought together finalists from each island of New Zealand, this was the first of the 46 cup finals to feature two teams from Auckland.

Goals from New Zealand internationals Dave Taylor (2) and John Houghton helped Mount to a 3-0 victory.

Meanwhile, North Shore United won promotion to the National League and were runners-up in 1975. They became national champions in 1977.

A New Zealand-born referee for the final

The match referee was Andy Blackburn, from Auckland, who was deemed to be neutral, given both finalists were from the city.

Auckland referees had not been appointed for previous finals involving an Auckland club, so the choice of Blackburn was fair reward for a referee who had been officiating since 1962 and was the only New Zealand-born referee on the National League panel.

Before the Chatham Cup final, his highest-profile game had been the 3-1 win to Auckland against top English club Stoke City whose touring squad included 1966 World Cup winners Gordon Banks, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst.

Match programme


Chatham Cup Final

Game played on Saturday September 1, 1973

Newmarket Park, Auckland

North Shore United 0
Mt Wellington 3 (Dave Taylor (2), John Houghton)


Andy Blackburn (Auckland)

North Shore United

David Turner (Greg Titchener), Eddie Donnelly, Don Mitchell, Michael Chubb, Geoff Payne (Keith Hobbs), Don Jones, Adrian Elrick, Mick Seed, Martin Hill, Tony Burgess, Roger Stevens.

Mt Wellington

Neville Siebert, Ton Sibley, Ron Armstrong, Barry Dickey, Iain Hastie, Nigel Ashurst, Vivian Hope-Ede (Max Davis), Brian Turner, John Houghton, David Taylor, Bill de Graaf (Earle Thomas).

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