Why Fareham Town are aiming to revive memories of their 1970s cup-winning glory days
Fareham Town are aiming to revive memories of their 1970s glory days this season.
The Reds recently moved into the quarter finals of the Russell Cotes Cup with a penalty shoot-out success at AFC Portchester.
They now face a testing trip to Wessex League Division 1 club Alton on Tuesday night.
Alton are one of only three Wessex clubs who play league games on an artificial surface - AFC Stoneham and Hamworthy are the others.
The Anstey Park club have only won one of their last five league games, and at the weekend could only draw 2-2 with rock bottom Folland.
But they still remain only six points adrift of leaders US Portsmouth in a very tightly-congested top six.
Though the visitors will start as favourites, manager Pete Stiles insists they will give their hosts every respect.
'Alton are going really well so we know that we won't be able to afford any complacency,' he said.
'Despite this, I will be making a few changes.
'They play on a 3G pitch which the younger players like because they are more used to it.
'The older ones groan a bit about it.
'I will need to look carefully at which players to select.'
Gary Austin is expected to return after suspension and Curt Robbins has been given the all clear to play after a head injury.
Fareham have only reached one Russell Cotes Cup final in recent years - losing 2-0 to AFC Portchester in 2014.
But back in the 1970s they pieced together the best run any club has ever managed in the 100-year history of the Hampshire FA-run event.
The Reds lifted the tournament five seasons running - between 1972/73 and 1976/77 inclusive.
Before that, the club had only ever won the Russell Cotes once - in 1965.
This was their glory run …
1972/73: Mick O’Neill and Mick Swain netted in a 2-0 final success over Sholing. Fareham also won the Hampshire League title that term.
1973/74: Dave Stokes - brother of Southampton’s 1976 FA Cup final Bobby - fired a hat-trick as the Reds retained the silverware with a 3-1 final success against Pirelli General.
1974/75: Stokes was again the hero, scoring the only goal in the final against Brockenhurst. Again, Fareham also won the Hampshire League that season.
1975/76: Kevin Albury struck twice as Fareham won the RCC for the fourth year running, beating Hampshire League champions Brockenhurst 3-1.
1976/77: A fifth successive win was achieved via a 4-3 penalty shoot-out success against Swaythling after a 2-2 draw.
Only one club has ever won more Russell Cotes Cups than Fareham. Andover claimed nine wins between 1924-2002, while Gosport Borough and Fleet Town have both won the competition five times.
Gosport’s last win came in 2016 when Justin Bennett scored twice in a 2-1 final win against AFC Portchester - his 262nd and 263rd goals for the club in his final Borough appearance.