BACK in 1955 the FA Cup Final was, as now, screened live on television.
But unlike now, many Hartlepool households had no set and relied on their local for their viewing.
The problem for those hoping to see Newcastle take on Manchester City at Wembley was that pubs then required a special licence to open in the afternoon.
Four local hostelries therefore applied to licensing magistrates for an extension from 3pm to 5pm so their customers could watch the match.
The application was heard on the morning of the match and Mr W Aves, of the Cleveland Hotel, Northgate, told the bench nearly all his patrons and those of fellow licensees were “sportsmen”.
In fact, he said, most of them were “mad about sport, especially football”.
He did not, he told magistrates, think many “outsiders” would visit the public house.
“All who come to my place I know as regulars,” he said.
Opposing the application, Inspector L H Twigg handed magistrates a copy of the previous night’s Mail, which carried a report about Worcester magistrates refusing a similar application.
The inspector said: “The police believe this is just an excuse to prolong the drinking hours.
“They do not consider the Cup Final to fall into the category of ‘special occasions’ as required by law.”
He considered allowing the licence this time could set a precedent, with many other sporting occasions being used as an “excuse” to apply for extensions.
But Insp Twigg did have a suggestion: “If the licensees wish, they can invite people in to watch the TV without selling liquor and then they could also have their customers’ wives and children in.”
The bench had heard enough and F Graham, the chairman of the magistrates, said they were of the opinion “there was no justification for grating an extension” and the application was turned down.
As for the match, dubbed the Gaudies v the Geordies due to City’s flash tracksuits, a novelty at the time, it was won 3-1 by Newcastle, with Jackie Milburn’s goal after 45 seconds the fastest until 1997 when Roberto Di Matteo broke Boro hearts after just 42 seconds.
Did any pubs act on Insp Twigg’s suggestion and stay open for the game without serving alcohol?
Contact Andrew Levett by emailing email@example.com or write to him at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.