York City reporter Dave Flett resumes our series on York City's famous 1954-55 FA Cup run with a rare interview with sixth round goal-scoring hero Arthur Bottom.

ARTHUR Bottom has dispelled the popular myth that York City were robbed of a place in the FA Cup final by a refereeing decision.

Debates over balls crossing goal-lines have raged long before this season's Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

England, most famously, won a World Cup on the back of a Geoff Hurst 'goal' that nobody - Roger Hunt and a Russian linesman aside - can be certain should have been awarded.

Similarly, without the benefit of advanced camera technology, it has always been unclear whether York City's third division 1955 Happy Wanderers' team were deprived of a massive prize - a day out at Wembley in the world's most famous Cup final.

Bottom's late header, scooped off the line by Newcastle goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson, ensured a controversial ending to City's 1-1 semi-final draw against the Magpies at Hillsborough.

City fans screamed for a goal but, amid confusing scenes, the referee awarded a foul against Bottom.

A goal would have taken the prolific Bottom's tally to nine during the cup run and, more importantly, seen City line up against Manchester City under the Twin Towers instead of a Newcastle team, boasting the likes of Jackie Milburn and Bob Stokoe, who went on to win the replay.

But an honest Bottom, in a rare interview, said: "The ball didn't cross the line and I didn't foul the keeper."

A round earlier, the Sheffield-born striker had scored the only goal of the game - and there was no doubt about that one - in front of 47,301 fans at Notts County.

He said: "It was a poor game. The ground was rock hard with almost no grass on it and we didn't play as well as we could because of this. I had a goal disallowed after ten minutes but that wasn't a fair decision as I wasn't offside.

"My goal came on 78 minutes when Syd (Storey) hit the ball and it came off their centre half to me. Their goalkeeper was in the middle of the goal and I just put it past him."

The historic strike, booking City's first and only semi-final appearance, also saw Bottom equal the club's record for goals in a season, moving him on to 31.

"I didn't realise it equalled the record but I wouldn't have thought about that," Bottom said. "I was just keen to win the match and get to the semi-final."

Having played in front of big crowds at Sheffield United, Bottom was not overawed by a Meadow Lane attendance that still stands as a club record.

Instead, he points out that the Happy Wanderers were lifted by the support of City's 11,225 travelling fans.

He said: "We just treated the game like any other and were totally unfazed by the big crowd. We had no nerves and just wanted to play but our fans were great and helped to create a wonderful atmosphere. The scenes at the end were great. The fans came on to the pitch and we had to fight our way to the dressing room."

The team were then greeted by ecstatic fans back at Bootham Crescent but Bottom chose a quieter way to mark the occasion.

"I don't know what the rest of the team did but I went for a celebratory drink in Sheffield with my wife and father-in-law," he recalled.

Bottom left City after four years during which he plundered 105 goals in 158 games to sign for Newcastle in 1958.

He netted ten goals in 11 matches to save the Magpies from relegation to Division Two but lasted less than a year at St James Park before moving on to Chesterfield and later playing for Boston United and Alfreton Town.

Bottom did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving Newcastle so soon after making a big impression but said; "It was a big club where I was happy when in the first team but unhappy in the reserves."

His career never hit the same heights after leaving Newcastle and he later worked as a silversmith at a cutlery firm.

Still living in Sheffield, he now enjoys family life and watches Premiership football on television whilst always checking City's result and admitting to being 'gutted' by the club's relegation from the Football League.

"Being at York was my happiest time in football. I liked it very much," he said.

Happy Wanderers ecstatic

AN IMPRESSIVE travelling army of 11,225 Happy Wanderers fans made the quarter-final trip to Notts County, resulting in a attendance of 47,301 which is still a Meadow Lane record.

The all-ticket crowd watched a tense, keenly-contested tie that saw City come up against future manager Tom Johnston, who was the home side's left-half at the time.

Unlike previous attacking displays, City were required to defend resolutely against County with captain Ernie Phillips outstanding at the back.

Goalkeeper Tommy Forgan was also in masterly form.

Arthur Bottom had the ball in the net after ten minutes but his effort was ruled out because of offside, as was a similar 'goal' by Roland 'Tot' Leverton soon after the break.

City grew stronger as the game went on with Syd Storey forcing a fine save from Gordon Bradley before Bottom broke the deadlock on 78 minutes.

Leon Leuty fouled Norman Wilkinson on the edge of the penalty box and Billy Hughes' free kick led to a Storey shot that was deflected into the path of Bottom, who scored from close range.

Billy Fenton then fired a great chance wide and the visitors were forced to survive late pressure from County before securing their historic last-four place.

FA Cup match facts

Sixth round - March 12, 1955

Notts County 0, York City 1 (Bottom)

Notts County: Gordon Bradley, Aubrey Southwell, Tommy Deans, Henry Adamson, Leon Leuty, Tom Johnston, Gordon Wills, Ron Wylie, James Jackson, Roland Leverton, Albert Broadbent.

York City: Tommy Forgan, Ernie Phillips, George Howe, Gordon Brown, Alan Stewart, Ron Spence, Billy Hughes, Arthur Bottom, Norman Wilkinson, Syd Storey, Billy Fenton

Referee: H Haworth (Blackburn)

Attendance: 47,301 (receipts £6,425).

Arthur's verdict on his team-mates and the Cup matches

Forgan - can't fault him.

Phillips - fast, a good full back.

Howe - used his head to make up for lack of speed.

Brown - one of the best half-backs I've played with.

Stewart - a stopper who did his job well.

Spence - fast, good tackler.

Hughes - great ball player.

Wilkinson - best centre-forward I ever played with. Can't praise him enough.

Storey - tricky little player and very hard working.

Fenton - very fast, he was like a greyhound and scored some memorable goals.

All in all, we were a very well-balanced side and we played as a team.

First round: Scarborough home (won 3-2) - frightening as we only just won.

Second round: Dorchester Town away (won 5-2) - I clearly remember their sloping pitch where the crossbar at one end was on the same level as the foot of the goalpost at the other. It suited us better playing uphill. The team clicked and I scored a hat-trick.

Third round: Blackpool away (won 2-0) - We played against a team with many internationals including the great Stanley Matthews but we licked 'em. George Howe shut Matthews out of the game.

Fourth round: Bishop Auckland away (won 3-1) - I don't remember too much about this game apart from scoring an easy goal.

Fifth round: Tottenham Hotspur home (won 3-1) - We played them at their own game. I remember Billy (Fenton) scoring and also Norman's (Wilkinson) goal. I, too, should have scored. Something that really sticks in my mind was Billy giving Ramsey ten yards start and still beating him to the ball.

Sixth round: Notts County away (won 1-0) - see main story.

Semi-final: Newcastle United at Hillsborough (drew 1-1, lost replay 2-0 at Roker Park) - I was delighted that my family were able to attend. I remember my goal very clearly. I was in Norman's position and he was in mine. There was a bad pass by Newcastle's Carmichael and I could only go forward. Scoular and Stokoe let me through and, as Simpson came out, I chipped the ball and his finger-tips deflected it towards the line. At that moment I remember thinking 'get it right' as I only had a side view of the goal. I scored.

Updated: 10:19 Saturday, March 12, 2005