Tribute to one of Buxton’s FA Cup heroes

Stan Machent. Photo contributed.
Stan Machent. Photo contributed.

SIXTY years ago, Buxton Football Club was expectantly awaiting the greatest day in its FA Cup history, a visit in the third round proper to Doncaster Rovers, then, as recently, in the second tier of English soccer.

Six decades on and last week saw the passing, at the age of 91, of one of the two surviving members of that Buxton team, Stan Machent.

Stan had three separate Silverlands spells, spanning nearly 15 years, and he scored 65 goals as an inside-forward in some 198 first-team games.

His third spell began in the autumn of 1951 with the club having already qualified for the FA Cup’s first round proper for the first time, and in the match away to Rawmarsh Welfare Stan scored one of his three Buxton hat-tricks in the 4-1 victory.

In the next round, at home to Division Three (South) club Aldershot, the Bucks poured down the slope to lead 4-0 after just 16 minutes, with Stan netting the fourth goal, and then held on at the end to win 4-3.

The Doncaster tie saw the Bucks suffer a honourable 2-0 defeat, but Stan figured in some late drama, being brought down by Len Graham to earn his team a penalty-kick, but Don Carter saw his shot saved.

After a season ravaged by injury, Stan left the Silverlands for the last time as a player in the summer of 1954.

Stan, however, had another claim to Silverlands fame, being the last known playing link to pre-war soccer at the club.

After leaving school at the age of 14, Stan signed professional for Sheffield United in October 1938 and came to the Silverlands on loan in October the following year.

He made his debut against Ashton National in a 4-3 success, playing alongside fellow loanee from Bramhall Lane, Eddie Shimwell, who was later to achieve fame in the celebrated Blackpool team of the early 1950s.

Buxton FC chairman Tony Tomlinson: “I first met Stan on the occasion of his 83rd birthday and I was struck by how fit, sharp and positive he was, blessed with a wonderful memory and a delight in sharing his recollections.

“He could remember details of his past, travelling to Buxton matches with his much older brother Arthur, a former Silverlands full-back, playing for Sheffield United and Chesterfield and travelling south to play for Hereford in between his second and third Buxton spells.

“But there was more to Stan than the footballer, he was surely one of the few British people who claimed to have had ‘a good war’.

“In 1942 he had joined the RAF and admitted to have been so very fortunate in being assigned to Coastal Command rather than Bomber Command, from which so many young fliers failed to return.

“His RAF career took him to Miami, Canada and the Bahamas where he met the then Governor-General and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

“Stan was a lovely, friendly man - I shall miss him.”