Carford's next trophy arrived in 1972/73 as they won the F.A. Cup and followed it up immediately by winning the 1973/74 European Cup Winners Cup. City's defence of the Cup Winners Cup would last only one round, as Melchester Rovers knocked them out in 1974/75 on their way to victory in the final over Greeks Niarkos. Manager Archie Mille, the former Melboro' and England winger, was credited with transforming City, his tough team always providing stiff challenges for opponents. But Miller would leave in disgrace, after a massive touchline bust-up with Melchester manager, and former friend, Tony Storme, he was sacked, taking up the role of chief scout for a sympathetic Storme.
Carford in their smart white and black strip were becoming a force in cup competitions. But a 4-2 defeat in the 5th Round of the 1975/76 League Cup to a dominant Rovers ended their hunt for trophies for another year.
The next few seasons would see Rovers repeatedly beat Carford without conceding, Roy Race scored four in 76/77 in a 5-0 win. Led by Richie Davis, City were defeated 2-0 in 78/79 thanks to some inspired tactics by stand-in manager, Ben Galloway. On the way to the title Rovers would again thrash City, this time 3-0, on the opening day.
1980/81, saw two amazing matches, both drawn 2-2. Carford would fight for the title with Everpool and Danefield United, eventually finishing third, after leading at the midway point. City had again established themselves as one of the strongest teams in the country. In the eighties they would constantly challenge at the top end of the table. Players such as England international Carl 'The Hunter' Hunt, winger Brian Foulkes and new skipper Mike Gladwin formed the spine of the side, with Norman Jackson, the goalie who Roy Race couldn't beat. Managed by Dennis Blair and inspired by German superstar, Kurt Gruber, City were a special side, mixing flair and steel.
But despite the world-class players, Blair's side would not win a trophy. Dyanmic midfielder, Carl Hunt was transferred to Melchester Rovers at the start of the 1984/85 season and go on to win the Cup Winner's Cup in his first year. Hunt would score against his first side in 85/86 in a 5-1 win in the League Cup. Probably Carford City's best ever player would die tragically at the end of that season in the Basran Disaster.
City, like Rovers, were in a rebuilding phase, after the departure of the superstars of the early 80s. Everything was going to plan in the 1987/88 season, as Carford topped the table in April. Despite a heavy opening day defeat to Rovers (4-0), City would only lose the title to Melchester on the final day of the season. Due to cup commitments, Rovers had one game left to play after their F.A. Cup Final deafeat to Weston Villa, and needed to beat Stambridge City to overhaul Carford's lead at the top. A last minute own-goal would deny City.
But the pairing of Stevens and star goalie Eric Sutton could not find success as Carford were relegated. Their spell in the second tier was brief, as City were promoted in second place in 1997/98, behind Brentfield. They would celebrate their return to the top flight with a great run to the semi-finals of the F.A. Cup in 98/99, where a goal from top attacking midfielder Gary Bracken would send Melchester Rovers into the final.
City quickly reestablished themselves as one of the top teams in the country and would challenge for the title in 2000/01 before fading to finish third.
Carford City have been one of the main rivals of Melchester Rovers since the mid-70s, rarely providing anything but a stiff challenge for the superstars of Mel Park. They had their fair share of star players too, obviously Carl Hunt and Kurt Gruber being stand out players from the early 80, and Phil Stevens was probably the top centre-forward in England in the early 90s. Hunt, Richie Davis and Mike Gladwin were great captains, it's just a shame that City could not sustain their success of the 70s. Perhaps in the years to come Carford can regain a place as title challengers, who knows...?
League Champions 1963/64
F.A. Cup Winners 1972/73
European Cup Winner's Cup Winners 1973/74
Notable players -
G - Norman Jackson, Eric Sutton
D - Mike Gladwin, Frank Tyler, Kurt Gruber, Cruncher Coggin
M - Richie Davis, Carl Hunt, Brian Foulkes, Colin Daley, Don Weston
F - Phil Stevens, Mickey Rockford