There has been over the years so many high quality striking partnerships within our Welsh clubs, but in the last 40 years, one partnership that arguably is top of the list is the strike partners to be found at Newport County in the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s, the double act of Tommy Tynan and John Aldridge.
In the late 1970’s, Newport was languishing and struggling in the Fourth Division, in 1978, Len Ashurst, became manager of the club and things almost immediately began to improve. Newport beat West Ham, who was a second division side at the time, in the third round of the FA Cup in a big upset. Players and coaches alike could feel things were starting to turn around and in strikers Tommy Tynan and John Aldridge they were guaranteed goals.
Tommy Tynan started out on the professional football journey at Liverpool, after winning a talent contest as a young 15-year-old boy. Even though Tynan was a prolific goal scorer at reserve level, he was unable to break into the first team, which at the time was winning trophies galore. After leaving Liverpool, Tynan played for Dallas Tornado in America for a season, before joining Sheffield Wednesday, and a short spell at Lincoln City. In 1978, Tynan joined Newport County.
John Aldridge began his footballing journey with non-league club, South Liverpool, when catching the eye of Newport County, in 1979 at the age of 20 years old, Aldridge became a professional football joining Newport County for a fee of £3,500. Money well spent as history would prove.
For the next 4 years, the partnership flourished between Aldridge and Tynan. At this point, it would be unfair to omit another striker who at times played as the third striker for the club, Dave Gwyther, a tall centre forward who also chipped in with many important goals, but the main duo was Tynan and Aldridge. Newport County over this period had many successes. In 1980, Newport won the Welsh Cup, qualifying for the European Cup Winners Cup (more on this later), and also in 1981, Newport gained promotion to the Third Division, with Tynan and Aldridge banging in the goals for fun. Newport had a well put together side, Keith Oakes the club captain was a strong commanding centre half, and had Welsh internationals, Steve Lowndes and Nigel Vaughan, creating opportunities in midfield.
As mentioned earlier, Newport qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup in the 1980-1981 season. What followed were some glorious European nights, Newport eventually succumbing to East German side, Carl Zeiss Jena FC in the quarter-finals. Aldridge due to injury, missed both legs of the quarter-final tie, Tynan scored both goals out in East Germany in a score draw, before the return leg at Somerton Park in front of 18,000 fans, where a late goal from the East German side destroyed the dream and a dream tie against Portuguese side Benfica in the semi-finals.
In total, up until they moved onto other clubs, in Tynan’s case Plymouth Argyle, where he went onto more success, and Aldridge, who moved onto Oxford United and then even greater success in his career, including winning trophies at Liverpool and playing in European Championships and World Cups with Republic Ireland, scored a great number of goals for the club. Tynan scored in all competitions for Newport, 66 goals in 183 appearances. Aldridge scored in all competitions for Newport, 70 goals in 170 appearances. Fantastic totals from both players.
The years Tommy Tynan and John Aldridge were at Newport County were fantastic years for the club, with some great successes. Tynan, a blonde haired, strong, no nonsense type centre forward, who was strong in the air, but also had good feet and a great finisher. Aldridge, a natural poacher, good movement, and also good in the air. Both players carved out great careers in their own rights, a fantastic strike partnership.