NEWPORT County legend Len Ashurst is hoping Michael Flynn and his players can write their names into the club’s history books at Wembley next week.

Ashurst was the last manager to guide County into the third tier of English football when his side finished third in the old fourth division in 1980.

That squad – Gary Plumley, Richard Walden, Keith Oakes, Grant Davies, Dave Bruton, Neil Bailey, John Relish, Nigel Vaughan, Steve Lowndes, Dave Gwyther, Kevin Moore, Bobby Ward, Howard Goddard, Tommy Tynan and John Aldridge – also won the Welsh Cup that season and reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup the following year.

Ashurst, who was in charge at Somerton Park between 1978 and 1982, believes that side is the best in the club’s history.

South Wales Argus:

But he’d be delighted if the current crop can match the achievement of his 1980 heroes and seal promotion to the third tier with victory over Tranmere Rovers in the League Two play-off final next Saturday.

“We had a very good team with the likes of John Aldridge, Tommy Tynan and Kevin Moore up front and a solid defence built around Keith Oakes,” recalled Ashurst.

“It’s probably the best team that the club has ever had and I always felt they should have gone on to achieve more.

“If they’d kept the team together, they could have gone higher again but that’s the way it is in the lower leagues; sides get broken up.

“I blame the board. They ran out of money and had to sell players to pay the debts.”

Ashurst was sacked in 1982 and County just missed out on promotion again under his successor Colin Addison in 1983 before Tynan, Aldridge and many other star names departed.

“It was a long time ago and there are probably plenty of people in Newport now who wouldn’t know the names Aldridge and Tynan,” added Ashurst.

“But those who saw them play will never forget them and if Newport can get the win next week then these players will be remembered in the same way.”

South Wales Argus:

Ashurst went on to manage Cardiff City in two separate spells as well as Sunderland and he now lives on Wearside, where he recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

But he still follows the fortunes of County, having previously described his time in Newport as the happiest of his managerial career.

“It’s still in the blood, even though I live in the North East now,” he said.

“My son Roger and grandson Leo watch every game and I get a full report over the phone.

“It’s great for the whole city of Newport and it will be a big boost if they can win at Wembley.

“It’s very difficult on the bottom rungs of the football ladder to get back up again, but fortunately Newport have managed to fight their way back to where they deserve to be. Good luck to them.”