NOTHING went right for Alex Murphy and his Warrington players in 1975/76.

The four-trophy haul of two seasons past seemed light years away.

They finished 10th in the league and crashed out of the Lancashire Cup and the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competitions in the opening round.

Challenge Cup hopes ended in the third round at home to Widnes but they were lucky not to have been ditched in the first round by amateurs Leigh Miners at Wilderspool. Warrington struggled to a 16-12 success.

The club was on a low and the fans had grown to expect better from Murphy. So where had it all gone wrong?

Injuries played a big part. Tommy Martyn, Mike Nicholas, Parry Gordon and Barry Philbin missed huge chunks of the campaign. And some experienced players were transferred, including Kevin Ashcroft, Wilf Briggs, Derek Noonan, Dave Chisnall and Alan Whittle.

There was no silverware to shout about the season after but Wire's fortunes seemed to have changed.

Warrington, who finished a creditable fifth in the league, crashed out of the Premiership play-offs at the first hurdle, but yet appeared in the final.

The Rugby League Council ruled that Hull Kingston Rovers fielded an ineligible player (Phil Lowe) at the opening stage and the tie was awarded to Warrington.

Wire won through to the final but lost to St Helens at Swinton 32-20.

Stars of the season were John Bevan with 17 touch downs and Steve Hesford with 129 goals while Mike Kelly and Ken Kelly were two of the newcomers to the club.

It seems ironic then that after trophy success in 1977/78 Murphy's reign came to an end. Poor league form had left Wire dangerously close to the drop at one point and that meant Murphy lost many friends on the terraces.

Wire won the John Player Trophy 9-4 against Widnes at Knowsley Road, St Helens. A Bevan special sealed it. And there was a good run in the Challenge Cup too which was only ended by St Helens 14-8 in the semi-finals.

Murphy's last game in charge was a disappointing one a 33-8 drubbing at Widnes in the Premiership play-offs. One of Murphy's last signings, Billy Benyon, was acting captain for this game. He was sent off for a high tackle. Less than two months later, he was the new Warrington boss.

He made an immediate impact as Wire finished runners-up in the league and the John Player Trophy in his first season as player coach.

This was the year Warrington beat the cocky Australian tourists 15-12 in front of a packed house at Wilderspool. And it was also the season when Steve Hesford kicked a club record 170 goals, 13 of which were one-pointers.

But the season ended on a sour note. In the Premiership play-offs semi-finals Bradford Northern triumphed 14-11 at Wilderspool. Ken Kelly had to miss out on the forthcoming Great Britain tour down under after breaking his jaw in a Len Casey tackle in the Northern match.

The club's centenary season brought about the resignation of chairman Ossie Davies, the man who had saved the club from extinction in 1971. Brian Pitchford was the new supremo.

Prop forward Roy Lester was sold to Fulham, becoming their first signing as Rugby League arrived in the capital for 1980/81, which happened to be Wire's best season under Benyon.

A marvellous display at Knowsley Road enabled Wire to stuff Second Division Wigan 26-10 in the Lancashire Cup final, their first county cup win for 15 years.

And after a titanic tussle in the John Player semi-finals with Castleford, which went to a replay, Warrington were too strong for Barrow at Central Park and scored a 12-5 success.

Rick Thackray, signed from Warrington Rugby Union Club, enjoyed his first full season with Wire scoring 15 tries. Bob Eccles started to show off his try-scoring prowess as well, touching down 15 times.

Warrington had another new coach in 1982, their former Challenge Cup medal winner Kevin Ashcroft. Benyon was later to win an unfair dismissal case against Warrington.

Ashcroft steered Warrington to Lancashire Cup glory in his first full season, a year marred by the Wilderspool fire which wiped out the complete main stand. It was also a season which saw the arrival of the sin bin and a decision at international board level to change the value of a try from three to four points.

Interesting to note too that in September 1982 Huddersfield chairman Roy Brook called for a 20-club Super League!