My father was Blue – he wouldn’t eat bacon unless it was in a sandwich because it was red and white. My uncles and cousins were Blues. If you were called Talbot in Ashton under Lyne you were Blue. It was as simple as that!
My father took me most Saturdays in the fifties to watch the Blues. I probably saw all but a handful of games at Maine Road and a high proportion of away games between 1953 and the early seventies. Not much changes with City – my first recollections were of relegation. We quickly bounced back that time and put a squad together which got us to Wembley in 1955. City, down to 10 men after Jimmy Meadows was carried off in the nineteenth minute eventually went down 3:1 to Jackie Milburn’s Newcastle.
They were back at Wembley within twelve months, this time beating Birmingham 3:1. Those were the years of Don Revie, Roy Paul, Bert Trautmann, Bobby Johnson, Joe Hayes and Nobby Clarke. My most emotional recollection of that period is not of Bert Trautmann holding his neck as he collected his winner’s medal in 1956 but of Nobby Clarke being half carried, half dragged off the pitch, more like a black sack then a footballer in the previous year’s semi-final against Sunderland. Minutes earlier in a mudbath on a pitch, in pouring rain, Clarky had scored the only goal – Joe Hayes ran down the wing and hit it low into the penalty area. Clarky threw himself at it and headed into the bottom corner. His momentum slid him several yards through the mud. I can see now the look of pure joy on his face as he wiped the mud from his eyes and peered at the ball in the net.
By the mid fifties I was hooked. The late fifties was the Denis Law era. City busted the UK transfer record to buy him from Huddersfield paying