Ashley has been crying out for more of these articles. So here goes.
I think what prompted me to write this “Why Blue?’ was the recent articles about the Harry Dowd “goal”. Yes I was at the match and remember Harry scrambling the ball over the line, I believe at the old scoreboard end. Good old Harry. He of the infamous “Crew Cut” hairstyle of the times. Well, I was born in Walkden (now Greater Manchester) almost exactly 4 years before the Cup Final win of ’56. My father was certainly at the final and probably my grandfather as well, as both were season ticket holders for many years. I had to wait another 13 years for my chance to go to Wembley.
I do not think I was bullied into becoming a Blue. Just taken along to matches from about age 5. Memories of the matches at this time are a bit of a blur and it was not until the early sixties that I can recollect some of the matches. Especially the drubbing of Spurs on Boxing Day in ’61 or ’62. Players of this era who spring to mind include Derek Kevan (what a shot he had), John Crossan (a real wizard), Alex (kick and run) Harley, Colin Barlow and David Wagstaffe.
On to the Mercer/Allison reign and the run up to the Championship. The final match of the season at Newcastle will always rate as the greatest match I have ever been to. What an atmosphere. I know Blackburn was a similar situation last year but I do not think anything can rate for excitement as knowing that if we lost and the team from Stretford had won, that the championship result would have been reversed. Whatever happened to George Heslop and Ken Mulhearn from our championship team? Thay are very rarely mentioned but were heroes in their own right. The following year had me selling programmes at Wembley for the Players’ Fund. Worth the effort to get a ticket to see the goal by our “forgotten” hero NY. Does anyone remember NY missing a lot of games around this time? Apparently City used to warm up for matches in the gym and the dust from the gym used to affect NY’s tonsils. Many a time I was expecting to see him play at Maine Road only for him to pull out at the last minute.
Since the early seventies I have travelled a lot and it must be 20 years since I was last at Maine Road. Do I miss it? Of course, who would not? Just walking into Maine Road on match days is so special. Geoff Collins from Guernsey related to this “feeling” in a recent article. It was nice of you guys to start a supporters’ club in Guernsey after I had left. Whilst in this part of the world a quick hello to Bob Young from Jersey, who although I met him in the early eighties I did not realise he was as passionate about MCFC as myself. This is why MCFC becomes like one big family. Acquaintances everywhere.
Next stop Bermuda. No, the goat was not on board as yet but the Saturday mornings in the “Robin Hood” will not be forgotten. The place erupted when “Kinky” scored a special against West Ham. So where am I now? The soccer outpost of Sri Lanka. Good cricket team but soccer is a minority sport. Limited TV coverage. I have to rely on this excellent newsletter twice a week and various Internet sites to keep in touch. There have been so many memories over the years. How could one not continue to be Blue? I am still looking for some of the guys with whom I used to go to the matches in the late sixties and early seventies. Mike Collard I have found and met this summer after 25 years. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Alan Carhart, Roy Dickinson, Alan & Ken Doodson and Steve Brewer? Please email me if you know where they are. Finally I just hope and pray, for some of our youger supporters, that the present management and team can recreate some of the excitement that I have been priveledged to have watched over the years. Looking back I do not think we know how lucky we were to have witnessed such great times in the Mercer/ Allison reign. Stay Blue Always. I will.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #656 on