Friday, 27 February 2015

Huddersfield Town 1947-48 (part 2)

Posted by Tony Hutton

Town started the new year of 1948 in thirteenth place in the first division on 20 points.
However they were level with two other teams and the three below them all had 19 points. So a very close contest looked in prospect.

They started well with a 3-2 win away at Portsmouth but a week later on 10th January suffered a humiliating defeat at then non-league Colchester United in the third round of the F.A. Cup. It was one of the first big giant-killing acts of the post-war period and really hit the headlines. The small ground and proximity of the crowd were given as excuses but the press reports suggested that Colchester dominated the game and fully deserved their 1-0 victory.

Town bounced back well the following week with a 4-2 win at Chelsea. All their best performances seemed to be away from home and understandably home support began to dwindle. I became disenchanted myself, but stuck with them although possibly going with my Dad to Fartown to watch the very successful Huddersfield Rugby League side of that period when Town were away. My father had a habit of ridiculing the 'spice ball laikers' of soccer and promoted the 'steamed pigs' of rugby league at all times.

Town began to slide down the table as they lost both the next two home games and had three successive away defeats. They lost 1-0 at home to Villa when the crowd dropped to around 20,000 and two weeks later lost 2-0 to Bolton with only 14,000 in attendance. They then beat Middlesborough 2-1 in a game when Albert Nightingale, who had been signed from Sheffield United, scored his first goal.

Nightingale achieved fame as possibly the first 'diver' in professional football. His habit of regularly falling down, whenever he was tackled was a regular talking point.
Many years later when the last match was played at Leeds Road, many ex-players were there and introduced individually to the crowd. When Nightingale was announced he ran onto the field and promptly fell down to great hilarity among the crowd.

Saturday 27th March 1948
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Burke, Pearson)

Mills; Hayes, Barker; Whittingham, Heppewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Glazzard, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Crompton; Carey (capt), Aston; Anderson, Chilton, Cockburn;
Deleaney, Morris, Burke, Pearson, Mitten;

Referee:- Mr A.C. Denham, Preston

Town, who won 2-1 at Blackburn yesterday (Good Friday) thanks to goals from
Bateman and Glazzard, never looked like scoring against the cup favourites. They were handicapped by injuries to Hepplewhite and Hayes, which left them struggling with ten men for long periods of the game. (No substitutes allowed in those days). After a hard game United were said to have left Leeds Road with five first teamers and two reserves all injured. One of the reserves, Ronnie Burke, who deputised for Rowley was to join Town for the following season.

Monday 29th March, 1948
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Bateman) BLACKBURN ROVERS 1 (Pryde)

Mills; Briggs, Barker; Whittingham, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Glazzard, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Hayhurst; Cook, Higgins; Whiteside, Pryde (capt), Bell;
Campbell, Crossan, McClelland, Murphy, Langton;

Referee;- Mr P. Snape, Swinton

A smallish bank holiday crowd turned out for this Easter Monday game, and got soaked (me included) by torrential rain in the first half, but dried out with hot sunshine in the second half.
Blackburn had a much changed side and the blackboard carried round the ground before the start scarcely had room for all the details.

One figure that did stand out was the balding figure of centre half and captain, Bob Pryde, who commanded the Rovers defence and was very strong in the air. A minute vefore the interval Bateman headed Town ahead, but they frittered many other chances.

Two minutes into the second half, Pryde came upfield for a corner and headed Rovers level. Town had been clearly superior in the first half, but struggled in the second. Reserve full back Briggs came in for the injured Hayes and although finding the England international winger Bobby Langton quite a handful, did quite well.

For some reason, perhaps due to the fact I was taking the eleven plus examination at school, I missed the home match with Arsenal, who were to be league champions, on the 10th April. Town did well to hold them to a 1-1 draw in front of the biggest crowd of the season - 38,596. The final home match I saw was a boring 0-0 draw with Stoke City in front of only 16,115 people.

So the season drew to an end with Town finishing eighteenth (out of 22). They were level with Sunderland on 26 points and only very narrowly ahead on goal average.
Blackburn on 32 and poor Grimsby only 22, were relegated with Grimsby never to be seen in the top division again.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Huddersfield Town 1947-48

Posted by Tony Hutton



                                     

Town started the season well with a goal-less draw at Derby and a home win (2-0) against Blackpool in midweek. The following Saturday they were at home to Portsmouth.

30th August 1947                  Attendance 25,415              

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 PORTSMOUTH 2 Barlow, Froggatt)

Hesford; Hayes, Barker: Green, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Butler; Rooke, Ferrier; Scoular, Flewin (capt), Dickinson;
Harris, Reid, Froggatt, Barlow, Parker;

Portsmouth had lost their first two games and experimentated with outside left Jack Froggatt at centre forward. Town's plans revolved around the inspiring leadership of Irish international Peter Doherty, who was largely responsible for them avoiding relegation last season. Only relegated Brentford and Leeds United finished below them.

The programme expressed the hope that Town could build a team around Doherty, just as happened many years ago when Clem Stephenson came to Leeds Road as a key man. Town's new manager this season is Mr George Stephenson, who was a much travelled player before the war but not quite as famous as his brother.

Portsmouth were the better side, but a piece of luck gave them the first goal after only two minutes, when a pass hit the referee in the Town penalty area and was diverted to Barlow who scored easily. Froggatt scored the second goal to clinch the points for Portsmouth.

Town were hustled and bustled out of their stride by a speedy Portsmouth side, but tempers began to fray on both sides and after centre half Hepplewhite had spent 15 minutes in the dressing room, due to an injury, the game degenerated into a very unpleasant exhibition!

This game was followed by two home wins, 3-1 against Chelsea and a resounding 5-1 thrashing of Grimsby, who were to end up relegated ( yes Grimsby were once a first division side!). Two home draws with Sunderland and Liverpool followed together with an amazing 5-1 away win at Bolton. Things seemed to be looking up, especially when Town drew 4-4 away from home with the very strong Manchester United.

Wednesday 10th September, 1947                      Attendance 20,145
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 5 (Doherty 2, Green, Glazzard, Whittingham)
GRIMSBY TOWN 1 (Briggs)

Dring; Hayes, Barker; Green, Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Tweedy; Sibley, Fisher; Galley, Blenkinsopp, Reeves;
Pearson, Burnett, Briggs, Cairns, Wardle;

                                                               Grimsby Town 1947-48

Town showed clear superiority throughout against a poor side. It was a good display showing nice directness and snappiness by the Town players which has been rarely equalled.
Raymond Dring, a Lincolnshire school teacher, showed good handling and positioning in goal and appears to have few serious faults. Town only led 3-1 with fifteen minutes remaining, but then goals by Glazzard and Whittingham emphasised their superiority. Grimsby looked a poor team which was confirmed at the end of the season when they were relegated.

Saturday 20th September, 1947                      Attendance 28,591
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 1 (Pye)

Dring; Hayes, Barker; Watson (A), Heppelwhite, Boot;
Whittingham, Glazzard, Price, Thompson, Metcalfe;

Williams; McLean, Pritchard; Crook, Brice, Borbes;
Hancocks, Pye, Westcott, Smythe, Mullen;

A poor game partially excused by the absence of both side's star players through injury. Peter Doherty
was missing for Town and Billy Wright for Wolves. Jesse Pye scored the only goal.


Saturday 4th October, 1947                            Attendance 24,298
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (Thompson, Metcalfe) SUNDERLAND 2 (Reynolds 2)
Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Watson (A), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham,Thompson, Metcalfe;

Mapson; Stelling, Hudgell; Scotson, Walsh, Wright;
Duns, Robinson, Davis, Watson (W), Reynolds;

Sunderland were well on top during the first half, with their left wing pair of  WillieWatson (up against his brother Albert) and Reynolds taking the eye. The cool, immaculate Watson kicks a football with as much thought as he make a cricket shot for Yorkshire. His wing partner, the diminutive Reynolds, who must be on the verge of an England appearance on this performance, scored both first half goals. The second, two minutes before half time, flew like lightning past Hesford's head. Half time 0-2.

Centre forward Davis missed two sitters, as Sunderland should have gone further ahead, but Metcalfe eventually found his way round full back Stelling to lay on a goal for reserve Thompson and then got the equaliser himself after sixty eight minutes. Indeed with the exception of wing half Wright and goalkeeper Mapson, the Sunderland defence really went to pieces in the second half. However overall they remained the better team and only Whittingham and Metcalfe matched their high standards. Pick of the town defence was steadily improving full back Barker who rarely puts a foot wrong.

Saturday 1st November 1947                       Attendance 22,028
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN O CHARLTON ATHLETIC 1 (Hayes o.g.)
Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Whittingham, Rodgers, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Bartram; Shreeve, Lock; Fenton, Phipps, Johnson;
Hurst, Lancelotte, Vaughan, McCrea, Revell;

Town were on top for most of the game but were thwarted by weak finishing and the powerful goalkeeping of Sam Bartra. Charlton took the points thanks to a Bill Hayes own goal in the last minute which marred an otherwise excellent performance. The full back tried a back pass to goalkeeper Hesford, but lobbed it over his head as he stood stranded several yards out of his goal.

Saturday 15th November, 1947              Attendance 27,506
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Bateman) PRESTON NORTH END 0
Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Heppelwhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzad, Whittingham, Doherty, Metcalfe;

Gooch; Grey, Scott; Shankly, Williams, Horton;
Finney, McLaren, McIntosh, Beattie, Anders;

Town returned to Leeds Road after a brilliant 4-4 draw last week with Manchester United at Maine Road, in front of a 60,000 crowd. Scorers were Glazzard, Doherty 2 (1 pen) and Bateman. After today's match Tom Finney left with his leg strapped up after a very hard game. Huddersfield won the points thanks to a Bateman goal just five minutes before the end. Despite a stiff wind, the game fulfilled expectations because all the players touched the heights of the three internations, Finney, McLaren and Doherty. However Stewart the Town reserve centre half, normally a full back, started shakily but finished confidently. He said his new position was easier than full back. Hayes who had his best game of the season and Leslie Smith, who continues to improve at right half, had a lot to do with breaking up North End's attacks. Both goalkeepers were outstanding - Gooch had more saves to make but Hesford saved his fourth penalty of the season, not only saving Shankley's kick but McLaren's shot from the rebound.



Saturday 29th November, 1947                                   Attendance 21,915
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (Whittingham, Doherty)  SHEFFIELD UNITED 1
(Jackson)
Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Smith; Furniss, Cox; Jackson, Latham, Forbes;
Rickett, Nightingale, Whitelum, Hagan (capt), Coop;

Referee:- Mr A Meadows (Redcar)

Town should have won by a bigger margin as United's defence, particularly on the left and at centre half, was not as good as last season. Apart from Forbes and goalscorer Jackson (the wing halves), they looked a poor side and their best player Hagan had an off day. Town were strong in defence and approach but woefully weak near goal. Doherty took a Metcalfe pass and created a goal for Whittingham before scoring the winner from a flashing centre by Bateman, who had his best game of the season.

Saturday 27th December 1947                     Attendance 32,634
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Whittingham) MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Black)

Hesford; Hayes, Barker; Smith (L), Hepplewhite, Boot;
Bateman, Glazzard, Whittingham, Doherty (capt), Metcalfe;

Swift; Sproston, Westwood; Walsh, Fagan, Emptage;
Linacre, Black, McMorran, Smith, Clarke;

Referee: Mr S.N. Roberts (Liverpool)

This game was played just twenty four hours after yesterday's 1-1 draw at Maine Rd.
The year came to an end with no immediate threat of relegation for Town, thanks largely to the £10,000 invested in the purchase of Doherty a year ago. However Black gave City the lead after only eight minutes and City's wing halves and inside fowards kept the ball on the ground in the high wind. They tackled fiercely and used the ball astutely. Sproston used his head, to save his legs, with good positional play keeping Metcalfe under control. A good defence was completed by the inimitable Frank Swift, England's goalkeeper and powerful left back Westwood.
Town were more hesitant and less accurate, but they would not give up on a bitterly cold, windy and rainy day and deserved marks for that. Whittingham, who headed the equaliser two minutes from the end in the grand Tommy Lawton manner, like Doherty has earned his transfer fee many times over. Town are more pleased with the form of young right half Leslie Smith, at the moment the most improved player in Yorkshire.

The rest of season 1947-48 will be reviewed in my next blog.

Hot news - my youngest grandson, Neil who is six, wrote an account of Derby County's recent game for his homework the other day. Another blogger in the making.












Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Manchester United v Charlton 7.2.48

Posted by Tony Hutton

SATURDAY 7th FEBRUARY 1948 - F.A.CUP FIFTH ROUND
(PLAYED AT LEEDS ROAD, HUDDERSFIELD) - Attendance 33,312

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Warner, Mitten) CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0

Manchester Utd - Crompton; Carey, Aston; Warner, Chilton, Cockburn;
Delaney, Morris, Rowley, Pearson, Mitten;

Charlton - Bartram; Campbell, Lock; Johnson, Bicknell, Revell;
Hurst, Fenton, Vaughan, McCrea, Duffy;









As both Manchester clubs had been drawn at home and were sharing the Maine Road ground due to wartime bomb damage at Old Trafford, the tie was moved to Huddersfield, thus enabling the unfortunate Town supporters to see two top class teams.

United had already beaten Aston Villa 6-4 away in an epic third round tie and then Liverpool, at home, 3-0 in the fourth round. The cup holders Charlton, who had beaten Burnley 1-0 in last year's final, were never really in with a chance of progressing further this time.

Little was seen of last year's Wembley hero and goalscorer Chris Duffy who was played out if the game by the immaculate John Carey.

Sam Bartram in the Charlton goal saved his side from a heavier defeat. On a muddy ground United played football of a type seldom seen in this competition. They played superbly as a team and their fast forwards and supporting wing halves overwhelmed Charlton.

The handwriting below this picture is my own, at age 11. My web designer and technical adviser is the same age and thinks his handwriting is better. His teachers may disagree!


Bartram was unlucky when Warner's 25 yard drive was deflected out of his reach and again he had no chance when Delaney on the right sent over a fast low centre which Mitten, cutting in from the left wing, headed like a bullet into the net.

United have put together a formidable team with an international flavour. Apart from their Irish captain, Carey,  Warner is a Welshman and Jimmy Delaney the Scotsman from Glasgow Celtic also looks a useful acquisition. In addition all the other United forwards must be candidates for England honours in the not too distant future.

This was how I remember it, with some help from newspaper accounts of the time. It was of course significant that United went on to win the cup, beating Blackpool 4-2 in an eventful final at Wembly, thus gaining their first trophy of the Busby era.

                    Harry Johnston of Blackpool greets John Carey at Wembley 1948.                    


Twenty years later, Busby was still there and at some future date I will publish my account of the greatest night in his career when United became the first English side to win the European Cup.

This game left a lasting impression on me and over sixty five years later I can still reel off the Manchester United team without any hesitation!



Monday, 23 February 2015

Battles against relegation 1946-1949

Posted by Tony Hutton

I have only a few fleeting memories of my very first match at Elland Road in September 1946. I know I went with my Grandad and he must have pushed me through the crowd to the front so that I could see. Leeds United were resplendent in their blue and gold quartered shirts and Sheffield United were in traditional red and white stripes.

As far as the players were concerned I can remember a lively red haired wing half for Sheffield United being involved in the thick of the action. This was Alex Forbes, later to find fame with Arsenal and Scotland. For Leeds the man who stood out was burly, balding centre half Tom Holley, who later became a sports journalist with the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw in front of a crowd of 27,500 and one of the goalscorers for the visitors was Albert Nightingale, who I was soon to be watching perform for Huddersfield Town. Although this was a first division game, Leeds United were to have a poor season and ended up being relegated along with Brentford. Sheffield United, who were missing their star player Jimmy Hagan for this match, were themselves relegated two seasons later.


However, within months I was living at Lascelles Hall, a small village on the outskirts of Huddersfield, more famous for it's cricketing history than anything else. Unfortunately, after seeing my first Huddersfield Town game against Preston North End on 16.11.46 (which Town won 3-0), we were hit by the worst winter in living memory. The next game I saw was not until 17.5.47, when Town again won 3-1 against Middlesborough, while clearing away the backlog of fixtures due to the very heavy snowfalls. So it was not until season 1947-48 that, with a group of new found friends, I soon became a regular at Huddersfield Town's Leeds Road ground, standing behind the goal, on the uncovered terrace below the half time scoreboard.


The journey to the ground which became a regular ritual for the next two seasons started with a walk down the steep hill from Lascelles Hall to the trolleybus terminus at Waterloo. Then a short ride to Moldgreen and another walk past the Dalton cricket ground, pausing to watch the action during early and late season, and then another steep descent down Kilner Bank to the ground. So coming home after a poor game (and there were plenty of those) and in poor weather was literally an uphill struggle.

We always got there early to join the throng of autograph hunters on the wide expanse of pavement outside the ground. Many of the home team players were young men and would slip into the players' entrance unnoticed, but when the visitors' coach arrived everyone would spot the big name players who we had seen pictures of in the football magazines. Remember no television in those days.

Some of the players I remember being more extrovert, like Trevor Ford, the Aston Villa and Wales centre forward, who always wore a camel hair overcoat and looked like a film star. Peter McKennan, the Middlesborough player, was another extrovert always surrounded by a group of admirers and willing to sign autographs. The highlight was probably the last match of Frank Swift, the famous England goalkeeper,  who left the ground in a Manchester City Supporters Club coach bedecked with flags and a banner which read, 'Manchester City, England Great Britain thanks you'. In fact it turned out not to be his last match as due to an injury crisis he was actually recalled briefly at the start of the following season.

                                     

Like Swift, Billy Wright of Wolves was a member of the all-conquering England side of those immediate post-war years. When his club won the F.A. Cup in 1948-49 they came to Huddersfield for a mid-week match and Wright appeared with the cup in a battered old wood box and allowed all of us small boys the thrill of being able to touch the cup. Today you would have to pay the appropriate fee to the sponsors to be photographed with the cup before you got anywhere near it.

During the three seasons I watched them Huddersfield Town were perennial strugglers against relegation from the First Division, which they had famously won three seasons in a row in 1924, 1925 and 1926. They had one of the largest grounds in the league, which had attracted a record crowd of 67,037 for a game with Arsenal in 1932. The huge open terrace, opposite the main stand, was perhaps not quite as big as the one at the Valley, Charlton but not far off. The 1950-51 Playfair football annual showed a picture of this large terrace nearly empty, due to dreadful weather, for a game with Chelsea.


Now times had changed and the men in the famous blue and white stripes clung onto their first division status by the skin of their teeth. The man who kept them up during those three season was Irish international, Peter Doherty. He had been a big name player with Manchester City before the war and with Derby County in their cup winning side of 1945-46. His one man crusade, surrounded by players of lesser abilities, was always something of a struggle. He seemed to take all the free kicks, penalties and throws in and it very often didn't work. In other words he seemed to be trying too hard. However he deserved credit for bringing on some of the youngsters around him, notably left wing partnerVic Metcalfe, who went on to play for England. After leaving Town, Doherty became a successful player-manager with Doncaster Rovers. I still have a copy of his autobiography, which I remember my father queued for some time to get, a reflection of his popularity in Huddersfield.

Perhaps because of this lack of success, even at such a young age, I took a somewhat detached view. I did not become a blinkered fanatical supporter, but appreciated more the visiting sides and the quality of their play, thus starting the habit of a lifetime of being for the most part a somewhat neutral observer.

What struck me most from my spot behind the goal were the goalkeepers, who all appeared to me to be old men. They all wore green polo neck sweaters, long shorts and huge boots. Men like George Swindin of Arsenal, Joe Rutherford of Villa, George Marks of Blackburn, Joe Robinson of Blackpool, Stan Hanson of Bolton and particularly Ted Sagar of Everton, who had played in a cup winning side in the early 1930s, alongside the legendary Dixie Dean, all seemed absolutely ancient.

My most vivid memory of those times is not of a Huddersfield Town game, but a cup tie which took place at the Leeds Road ground in February 1948, which I will report in my next blog.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

In the beginning

Posted by Tony Hutton        Website designed by Sam Hutton

The first football match I remember was the 1946 F.A. cup final between Derby County and Charlton Athletic at Wembley. I saw the newsreel coverage, in black and white, at the local Saturday morning cinema show for children. Derby won 4-1 and most of the publicity surrounded the fact that the ball burst and Charlton's Bert Turner scored for both sides. Many years later I obtained a programme for this match.

                                     Derby County 1946


The Derby County players in the picture above are back row:- Jim Bullions, Jack Nicholas (capt), Vic Woodley, Leon Leuty, Jack Howe and Chick Musson.
Front row:- Reg Harrison, Raich Carter, Jack Stamps, Peter Doherty and Dally Duncan

I was hooked on football from the age of nine, when my maternal grandfather, James Matthew Cowan, took me to Elland Road, as the first season of league football after World War Two got underway. Leeds United were playing Sheffield United on the 7th September 1946. A few days later I persuaded my mother to buy me the Sunday Chronicle Football Annual for 1946-47 from a stall in Leeds Market. I still have it today, minus the covers, and I think it probably cost about a shilling. My mother, still struggling with post-war austerity and shortages seemed to think this was the height of extravagance. I still remember her words, 'are you sure you really want this'.


I read and re-read the small print of this excellent publication, taking in the milestones of soccer history, the lists of league champions and cup winners over the years. The catalogue of international players for the four home countries, the match details of the previous season's F.A. Cup, the only time it was played on a two legged basis and of course the fixtures for the coming season. It started me off on a collection of sports annuals and books which continues to grow almost seventy years later

        Charlton got their revenge and won the cup in 1947, Chris Duffy scoring the only goal of the game.



However, although Leeds was the city of my birth, I did not stick with them throughout my thirty odd years of obsession with the game, although I was to return in the mid-seventies, towards the end of the Revie era, which was the most successful period in their history.

Soon after seeing that first match my father moved the family to Huddersfield and for the next three years I became a regular at Huddersfield Town, then a struggling First Division team. My father, a local government officer, then took a rather drastic step as far as I was concerned, of moving to a job in Birmingham. Although I had not built up any strong affection for Huddersfield Town, any more than I had for Leeds United, it was a considerable culture shock to move to a rugby union playing school in Walsall, where they spoke a very different Black Country language.

I was immediately christened 'utton from 'uddersfield and it took me some time to become assimilated as my Yorkshire accent gradually changed to the local dialect. The only plus point of this upheaval was the number of soccer teams in the Birmingham area. For the next 18 years I did the rounds of Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves and Walsall, building an affection for them all at different periods, without becoming a lifetime supporter of any of them.

This Midlands period was also eventful for several visits to Wembley. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the 1955 Cup Final, as the amateur club for which I was playing got two tickets and a draw was made, one for current players and one for former players. Luckily my name came out. I was even more fortunate to get a ticket for the World Cup Final in 1966 and the European Cup Final of 1968. These big games will be covered later in the match accounts I wrote at the time.

Whereas my previous moves could be blamed on my father, the next twist in the tale was down to my own desire to return to my native Yorkshire, mainly due to my other sporting obsession - Yorkshire county cricket club. I got a transfer by my employer to Bradford which didn't work out and ended up working in Sheffield, but living in Derbyshire. Here I became involved with two clubs who were both about to enter the greatest periods in their history, Derby County, then a Second Division team, and non-league Matlock Town.

Eventually I moved again into Sheffield and unusually watched both United and Wednesday, although this was encouraged by winning a father and son competition in the Sheffield Star newspaper for two free season tickets at Bramall Lane. This meant that however badly they played, we still turned up at every game as it was free! Although my son, Peter, was only seven at the time of this first change of allegiance for him, he has remained faithful to his original club Derby County to this day.

The final move of my business career came in 1975 when I went back to square one in Leeds, where it all started and father and son became season ticket holders at Elland Road for three seasons as Revie's great team came to the end of the road. By this time my son was a teenager and keen to join his pals on the Kop before progressing to the press box and the commentary box in due course.

So finally a combination of factors left me a rather disillusioned forty odd year old who got fed up of going to games, although I still watched on television. The excitement, enjoyment, the anticipation of each week's game had gone. The first sign of old age I suppose, but the game wasn't as good, crowd behaviour was considerably worse, the whole atmosphere had changed. What was once good natured banter between home and away fans became tribal warfare with many people just going to show hatred and contempt for the opposition. The wall of silence which now greets any goal for the visiting side, whether it is the goal of the season or the goal of the century, was not for me.

Rugby League took the place of soccer for the next twenty years until Rupert Murdoch changed it into a summer sport, which then clashed with my greater love of cricket. So in the winter months, I am now a couch potato, but with great memories, which have not dimmed with the years. I hope to bring back some of them over the next few months. This will be a story of eleven teams, with which I had brief affairs and more importantly to record the names of so many forgotten heroes who once lit up those winter Saturday afternoons, long before every move was analysed over and over again by panels of so called 'experts'. You used to have one glimpse of those magical, skilfull and sometimes humorous moments, which stick in the mind forever.

I hope you will enjoy joining me on my journey.