Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A

The Legend that is Eddie Cavanagh

By Graham Weigh :  23/12/2007 :  Comments (7) :

Having just returned from Old Trafford with my son, who for my sin of trading in my first wife for a younger sexier model , was brought up without the benefit of a Blue education. Hence he has 2 season tickets for MU one of which I blag once a year.

On the return journey I was reminiscing the away day pleasures of the Latchford era. I was fortunate enough to befriend Big Bob and played a lot of squash with him at the Kirkby Leisure Centre. Collisions on the squash court with "the Man" made me realise what some of the opposing central defenders suffered at his hands!!

Bob would always fix us up with tickets for away games and so, along with my Uncle George, we traveled the length and breadth of the country for 3-4 seasons and had a great time, always getting passes into the players' lounges after both home and away games. George was a driver for British Steel and regularly made detours in his 8-wheeler to help players move home, deliver a shed etc. etc. Happy times...

I opened my bike shop in 1978 and after that could only manage midweek games for 20 years but, just as Mike Walker was departing, I sold up and am now happy again .

Anyway enough of the preamble, let's get down to the story. Everyone knows who Eddie is, they may not know him but everyone has seen Eddie shimmy out of his jacket to elude the copper on the Wembley turf in celebration of the goal in 1966. I met Eddie on an awayday in the 70s and by virtue of attending all the games and being in the then 500 club, found myself in his company along with Big Tony [did he ever go to live in Jersey?] and Mally.

By virtue of our success in the previous season we found ourselves playing Internazionale in Milan. Eddie was the steward on our bus from the airport, the plane we went on landed at the out-of-town airport [Malpensa] so we had a bit of a drive into town. We arrived mid afternoon and, after being dropped of at the Plaza del d'Uomo by the Cathedral, we had a wander round and bought a few souvenirs etc. .before heading out to the San Siro.

The game is a bit of a blur now, 30 years on, but I recall the hard concrete seats and Latch hitting the bar .

We headed back to the coaches, dejected but having enjoyed the day out, it was then that the Tifosi decided that their win was not decisive enough and decided to attack us. We made it to our coach but the traffic meant we just became a target for every bit of loose rubble lying handy, the windows in the coach didn't last long and we soon felt like the proverbial fish in a barrel. Eddie as coach steward decided to take matters into his own hands whilst we [I am eternally ashamed to admit in the face of being vastly outnumbered] cowered under our coats.

He ripped of his jacket in shades of 1966 and in white shirt sleeves jumped down from the bus shouting "come on, let's be 'aving you Itie bastards, try me, come on!' The sight of Eddie's scarred bald head and snarling teeth [the few he still had] did the trick, he ran at them and to our amazement, the crowd backed off and the whole incident blew over. We froze our way back to the airport in our open-sided charabanc and were rewarded by bumping into the team in the departure lounge as their plane was leaving just before ours .

The whole incident was etched onto the memory of everyone on the coach and I am surprised I have never read an account of the heroism of our talisman. Eddie was truly made of the stuff that in different circumstances would have won him a VC .

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 25/12/2007 at 18:46:24

Report abuse

Thanks for those memories of a time gone by, George. As it says near the ned of this ToffeeWeb piece on the great man himself he died eight years ago.
Tom Hughes
2   Posted 25/12/2007 at 22:08:51

Report abuse

Got the official history dvd off the kids. Watched it straight away in between building endless toys. The bit showing Eddie Cavanagh brought a smile to my face..... as it always did in the original history released in the 80’s. A poignant moment! One of many shown in the dvd.... Alan Ball is shown in all his pomp in Royal blue, and more recently in an interview proclaiming his allegiance, it nearly choked this soft get! Some things are forever, just like Eddie’s elation!
Peter Sosnowy
3   Posted 26/12/2007 at 10:47:31

Report abuse

What indeed a great story, true history,and a wonderful chap.
Sean Allinson
4   Posted 26/12/2007 at 12:18:55

Report abuse

Sorry to be a pedant, but it was AC Milan. We haven?t played Inter since Colin Harvey made his debut in the sixties.

Great story about a great character though.
Tommy Banks
5   Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:30:15

Report abuse

Graham Eddies boy lived in Jersey for a few years and met Eddie a few times in the famous scouse boozer the Cambridge bars. We had some great nights with Eddie and all the other blues over there. You mention big Tony moving over there, remmeber a big Tony, but he was a red, might be getting him confused. Eddie past away and we travelled over from Jersey to the funeral. True legend and what a funny man
Bernie OKeeffe
6   Posted 27/12/2007 at 14:18:12

Report abuse

When he was interviewed by Rogan Taylor, he purposely kept calling him Rodent.
Andrea Cavanagh
7   Posted 18/05/2008 at 18:27:07

Report abuse

Hello, I'm Eddie Cavanagh's daughter and I have recently found this site and read some of the remarkable things that people have been saying about my dad. I have also very recently come across some autographed pictures that have been dedicated to him from players such as Colin Harvey and Jeff Hurst; I am very proud of him. Thanks everyone! Andrea

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to Column articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.