Continuing the theme of visiting players who have made an impression on me over the years, through ability, attitude, or sportsmanship.

Outside Right: Alan Woodward; Sheffield United.

A long-serving winger, Woodward played nearly 550 games for his only club, and broke the Sheffield United record in scoring 158 goals before finishing in 1978-79. Joining Sheffield United as an apprentice in September 1963, strongly built and difficult to shake off the ball, he went on to become a regular. He was sorely missed as the club slipped conspicuously towards the Fourth Division. In his prime, Woodward was honoured in representing the Football League, to supplement England youth honours achieved at an early age.

Inside Right: Peter Dobing; Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City & Stoke City

Dobing enjoyed instant success on his debut for Blackburn Rovers when 17 years old, soon putting his name at the top of their Second Division goal-scoring charts. Building up a great partnership with the brilliant Bryan Douglas, he helped Rovers back into the Big Time in 1957-58. He gained England Under-23 honours which were followed by representing the Football League, before joining Manchester City in July 1961.

Although being a Man City fan in his younger days, he never really settled, eventually signing for Stoke City in 1963. He spent 10 happy years at the Victoria Ground, culminating in gaining a Football League Cup Winner's medal when Stoke beat Chelsea in 1971-72.

Centre Forward: Bobby Smith; Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, and England

Smith was one of the first youngsters produced from Chelsea's newly formed youth team, signing for the Pensioners in May 1950, and reckoned by many at the time to be England's greatest centre-forward discovery.

Somehow, he lost his way at Stamford Bridge after a terrific start in League Soccer, becoming overweight and sluggish, and he was transferred to Spurs for £18,000 in December 1955. There, he transformed into a slimline, bustling, brave, goal-grabber of the highest order, scoring 28 League goals in their Double season, and also playing for England on 15 occasions, netting 13 times.

He scored in both FA Cup victories, but seemed to lose the goal touch temporarily until being recalled in 1963-64 by club and country, before finishing at Brighton.

Inside Left: Alan Clarke; Walsall, Fulham, Leicester City, Leeds United, Barnsley and England.

One of five brothers who all played football, Alan was the outstanding member of the family. He started out as a youngster with Walsall, and was snapped by Fulham in March 1966 for £33,000.

In June 1968, he moved to Leicester City for £100,000, and a year later, Leeds United enticed the elegant striker to Elland Road for only £165,000 after he had gained an FA Cup loser's medal for Leicester City against Manchester City. He won a Championship medal in 1973-74 and scored the only goal against Arsenal in 1972 when collecting an FA Cup Winner's medal.

An outstanding forward who played 19 times for England, he forged a brilliant double spearhead at Leeds with Mick Jones. He went on to football Management with barnsley and his old club Leeds United.

Outside Left: Leighton James; Burnley, Derby County, Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City, Sunderland & Wales.

A brilliant outside left, James was quite capable of scoring invaluable goals as well as setting up chances for others. One of Burnley's discoveries, he signed for the club following schoolboy international honours which were supplemented by more than 50 full caps.

He was allowed to leave Turf Moor for Derby County in October 1975, helping the Clarets balance the books once again by selling rather than buying. He never really settled at the Baseball Ground, moving to Queens Park Rangers, and back again to Burnley, before going home to Wales with Swansea City, where he was a major influence in helping John Toshack's side to the First Division for the first time in the club's history. He signed for Sunderland on a free transfer in January 1983.


Reader Comments (60)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:24:16
Combined with the defensive players you nominated a few weeks ago, that is quite a team you have put together, John. Silk and steel.

Those two wingers would be a centre-forward's dream.

John McFarlane Snr
2 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:31:08
Hi Peter,

I was beginning to think that there would be no response to my contribution, there is never a good time to place this kind of article as there's so much going on. I do however believe that 'Lads' of a certain age can gain some pleasure from reading about players of yesteryear.

Some although not exactly household names will bring back memories of a different era. You will know that I'm not a stats or formation lover, I'm more of a nostalgic Dinosaur reliving the days when Danny Blanchflower described football as 'The Beautiful Game'.

Jay Harris
3 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:51:08
Sir John,

Reminiscing is always a beautiful thing.

I remember them all and, as you say, they were very talented players.

I never liked Leeds and consequently didn't like Alan Clarke but there was no doubting his ability. Wasn't he nicknamed "Sniffer" or am I thinking of someone else?

John McFarlane Snr
4 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:31:26
Hi Jay, [3] I don't think that many football supporters liked Don Revie's Leeds United for their cynical and in some instances downright thuggery, but there is no disputing the fact that they had some outstanding players, and you are correct in saying that Alan Clarke was nicknamed 'Sniffer' because of his ability to sniff out a goalscoring chance. I've just checked his League record and it reads as follows:

Walsall – 41 goals in 72 games.
Fulham – 45 goals in 85 games.
Leicester City – 12 goals in 36 games.
Leeds United – 110 goals in 270 games.
Barnsley – 15 goals in 47 games.

A total of 223 goals in 510 games.

Colin Glassar
5 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:42:45
Leeds could certainly hand it out with the likes of Hunter, Bremner, Charlton, Giles etc... but, when they wanted to play football, they were bloody good.

I hated them, and their fans, but secretly admired some of their play and drive. Reaney, Madely, Clarke, Giles, Lorimer, Gray were great players.

Dennis Stevens
6 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:55:28
I remember that Cup Final, only the third one I'd watched. It was the one when Mick Jones got injured near the end, I think(?).
John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 24/02/2020 at 22:45:07
Hi Colin [5],

My intention in selecting the players featured was to give a mention to the less publicised, but nonetheless talented forwards of their day.

Alan Woodward, a direct right-winger of the highest calibre, and a one-club man; Peter Dobing, a skilful inside forward; Bobby Smith, a powerful centre-forward of the old school; and Leighton James, another fine winger. They, along with countless others, have down the years given me a great deal of pleasure.

It's so easy to laud over the likes of George Best, etc, but I just felt that the above players deserved some recognition. To some, they will be names only but, to me and my generation, they were players we could relate to.

Hi Dennis [6],

Yes, Mick Jones did get injured toward the end of the FA Cup Final that you refer to and, if my memory serves me right, he actually laid on the pass that enabled Alan Clarke to grab the winner, scoring against Geoff Barnett, the ex-Everton keeper.

Brian Wilkinson
8 Posted 28/02/2020 at 16:40:48
Some good players there John, a little bit more modern, one player for me who never seemed to get the plaudits as some other players was Steve Bull of Wolves.
Chris Williams
9 Posted 28/02/2020 at 17:04:01
John

I think Bobby Smith might have scored the odd goal against us in one particular infamous game!

Brent Stephens
10 Posted 28/02/2020 at 17:26:55
Chris, was that when we scored a massive four goals?!
Chris Williams
11 Posted 28/02/2020 at 17:49:34
It was Brent,,

Jimmy Harris 3 and Bobby Collins. Fancy getting a hat trick in that match. I reckon Smith had 4, from memory.

It might have been Bill Nicholson’s first match as Spurs Manager, but couldn’t swear to it. He won the double a couple of years later. Showed early promise!

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 28/02/2020 at 18:01:17
4 it was, Chris. And yes I think it was Nicholson's first game as Spurs manager.
Chris Williams
13 Posted 28/02/2020 at 18:15:03
I was at Goodison watching the reserves (in the main stand for some reason). Waiting for the first team score to go up on the wall, where the alphabet was painted. Sat there for ages, not knowing what X 4 meant until I was told by the steward.

Highway Patrol all day Monday in school. Even the bloody teachers, and they were priests!

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 28/02/2020 at 18:24:36
Chris would you remember a game at GP in the early sixties I think against Spurs when the fog was so thick you could hardly see what was going on in the other half of the pitch? I was at the Park End at the time.
Chris Williams
15 Posted 28/02/2020 at 18:32:09
I was there Brent(although fog was not a rare occurrence!)

If the score was 1 3 it was Alex Young’s debut possibly. Was it a night match for some reason? I was with my Dad, if it was, and his debut was delayed. I think he may have been out for a bit after that too. But again couldn’t swear to it, which is the story of my life these days.

I envy Dave A his good memory.

John McFarlane Snr
16 Posted 28/02/2020 at 18:58:40
Hi Brian [8], you're absolutely correct regarding Steve Bull. I think that he's Wolverhampton Wanderers' 'Dixie Dean'. I wouldn't put money on it, but I think they have a Steve Bull stand.

Hi Chris [9] and Brent [13], I was in Cyprus, serving with the Army at that time. It's a date that is embossed on my mind, 11 October 1958. We were billeted in tents and I was visited by 90% of the camp, football fans and non-fans alike. My abiding memory of the that day is, that when the scoreline was read out, the presenter said "Tottenham Hotspur 10 - Everton 4, I will repeat that".

I have no knowledge of the scorers for Spurs, but you are correct in saying that the game was Bill Nicholson's first game in charge of Spurs. Incidentally, another date that burns a hole in my mind is 29 January 1955, an FA Cup game, Everton 0 Liverpool 4. Liverpool were in the Second Division at the time, and it was their first away victory.

Brent Stephens
17 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:10:34
Chris, the game I was thinking of was a Saturday afternoon. I arrived late due to a bus detour and the fog was so bad I asked the guy next to me if the floodlights were off. He assured me they were on. The game would never be played these days.
Brian Harrison
18 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:24:43
John McFarlane Snr

You mentioned in post 2 a player I consider to be the best club captain I ever saw namely Danny Blanchflower. I read a few years ago that when Danny was on international duty playing against Italy, they had a player and I can't remember his name who used to shoot from outside the box at free-kicks.

Blanchflower knew this so, when Italy got a free-kick outside the box, Blanchflower got his teammates to form a wall, which nobody had ever done before. Completely baffled the Italian who didn't pose a threat for the rest of the game.

Can you imagine any of today's players coming up with something like that? And he was held in such respect when he first did it, his teammates didn't argue, they just followed his instructions. He never did it in training before the game, maybe he thought if he mentioned it, the manager wouldn't let him do it.

Chris Williams
19 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:27:38
Brent,

I looked it up on Everton Results. It was a Saturday afternoon. The fog must have been bad!.

We lost 3-1 and Wiggie scored for us. If it’s the same match the only thing I remember from Young was a header from about 10 yards, after one of those lovely soaring leaps. It went over the bar and he probably should have scored. We were watching from the Paddock, at the Street End, so probably second half.

The fog is a strong memory of that game so must have been bad.

I used to like it when it snowed, and they sometimes rolled it and played on it. Blue markings and a bright orange ball, like a Frido.

John McFarlane Snr
20 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:27:54
Hi again Brent [17],

I've just checked and the game took place on Saturday 17 December 1960. Alex signed for Everton in November but his debut was delayed until that match. You may recall that he had problems with blistered feet, it was reported that he had special boots made by Dunlop's at their Rice Lane factory. As Chris states, fog during the winter months was not uncommon.

Brent Stephens
21 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:31:23
Thank you, John. I remember all sorts of remedies being suggested for Alex’s blisters. I suffered from the same problem myself early season. My other problem was scoring goals!
Chris Williams
22 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:31:47
My wife used to work in the office at Dunlop’s Footwear, over the road from Walton Hospital, when we were engaged. That was later on though.
Bill Watson
23 Posted 28/02/2020 at 19:45:46
I think Young's debut may also have been delayed by National Service but may be wrong.

I was a paper boy for a RS newsagent (I also had three Liverpool players on my round) and, in the days before mass communications, arrived to collect my papers, just after 5pm, not knowing what the scores were.

Tom, the newsagent, greeted me with the news that Jimmy Harris had scored a hat trick, followed by. but Smith got four!

What a great side that late 1950s, early '60s, Blackburn one was (as were their neighbours, Burnley). Sadly, this wouldn't happen today as their players would be enticed away by, so called, big clubs.

Thanks John; some good memories, there.

John McFarlane Snr
24 Posted 28/02/2020 at 20:05:09
Hi Brian [18],I may be a little biased in my selection of inspirational captain's but my choice is Peter Farrell, he covered every inch of ground in the Everton cause, the perfect illustration of 'Leading By Example'. Of course I was only 10 years old when he came into my life, and I firmly believe that the first love is the best. .

Hi once more Brent {21], you think that you had problems... My Brother Tommy who will be 87 in April, once said to me, "You have a football brain but unfortunately it hasn't reached your feet."


Andy Crooks
25 Posted 28/02/2020 at 20:16:51
John, good stuff. The players you talk about are ones I had football cards of. I think that sniffer Clarke was one of the finest and most underrated strikers I have ever seen.

Got to disagree about Leighton James. One of the few players whose unquestioned ability was negated by his utter loathsomeness.

Peter Mills
26 Posted 28/02/2020 at 20:27:40
Andy, I always enjoy your take on things – why the downer on Leighton James?
David Currie
27 Posted 29/02/2020 at 05:01:34
John Mc Snr,

My Grandparents were season ticket holders at Burnley and were big fans of Leighton James. I think he made his debut at 18 and went on to have a good career.

When he retired from being a pro, he became player-manager of a semi-pro club Burnley United. They played against Nelson FC and I had the job of marking him for 90 minutes, he never got passed me once.

I cannot be big-headed though as I was about 27 and think he was probably 10-12 years older. Even then, he was so quick over the first few yards and was probably the best player I ever played against and luckily the best I played with.

After the game in the dressing room I was approached by the Nelson manager and he told me that James was waiting outside for me and wanted to sign me.

It was a great experience playing with a Burnley legend and he was a great guy even though he gave me lots of stick for being an Everton fan born in Burnley. I really enjoy reading your Treasured Memories of players, John, and wish you all the best.

John McFarlane Snr
28 Posted 29/02/2020 at 10:35:56
Hi David [27] I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the latest offering of 'Treasured Memories of a bygone age' and the others that preceded it. As a one-finger operator the task is a bit arduous, but worthwhile when people like yourself express pleasure from reading the treads. I have made no secret of the fact that I gain my information from reference books, but I only feature players that I have seen play.

I suppose that some may think that the past is boring, but I try in my own way to stir dormant memories in those of my age group, and to give younger readers an insight into the game as we knew it. I felt sure that this thread had died a death when only 7 people had responded in the first couple of days, but the sudden surge gives me hope that I can produce another couple of threads.

Your story is interesting because you have had first-hand knowledge and involvement, another [regular] poster Christy Ring is related to Tommy Ring and, although Tommy only played 27 games for Everton, I rate him as the finest winger I have seen wearing the blue shirt, in my 70 plus years attending games at Goodison.

Dave Williams
29 Posted 29/02/2020 at 10:43:05
James was a very good winger on his day but I remember the fearsome Tommy Smith saying that when he played full back against James he would have a quiet word in his ear before kick off and James wouldn't go near him all game!

Mind you I don't blame him. We used to go to Smiths club in Castle Circus at lunchtime - Castle Gate?? - and he would often be working behind the bar. Up close he was almost square in shape, was three times the width of us combined and despite his friendly greeting none of us would have risked any banter. It would have been a scary experience to be directly against him on the pitch.

Very enjoyable, John!

Ray Roche
30 Posted 29/02/2020 at 11:27:59
Yet another good read from John Snr. Names from the past that dredge up long-forgotten memories.

I wonder if you saw the documentary on the incomparable Jimmy Greaves last week? I haven't watched it yet myself, I'm waiting for the right time and will watch it with a glass of red! What a player!

Don't despair, John Snr, if there is not an immediate response to your recollections, lots of lads will read and enjoy your articles but not post a reply, it doesn't mean that they've not been read and enjoyed.

John P McFarlane
31 Posted 29/02/2020 at 11:34:31
John - Alan Woodward played for the Blades in my first ever visit to Goodison Park a match which Everton won 2-1 thanks to Mike Lyons and Joe Harper - if I had known then that the Toffees would demand so much from me over the years, I may not have let you take me to that game.

You mentioned our (Late) mutual friend JT on the other thread and it reminded me of an Everton encounter against Bristol City not sure whether it was at Goodison or Ashton Gate. Anyway most in our company were very impressed by their full back and were predicting great things for him. A quick check as to who the mystery player was, revealed the player did indeed have a great career, but Terry Cooper's best years were behind him. As for Leeds they still annoy me now, not because they were dirty per se but rather that they had so much skill in every department and they didn't really need to stoop to the low levels of behaviour that they often displayed.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 29/02/2020 at 11:53:18
John Snr, as Ray #30 says "If there is not an immediate response to your recollections, lots of lads will read and enjoy your articles but not post a reply, it doesn't mean that they've not been read and enjoyed."

Absolutely! Lots of stuff I read and enjoy but don't post on. I suspect you'll get most of the posts from people who attended matches in the time period you're writing about – and that's a dwindling cohort (The Everton Pensioners! Ray "Crutches" Roche, Brent "No Knees" Stephens, etc). Then there's the stuff in your article which was a bit before my time but it's still great to read. I'm sure there'll be other Blues not around during the 60s or 70s but who'll still be interested in the read.

More power to your quill!

Dave Williams
33 Posted 29/02/2020 at 12:57:10
John #28. I can only endorse what Brent and Ray have said. I think your posts are great and love reading them, keep it going!
Andy Crooks
34 Posted 29/02/2020 at 13:00:51
Pete, as a kid, Leighton James was the player I detested. He was ahead of his time in diving and cheating. Narking constantly at referees, the opposition, his teammates and home and away supporters. It was always someone else's fault with Leighton.

Also, I didn't like the look of him.

Peter Mills
35 Posted 29/02/2020 at 13:47:45
Perfectly valid reasoning, Andy, especially the final sentence!

Hope all is well and you get over here before too long.

Don Alexander
36 Posted 29/02/2020 at 14:09:46
Keep 'em coming John!

Another Spurs player I used to rate was Alan Gilzean. The guy looked like a bank manager but was the silent partner with both Greaves and then Chivers for Spurs and they both hugely profited from his talent. He was no mean goal-scorer either and was surprisingly good in the air.

Andy Crooks
37 Posted 29/02/2020 at 14:17:53
Agreed, Don. He was a super player.
Ray Roche
38 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:15:40
Don, Andy, Everton were reported to be trying to sign Gilzean but he ended up at WHL. What a superb player he was.

Brent, I imagine we're both members of the ''What Have I come In Here For'' club.

Brent Stephens
39 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:39:01
Gilzean always reminded me of Alex Young in his languid style. Catterick was apparently interested in Gilzean at the time he eventually signed Pickering. What a contrast in styles, Gilzean and Pickering! Strange, because Catterick had started to tire of Young's style of play and yet was interested in Gilzean before going for Pickering.
Brent Stephens
40 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:40:39
Ray, Gilzean went to Spurs not WHU?
Ray Roche
41 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:42:59
Brent.

White Heart Lane. = WHL.

Do try to keep up.

Brent Stephens
42 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:44:03
Haha! WHL, WHU! Specsavers!
Brent Stephens
43 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:46:19
Ray, I better check my train ticket for the 11th April game!
Ray Roche
44 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:53:22
👍😁
John McFarlane Snr
45 Posted 29/02/2020 at 16:42:29
Hi Dave [29 & 33] thanks for your encouraging words, I moved to Skelmersdale in April 1967 the weekend of the Foinaven National [ I hope the spelling is correct] which was also the day that Nottingham Forest knocked us out of the FA Cup, I had planned to attend the match but there was so much work to be done prior to our move.

I thought at first that you were referring to Leighton James having having a club, but on reading it a second time it seems that you mean Tommy Smith had the club, if this is the case there is no chance of me ever frequenting it, not for any reason regarding the identity of the proprietor, it's just that my drinking 'Buddies' and I drank in one or two local pubs, and anyway I shouldn't imagine that Tommy Smith would have a club in those days, what threw me at first was the mention of the Castle Circus/ Castle Gate they were unfamiliar names to me. Once again thank you for your kind words.

Hi Ray [30] I suppose I was just feeling a bit disappointed because a couple of regulars Rick Tarleton, and Dave Abrahams hadn't responded to the article, and I thought maybe the novelty had worn off. I was mindful of the fact that some would read and not respond, because I do exactly that myself.

I haven't seen the Jimmy Greaves documentary, I'm hoping it will be repeated because he was one of my favourites, I read somewhere years ago, that Dennis Law regarded Jimmy as the greatest goal-scorer of his time, a view I shared then, and still do. The comments that I've received from you and others, has convinced me that there's still life in this particular thread.

Hi John [31] if that Sheffield United game was your first match then you would have watched it from the Park End, before we transferred to the Upper Bullens stand, where we forecast a good future for the Bristol City full back, [ Terry Cooper] we also said that West Ham wouldn't need to sign a goalkeeper for at least 10 years, and shortly after that Mervyn Day developed mental issues, we knew our stuff didn't we?, there was an excuse for you, as you were only learning.

I must apologise for introducing you to a life of misery, although we had some good times, travelling the length and breadth of the country, smuggling you and young John Brough into the pubs.

Hi Brent [32] as with Ray and others, thank you for your encouragement, I'm well aware that there are some who read articles and for a variety of reasons do not respond to them, I just thought that maybe this type of submission had run its course, in which case it wouldn't be worthwhile continuing, it's given me a renewed enthusiasm knowing that my efforts haven't been wasted.

Hi Andy [34] that's not the Leighton James I remember, but however he behaved I believe the lad had talent, I've been given a new lease of life due to the positive reactions of yourself and others and I promise to feature one or two Irish players from each side of the border, and I'll try to select only the handsome ones. I hope you can make the next get-together.

Hi Peter [35] I often think back to the first get together on my 80th birthday, you and I standing out ide the Central, fearing that it wasn't going to open; it was a great day. I'm not supposed to drink but I had one or two bottles of Guinness and didn't get home until 9-30pm, time for another one I think.

HI Don [36] thanks for your support it means a lot, I agree with you regarding Alan Gilzean, another one of football's unsung heroes, I purposely included some lesser-known players, because I felt their contribution merited recognition. As I have stated, my aim was to reawaken long-forgotten memories and to give the younger fans an idea of what football was like in the 'Old Days'.

Don Alexander
46 Posted 29/02/2020 at 17:59:17
John, your mention of "that" Forest defeat reminds me of Ian Storey-Moore who scored a hatrick from memory. He and Don Rodgers of Swindon Town were excellent goal-scoring wingers too.
Brent Stephens
47 Posted 29/02/2020 at 18:07:20
Don, that Forest game we were ticketless but got in on the stroke of kick off when somebody from inside lobbed over the wall, onto the waste ground outside, a wad of pristine tickets! Every man for himself.

I handed mine in to a passing policeman. 😂

Chris Williams
48 Posted 29/02/2020 at 18:22:09
Don, Brent,

I was at that match too. Absolutely gutted after that. Storey-Moore scored the winner in injury team I think. The ball must have come back off the woodwork about 3 times before it went in.

I remember Ramon launching the ball out of the stadium as he came off at the final whistle.

The team was in a state of transition then I think.

John McFarlane Snr
49 Posted 29/02/2020 at 18:30:19
Hi Don [46] Ian Storey-Moore did score a hat-trick, and as I explained in my earlier post I was unable to attend that game. A friend of mine told me that Everton were in control until Joe Baker went off injured, and it was when Storey-Moore switched to centre forward that the game changed.

It strengthens my view that anything is possible in a game of football. What should have been a disadvantage was unfortunately, the opposite. By the way, I believe that when he moved to Manchester United, he dropped the Storey and was known as Ian Moore.

Chris Williams
50 Posted 29/02/2020 at 18:33:53
John,

That move of Moore to centre forward chimes with me too. He had a lot of injuries I think. He was involved in a Vernon sending off several years earlier.

One interesting fact is that Forest were managed by Johnny Carey.

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 29/02/2020 at 18:51:20
John (45),I read your latest selection of old time players and was going to put a post in about Danny Blanchflower, one of my favourite players and characters, but realised I wrote about him before, maybe in one of your earlier pieces. By the way, 'Danny' was a nickname; his real first name was Robert.

Never get discouraged, John, about writing your posts about the older days, that was when football was a more level playing field and the league title was open to quite a lot more teams than it is today. Keep them coming.

John McFarlane Snr
52 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:06:01
Hi Chris [50] I was at the City Ground for a game when Roy Vernon was sent off. I think it was a case of mistaken identity because Bobby Collins was scrapping throughout with the Forest inside forward John Quigley.

I was on the far side of the ground but it's my opinion that Vernon carried the can for Bobby Collins. In those days, players were suspended for weeks and not games, a 3-week ban could involve more than 3 games.

Brent Stephens
53 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:11:03
John, The idea of Vernon being mistaken for Wee Bobby brings a smile to my face.
Chris Williams
54 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:11:39
John,

I think the referee that day might have been the same referee who was ‘in charge’ of the Battle of Goodison against Leeds. Apparently he was going to abandon that game until the police suggested that perhaps that wasn’t totally advisable from a a public order point of view.

I can’t remember his name.

Chris Williams
55 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:12:37
Brent, he was tying his laces at the time!
Brent Stephens
56 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:14:09
😂
John McFarlane Snr
57 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:19:16
Hi Dave [51] I thought to myself "If Dave doesn't post, it must be time to jack it in". Yes Dave, Danny Blanchflower was featured in part 6. I know you will understand that these posts are intended to revive memories for 'Ould Fellas' like you, and to give the youngsters an idea of what we were treated to on occasion.
Dave Williams
58 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:21:47
John #45 it was indeed Smiths club and it was a nice place to have a quiet drink especially at lunchtime.

Dave A, your reference to Blanchflower reminds me of a Sunday charity game at Bennington Oval. It was a footballer vs show biz match and loads of us turned up to watch Jimmy Tarbuck who was at his peak in those days (late 60s) and was a useful wing half.

At the end, the players were going off and I approached Danny for an autograph. He ran through me, knocking me flying, and I never forgave him!! Got into trouble when I got home for messing up my new jeans and not even a signature to show for it!!

John McFarlane Snr
59 Posted 29/02/2020 at 19:22:23
Hi Chris [54], I think you'll find it was Ken Stokes.
Chris Williams
60 Posted 29/02/2020 at 20:59:21
John,

You’re absolutely right of course. I disliked him intensely for years after that sending off. I remember Royston’s column in the Echo, expressing his outrage at the decision, and the injustice as he saw it. He was very articulate.

I think he spoke about retiring from football after that.

As to Blanchflower, he was the man who coined the expression ‘The Golden Vision’ I believe, and said that ‘football is about the glory’, so he had a bit of poetry about him.

He was also the journalist who repeatedly ripped into Everton for ‘buying the championship’. Coming from the man who captained a club, who spent a fortune on Greaves, McKay, White, Jones etc was rich to say the least. I’m a bit torn about him I guess. Daves story above doesn’t surprise me I suppose.

He also advertised Shredded Wheat, which doesn’t make him a bad person.

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