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1 Posted 29/03/2021 at 20:24:53
2 Posted 29/03/2021 at 23:08:44
Now you are into an era where I was alive but don't quite recall as, being a 1971 baby, these were my formative years!!
I had read about Howard going in the opposite direction to Latchford, but now you mention, I am curious. So, a genuine question to those around at the time old enough to judge, did the club make a mistake or was Kendall past his best? Did it fit the narrative I have often heard that we broke up the 69-70 title winning team too early?
Really interesting to see the firsts around 3 teams up and down and I never knew red and yellow cards only came into the picture as late as 1976-77. What did we do before?
Finally, you mention something that some of us discussed elsewhere; the calibre of British keepers in this era. Jennings, Shilton, Bonetti. I said previously, dare I add Clemence to that gang? A golden era of keepers but Jennings was tops for me.
As always, thanks for the insight, John. Part 5 I will be able to start having an opinion rather than asking questions!!
3 Posted 29/03/2021 at 00:17:25
And Danny, I'm 66 so my opinion of the demise of the 1970 team has to take account of all that was happening to me as a sixteen year-old in 1971 and following seasons.
That said, we sold Ball and Kendall and Johnson to teams where they thrived. We sold our current England left-back, Keith Newton, to Burnley (a top side at the time). This meant we relied on the stellar careers of left backs Terry Darracott and/or Archie Styles to improve on him. They didn't, at all.
We also signed Rod Belfitt, Dave Clements, Joe Harper and various other non-entities to improve the team after selling our best and guess what, they didn't, at all.
Usually I cite Kenwright as the culprit but on this occasion I'd just like to know the identity of the lummox who caused our early 70's decline (leading to a whole ONE decade - oh, the pain, genuinely! - of further inertia), before asking what Kenwright must have seen in him as an inspiration.
And on 'keepers, apart from those you mentioned, Phil Parkes (QPR/West Ham) and Jim Montgomery (Sunderland) were also regularly brilliant.
4 Posted 30/03/2021 at 01:52:41
Huddersfield; promoted and down into the 3rs Div in the space of 4 seasons. Its all about the 'Chemistry' of building a side that all fitted together, sometimes it just goes...then - for what ever reason the board sell off, were made offers the can't refuse / short term gain(?) a third of the team, Cherry, Worthington, Ellam(?) then they fooled us into buying Lawson.
Yet another of Harry's buy them because they had a good game against us mistakes...Ernie Hunt, Henry Newton, Bernie Wright.
Danny @ 2; Short Version; Was Kendall sold too early? - Yes !
Catterick and to an extent Bingham, were children of the 40s and 50s...you were finished at 30.
Of course that still applies up to a point now...look at the differnce between the attitudes and career length of Rooney Vs Ronaldo.
But football and football players were changing.
Good genes...see Lampards Junior and Senior...Better diet, general health, even the advent of the better medical care the welfare state brought, coupled with post war medical advances, meant some players could play on until their mid 30s. They could use their football brains and natural fitness, coupled with a good attitude, to adapt their game.
Box to box players who scored goals, Collins, Ball, B. Robson, might not have the lungs to get repeatedly up and down the field and score 16 a season like they did at 23.
But rather, using their heads, would pick when - and when not to put in a lung buster and only score 7 or 8 a season...but create through balls for others.
And thus Collins and Ball became proto-modern midfielders
Flying / tricky wingers - Charlton, Terry Paine, Bryan Douglas, Callaghan, Best, maybe lost a yard of pace that made them uncatchable at 22. But by the time they were, 27, 28 30, they were top mid fielders.
In the early 70s, Best and Kendall both kept their teams from being relegated on their own.
Kendall stuck at it at Everton...even with poor additions to the squad they stayed out of danger.
United, similarly beset by poor replacements, had Best playing at No.10. He gave it up, they went down...a bit more to it than that, but in essence that was what happened.
Anybody who saw Kendall as a player manager for those few games, could see, even then, he was the best player on the pitch.
Catterick had his faults...One was - anybody who argued with him was gone as soon as Catterick (mostly mistakenly) though he could do without them as a player; Collins, Vernon, Young, Gabriel...or in Balls case if he could double his money, whilst getting rid of a player who was a devisive Capt, whose form and goals had slipped and...allegedly, had a gambling problem.
Binghams problem was Kendall was one of the 'old school' from the glory years and 28...and looking down the slippery slope to 30.
In effect swap him, a squad member (sorry Archie) and 80 grand for the best centre forward in England...where do I sign??.
Rambled on a bit there, but you get the gist.
5 Posted 30/03/2021 at 07:50:13
I love the bit about using the brain. Many a debate in the pub and on here regarding that very subject.
I recently watched the Barcelona "Take the ball, pass the ball" documentary. For someone like me, some gems in there, citing it isn't always about the speed in the legs, but the speed in the ball and / or in the brain (not direct quotes but context).
I also watched a great programme on Toni Kroos. One of the individuals who worked with him as a youngster remarks on how he didn't have anything particularly special. Wasn't big, wasn't powerful, wasn't fast and didn't do the spectacular. But he had a footballing brain that put him yards ahead of those around him. Not up there with the greatest, but a great player of his generation.
The conditioning and looking after yourself thing is key to a player prolonging their career and the Rooney - Ronaldo example is perfect testimony to that. Closer to home and less spectacular, but David Weir springs to mind?
There's also an element of where you play on the pitch and style of play. Centre-backs and holding or deep-lying playmaking midfielders will not only peak later, but can play at the top of their game way into their 30s. Whereas a pacey striker or winger, who relies not just on pace but the explosiveness of acceleration, will fade around 30 unless, as you say, they can adapt their game.
6 Posted 30/03/2021 at 10:45:09
Danny @2. You may find a partial explanation of the demise of the 1970's team in my earlier article, Decline and Fall, posted on 29.04.2020.
Thanks again John.
7 Posted 30/03/2021 at 10:52:03
8 Posted 30/03/2021 at 11:26:38
The Bob Latchford transfer was a deal that always surprised me as being a record deal, even though it was classed as such, it meant that Kendall, still a very good player, and Styles were valued at £270, 000, a bit of an uplift on their real valuation at the time. It also surprised me that we only got six years out of Howard the first time round, what an exceptional brilliant player he was for us.
9 Posted 30/03/2021 at 11:38:02
It's relevance to this post? Naturally it was only the Premier League era. To John Senior's title, I bet there are a few pre-1992 contenders!!
10 Posted 30/03/2021 at 15:01:43
Hi Danny  yes the club did make a mistake with the Howard Kendall transfer, but it was a sort of double edged sword situation. Latchford was a natural goal scorer, and if he and Joe Royle had been able to play together more often I believe that they would have formed a formidable duo. I recall there being Midland's newspaper that featured a player of the month award which Kendall virtually dominated, and when he moved to Stoke City his top class performances continued.
Hi Don  I'm pleased that you enjoyed the article, and you're right to question the decision to allow players of a high calibre to leave the club. I fear that we the fans, will never get to know the truth behind such dealings.
Hi Derek  you will no doubt appreciate that I could have included many more snippets, but one that I passed over was from the 1976-77 season and it reads, "Terry Paine announced his retirement in October after having played 806 League matches, his 'Final Match' was against his first club, Southampton. Paine, however came out of retirement the next month to try to help Hereford avoid relegation, he finally quit at the end of the season having played 824 League games"
Hi Dave  thanks for your concern, I have been considering signing up for the 'Matchday Forum' and I was wondering if you think I have the required credentials.
11 Posted 30/03/2021 at 19:45:22
12 Posted 30/03/2021 at 21:33:51
I thought we got the best from the Latchford deal but was sorry to see Kendall and Styles going the other way.
Everyone's aware of (or heard of) Kendall's qualities and I felt we could have got many years more out of him.
Archie Styles was an outstanding prospect at left back; quick, strong and skillful. I thought he would have a great career and go on to play for England but he seemed to disappear after a couple of years. I have a B/blues friend; I'll ask him Styles.
13 Posted 30/03/2021 at 22:49:36
He was there for four years before moving to Peterborough United,
14 Posted 30/03/2021 at 23:34:12
Trevor Anderson, now there's a name from the past. I believe he was, like anyone from Northern Ireland with long hair, briefly hailed as the new George Best.
Chris Balderstone, a man who, even by the undemanding standards back then, accumulated runs at a pace that made Chris Tavare look like Ben Stokes.
Asa Harford, described by David Coleman I believe, as a "whole- hearted" player.
Willie Johnston, who was subsequently sent home in disgrace from Argentina, and then further humiliated by receiving a dressing down from, of all people, Frank Bough.
Derek Hales had a beard which was actually quite remarkable at the time until Ricky Villa arrived and made it seem quite exotic and cool. (I attempted one myself but gave up when it remained unnoticed after several weeks.)
It was very much an era of would-be Bests: Charlie Cook, the Morgan brothers, the aforementioned Anderson.
I loved that stuff, though Football Monthly was a bit high brow! Do you recall the one with the football comic stories, it might have been "Score"? Jack of United and Jimmy of City, rival brothers. Billy's Boots, in which young Billy Dane discovers the boots of the late Dead Shot Kean (a nickname for our PSG loanee??) and players like him. (Whose boots is Newcastle's Joelinton wearing?) A team called Everpool.
Wally Brand, Raven on the wing, Limp along Leslie (no disabilty discrimination in those days). Bernard Briggs (the no-goal goalie). Not many remember that Briggs represented England at the World Cup, played in every game including the final and never conceded a goal. Yet he ended up with a loser's medal on the toss of a coin. Diabolical liberty if you ask me.
You know what, when I reminisce the real heroes and the comic ones all become one. Legends of good old days that maybe weren't that good.
Did Pat Jennings really catch a cross with one hand and throw the ball the length of the pitch into Liverpool's net at the Kop End? Of course he did, I remember it well.
15 Posted 31/03/2021 at 00:32:56
The centre-forward was the Frenchman, Pierre Gaspard. He made Cantona look like a donkey, but I'm certain that Duncan McKenzie took to him lock, stock and barrel.
Anyway, nurse has just brought me my tablets, so good night folks!
16 Posted 31/03/2021 at 11:15:54
You read some comics back then, must have cost you a fortune! The only fella I remember was Limp Along Leslie, what a player he was if you had a good imagination to put the words into action. I think I tried to play with a limp after reading the comic sometimes. It never worked, I was slow enough as it was!!
17 Posted 31/03/2021 at 11:37:07
Hi Bill  I'm pleased to know that you enjoyed my trip down 'Memory Lane', it keeps me out of mischief, and can as you say, bring back some long forgotten memories.
Hi Andy  when it comes to beards, Jack Chisolm's of Plymouth Argyle took some beating. I'm pleased to learn that you enjoyed the article, and as I said to Bill  it keeps me out of mischief. There will be parts 5 and 6 to come which will take us up to the last season of the Football League, as it was.
18 Posted 31/03/2021 at 11:48:08
19 Posted 31/03/2021 at 12:38:01
The dammed United was on telly the other night. A fantastic football film with some great actors.
The Jackie Charlton documentary was also an emotional watch.
The characters must still be there in football today but are media managed to only drip feed us the positive stuff.
Joe Hart's "job done" tweet after spurs getting a thrashed last week gave us all a chortle and insight into the relationship between most top flight footballers and the public.
20 Posted 31/03/2021 at 12:38:12
Funnily enough (not Football related) yesterday I was thinking about Hopalong Cassidy and what todays kids would think about that, and then up pops Limp Along Lesley. By the age of 4 today you can fly helicopters blast everyone with machine guns and kill scores of the enemy with graphic colour and sound all on your telly, whatever happened to Muffin the Mule and Andy Pandy.
21 Posted 31/03/2021 at 14:41:14
Bingham's arrival arrested the decline but the new manager was faced with a dilemma in fathoming how to strengthen what was now at best a mid-table squad. Both Howard and Colin Harvey suffered injuries at Derby County in September 1973 and were ruled out for many months. When Howard recovered in early 1974 he was one of the few marketable players on the books and at his peak. Bingham rightly considered it imperative to strengthen the attack but proven strikers were at a premium with clubs extremely reluctant to lose their best. Catterick had tried and failed to find cheap, and not so cheap, solutions such as Bernie Wright, Rod Belfitt and Joe Harper while being forced to sell Alan Whittle and David Johnson. He desperately needed to bring in a top quality striker.
Latchford was one of the very few strikers around of proven talent, in his early twenties with the potential to improve. Birmingham had a very strong attack with Trevor Francis and Bob Hatton also in their squad but lacked quality in midfield. So the transfer deal provided a solution to Birmingham's problem in midfield and a solution to our problems in attack. It did however leave a gaping hole in terms of the quality of our midfield. That was resolved shortly after the start of season 1974/75 when we signed Martin Dobson for £300,000. It was Latchford and Dobson who spearheaded the title challenge that year.
22 Posted 31/03/2021 at 16:06:57
23 Posted 31/03/2021 at 16:17:52
24 Posted 31/03/2021 at 16:39:41
Don't remember those characters John, from the comics, although Baldy Hogan rings a bell.
Brian (22), yes I think Harry Catterick, my favourite manager, had lost his touch, doubt if he was scouting some of those players himself at that stage, John â€˜tiger' McLaughlin was a strange signing, we got him from Falkirk, I heard a story that it was six weeks after we signed him before his wife found out where he had got to, he just did the off from Scotland without telling her where he was!!
25 Posted 31/03/2021 at 17:25:25
26 Posted 31/03/2021 at 17:38:17
27 Posted 02/04/2021 at 15:15:20
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