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Old 14th January 2008, 17:56   #1
tomclare
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Default The European Trail - Red Star - January 1958

The European Trail 1957/58 – Red Star Belgrade – January/February 1958

The United performance in the second leg game of their European Cup tie against Dukla in Prague had disappointed Matt Busby. On the journey back home he had much to ponder and think about. Although the team were through to the European Cup quarter-final, and were positioned in the top four in the First Division, he knew that they were not playing to their full capabilities. Some of the games that they had lost had been lost through silly individual errors and lack of concentration. Attendances at home games were also fluctuating and this was causing concern in the Boardroom. At the beginning of the season, home games were pulling in 50,000 or more through the gates, but as the season progressed towards the mid-point, attendances had begun to drop significantly below the 40,000 mark. It was also now into December and approaching the Christmas period. Around this time people had little spare cash on hand and it was the norm that gates tended to be well down.

The Saturday after the Dukla match, United had to travel to St. Andrews to play Birmingham City. On paper, this should have been a fixture which a team of the caliber of Manchester United should have been able to negotiate without any real problems. Birmingham were situated in 15th position going into this match. They had a few internationals in their team including Merrick, Hall, Smith, and Kinsey; but they were also an ageing team. United made one change to their team that had played in Prague and that was Albert Scanlon making way for the return of Johnny Berry at outside right. For the third time that season United scored three goals in a game and still didn’t come away with the two points. Despite Dennis Viollet scoring twice and Tommy Taylor adding the third, Birmingham were able to match them goal for goal and the game finished at 3-3. Busby was again disappointed that his youngsters had not been able to win the match. In a hard fought game just over the way at Molyneux, Wolves had defeated Preston by 2-1 and their lead over United at the top of the table had now increased to 8 points. Even though United still had a game in hand they would have a huge job on their hands in trying to pull that kind of lead back. West Brom had also drawn with Blackpool and had now gone 4 points clear of United. Busby looked at the situation seriously.

My broken arm was healing and I was back at school. It was at this time that I had taken on a delivery job for a pet shop which was situated at the bottom of Rusholme Road, just facing Ardwick Green. David and Jean Wyman were lovely people and when they gave me the job, they were happy to work with me, especially when I wanted to go and watch United. They would happily adjust my working hours so that I would be able to go to Old Trafford. The shop used to supply what was basically ground horse meat that was used as dog food. Most of the companies in the immediate local area and some in the City as well, had no alarm systems and used to use German Shepherd dogs etc as guard dogs. The companies and even some domestic users, would order the dog food over the telephone and I would make the daily delivery. I could make that round even today as I remember it so well. The packages would be contained in two white canvas bags and were quite a weight by the time I had put one over each shoulder. As it was winter and the temperatures always dipped in those early evenings,, Jean would also make sure that I had a flask of Oxo with me when I left the shop to do the deliveries. I would stop several times along my route to drink from the flask and warm my young body. The route used to take me about two hours to complete and I used to be rewarded with 5 shillings a week, most of which went to my Mother.

I enjoyed this job immensely as I got to know a lot of people and the banter used to be great with them. They quickly found out that I was United daft and they would pull my leg and tease me a lot. A lot of them would have threepeny bets with me on the outcome of United’s results, and this money I kept for myself. It was quite profitable as we came to the end of 1957 and into 1958 as you will see. I’d begun to settle more at school but I’d missed playing football so much. Unfortunately, during my absence from playing, my school team had been beaten for the first time that season but that was in an open cup competition. The plaster cast had been removed from the arm and replaced by a light elastoplast type covering. I was still having to put up with a lot of crap from other kids though. The schoolbag which my parents had worked hard for to provide me with, was slashed to pieces one lunchtime. We used to leave our bags on the windowsills of the buildings as we played football in the schoolyard, and obviously, a few cretins had taken advantage of this. My goloshers (or gym shoes as they would be called today) were stolen from their place in the cage in the gym, and subsequently, I had to do future PE classes in my bare feet as my parents could not afford to replace them. I found out which kids were responsible and took retribution upon them one by one, cornering each of them when they were on their own. With one of them I did more damage than intended because I broke his nose with my forehead and this resulted in a trip to School to see the Headmaster, Joe Rocca (Louis’ brother) for my Mother, as there was talk of me being dismissed.

On the 14th December, United met Chelsea at Old Trafford and were at full strength. Just under 37,000 people attended this game to see United stutter and lose by 1-0. Alarmingly for both Busby and the United fans, Wolves had beaten Sheffield Wednesday that afternoon 4-3, and had now increased the gap between themselves and United to a formidable 10 points. Fortunately, West Brom had been on the wrong end of 5-1 thrashing at Luton and the gap to them in second place was still 4 points andPreston had also slipped up at Arsenal by 4-2, to stay in third place level on points with United in fourth. For those of us that were present at Old Trafford that afternoon against Chelsea, little did we know that we were seeing Ray Wood, Johnny Berry, Billy Whelan, and David Pegg, playing for the last time in a first team shirt.

Matt Busby had to act as it was already beginning to look as though Wolves already had one hand on the First Division title. I doubt that anybody at that time, including the two local sportswriters Tom Jackson and Alf Clarke, who were really close to what was going on inside Old Trafford, had any inkling as to what was about to happen. The following Saturday, 21st December, United had another home game, this time against Leicester City. As I trudged my pet food round I had my leg pulled mercilessly by the customers! However, in mid-week, Busby startled the football world by paying out a record fee of 23,500 pounds, for goalkeeper Harry Gregg from Doncaster Rovers. Gregg had played for Northern Ireland against England at Wembley just a few weeks before. He had put in an astonishing performance that was largely responsible for Northern Ireland upsetting all the odds by winning 3-2. The Irish fans had been so delighted by their totally unexpected victory that at the final whistle, they had flooded onto the field and lifted Gregg shoulder high and they carried him to the Wembley tunnel. Gregg was a flambuoyant goalkeeper and very unorthodox for the time. He had tremendous agility and Busby was to comment later that he signed Gregg because he thought that; “ the team was in need of a continental style goalkeeper.” Looking back, I feel sorry for Ray Wood because he had not really played badly even through the stuttering run that the team was going through at that time.

The signing of Gregg had stimulated some United fans to attend the game against Leicester City and just over 41,000 fans were there. I doubt if any of them could have forecast the changes that were made that afternoon, and there was gasps when those team changes were announced. Out went Wood which everybody knew was happening, but also dropped were Johnny Berry, Billy Whelan, and David Pegg. Even today, I still find that astonishing given that United’s problems had not been in attacking. In just 26 games that season in all competitions, they had scored some 65 goals – defensively, they had conceded 39! Into the team came the really exciting young right winger, 18 years old Welshman Kenny Morgans. He’d been a star in the reserve and youth teams and was a delight to watch. He was a bagful of tricks and had great pace. Bobby Charlton came in at inside right, and though he had already played in just 4 first team games that season, he hadn’t scored in any. He’d had a decent run in the team the previous season after making his debut in October of 1956 and had even made the Cup Final team at Wembley because of dennis Viollet being unfit. At reserve team level he was scoring goals for fun. At outside left, Busby played Albert Scanlon. Albert was 22 years of age, a local boy from Hulme who had made his debut in 1954 and had made more than a few first team appearances. He was lightning quick and packed a terrific shot in his left foot.

I made my way to Old Trafford that Saturday and took place behind the Scoreboard End goal because I wanted to get a good look at Harry Gregg. I can recall Roger Byrne leading the team out and then I was transfixed as I stared at this big broad, twine toed man, in the green jersey making his way towards the goal. As the players began firing balls at him, the little youngster who was United’s mascot at that time, and wore the number 6 on the back of his red shirt, began going around the players handing out sticks of Wrigley’s chewing gum. As he approached the goal, he stopped and it was as though shyness had gotten the better of him. Roger Byrne saw this and came trotting across, took the kid by the hand and called to Harry Gregg who came over and took the gum from the mascot. I often wonder whatever happened to that young boy because at that time, he could have been no more than 6/7 years old.

It was probably the best game for Gregg and Morgans to make their United debuts in as Leicester were well known to be a yo-yo team back then. When they came to Old Trafford that day they were lying second from the bottom of the League. Gregg had little or nothing to do in a game that United won comfortably by 4-0 with both Bobby Charlton and Albert Scanlon both opening their accounts with a goal apiece and Dennis Viollet weighing in with the other two. Young Morgans had played well also and everybody was happy as they left the ground. Wolves had won again but West Brom had lost 3-1 at Newcastle so the gap to second place was now only two points with both United and Preston, who had also won that afternoon, still having a game in hand. However, unobtrusively, the “blue noses” from Maine Road had slipped into fifth place behind United and Preston and had the same number of points! This was going to make the “derby” game at Maine Road just a week later, more than a little “tasty!”

It was Christmas week 1957, and I so looked forward to Christmas morning. I knew what I was getting for my present and couldn’t wait to get my hands upon it. Mum and Dad had got me a signed copy of Matt Busby’s new book “My Story” and I can recall getting up that Christmas morning and staring for hours at his written inscription on the inside page of the book – “Best Wishes - Matt Busby”. It had cost them ten shillings which for our family, was a lot of money in those days, so I treasured that book. On that Christmas morning my Mum had to prize it out of my hands and chase me off to mass. Needless to say, I didn’t hang around the church once mass was over as I just wanted to get back home to the book. Christmas 1957 has some nostalgic memories for me, and is one that tugs at my emotions whenever I think of it. It was to be the last time in our lives that as a complete family we were ever to sit down again all together for Christmas dinner – my parents, and my brother and sister and myself.

Matches were played on Christmas Day in those days, and United were again at home to Luton Town. After Christmas dinner I was off like a rocket to Old Trafford again to watch the match, and once again took a position behind the Scoreboard End goal. Just over 39,000 watched United beat Luton Town comfortably by 3-0. Luton were well placed when this game was played being in 6th position in the League just a point behind United. It was a game that I can recall for another of Duncan Edwards “specials”. Deputising in goal for the Hatters that afternoon was a ‘keeper named Bernard Streten who was standing in for Ron baynham an England international. Streten was getting on a little and was bald which the United fans behind the goals made much merriment of. Edwards scored with a shot from around 25 yards that was hit with great power, and although Streten made a terrific effort diving across his goal to stop it; the sheer force of the shot, even though he got a hand to it, pushed it backwards and the ball thumped into the back of the net. Bobby Charlton also got on the score sheet again as did Tommy Taylor. That Christmas day was a good one for United as Wolves and West Brom did not play and this was their game in hand. City lost at Burnley, and Preston drew 4-4 at home to Wednesday. As the fans made their way home that dark, cold afternoon, United were up into second place level on points with West Brom and eight points behind the Wolves.

Boxing Day was also a day when their was a full fixture list and normally the Christmas Day fixtures were reversed. On 26th December 1957, United had to go to Kennilworth Road and face Luton again. Kennilworth Road hasn’t changed too much over the years and it was the small, compact ground that is now but had no floodlights. It was a game that United should have won but ended up drawing 2-2 with Tommy Taylor and Albert Scanlon scoring the goals. Harry Gregg got a lot of flak from the sports writers after this game because of his habit of wandering outside of his goal area when play was in the other half of the pitch. Sometimes he would be found around the edge of the centre circle in his own half. Fans weren’t used to this and it caused them palpitations – something which the press took up on. Today, I don’t think that too much would be made of it, but back then, it was so unusual to see, and it was a habit that in later years Busby got Harry to stop. Wolves lost at ‘Spurs that Boxing Day so United had clipped another point off their lead which was now down to seven points. Unfortunately West Brom beat Birmingham 5-3 and leap frogged back into second place.

On 28th December 1957 well over 70,000 fans crowded into Maine Road to watch the “derby” game. City were just a point behind United and there was everything to play for. It was a humdinger of a game with no quarter given or asked. City had been very much United’s whipping boys for the previous couple of seasons, but had at this time, played themselves into some good form and were trying to overtake United in the League. Harry Gregg again came in for criticism because of his wanderings, but they had nothing to do with the goals that he conceded in a game that finished 2-2. Bobby Charlton scored with a thunderbolt of a drive that Bert Trautmann, City’s big blonde German goalkeeper never even got remotely close to. Dennis Viollet scored the other goal for United and most fans agreed as they left the Maine Road ground, that a draw was a fair result.

It is fascinating to look back at that last week of 1957. Between the 21st and 28th of December United played 4 League games in just 7 days, something today that managers and players would be up in arms about. Back then, it was an accepted part of the game, and for the most part, the players just wanted to get out there and play. On that last Saturday in 1957, Wolves won up at Sunderland and thus restored their 8 point lead, West Brom trounced Burnley 5-1 and went another point in front of United, and Preston won at Portsmouth pushing United back into fourth place as the New year beckoned.

The first Saturday of 1958 saw a break from the League as the F.A. Cup entered its Third Round and United had been drawn away to the Cumbrian Third Division team of Workington. It was a potential banana skin for United, as the weather was bitterly cold and the pitch was hard and frost bound in areas. Borough Park was a tiny compact little ground, but it was jammed to capacity as 21,000 hardened souls filled every space available. United turned in a thoroughly professional performance that afternoon and didn’t give the Cumbrian team even a sniff of any kind of upset. United’s clever forwards and dominant half backs kept Town on the backfoot and Dennis Viollet claimed all three goals in the 3-0 victory. Everybody waited for the draw for the next round to be made and I can recall rushing home from school at lunchtime to listen to it on the old radio. United came out of the bag with home draw to be paired with the East Anglian club Ipswich Town from the Second Division. The tie was to be played on Saturday, 25th January 1958. Little was I to know as I sat listening to that tie being announced on the radio, that this would be the last game that I would ever see my beloved “Babes” play in.

School had restarted that Monday morning, and I was called in to see Mr. Travers, who looked after my school team. He asked how the arm was and I showed him the light strapping but told him that it was coming off later that week. He told me that my team had a junior Catholic Cup tie with St. Wilfrid’s from Hulme the following Saturday morning and asked did I think I would be okay to play in the game. He needn’t have asked! My reply was always going to be yes. The plaster was taken off on the Wednesday by the doctor and I was cleared to play active sport. Saturday could not come quick enough for me and I willed the week to pass by. On the Thursday afternoon, the team sheet was put up on the notice board and I rushed towards it full of anticipation. When I stood there, I looked at the name down for goalkeeper, and my stomach turned over – it wasn’t my name that I was lloking at, but that of a big lad named Phil Johnston who came from Moston. The disappointment hurt, but then somebody pointed out to me that I was on the team sheet, but at centre forward! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Apparently, Mr. Travers had seen me kick around in the school yard, and decided to play me as an outfield player. I was quite happy to be honest, because deep down I always fancied myself playing out of goal. When I told my parents, they were pleased, but Dad did say he had mixed feelings for me.

Saturday came and I made my way up to Levenshulme and Greenbank playing fields. All sorts of things were going through my head as we kicked off and my concentration wasn’t good. The match was a disaster for the team and for me personally. We lost by 6-0 against a team that normally, we would have been well able to beat. Centre forward just wasn’t for me and I was all over the place and hardly got a touch of the ball. When I did I was lost and clueless and more often than not had it taken away from me. At half-time we were 4 goals down, and Mr. Travers moved me back into the half back line. That also met with no success – and despite my attempts at playing like Eddie Colman, even with the exaggerated body swerve, I was in truth an embarrassment and liability to my team. It was to be the last excursion in schoolboy football for me as an outfield player!

I was in a depressed type of mood after that morning’s performance as I trudged around on my pet foot round in the early afternoon. United were away at Elland Road in a game that they would surely win. United had trounced Leeds at Old Trafford by 5-0 early in the season, so surely this game would not encounter problems for them. I finished my work and made my way home. At 5 o’clock the old wireless spluttered into life as the music “Out of the Blue” introduced the weekly “Sports Report” programme hosted by Eamon Andrews. I waited anxiously listening as the news reader read out the results. You could tell by the tone of the newsreader’s voice what the result was going to be, and as soon as he said “Leeds United 1” I knew that the game had finished as a draw – and so it was with Dennis Viollet snatching an equalizing goal for United to enable them to get at a point. Fortunately Wolves had also drawn at home to Luton and had not increased their lead at the top. Unfortunately, Preston had beaten West Brom at Deepdale and had pushed the Midlanders into third place with United fourth. City had also drawn at Forest so they had been unable to make up any ground on United.

The day after the Leeds game, I was once again up early in order to go and stand in line for my ticket for the forthcoming European Cup Quarter Final tie against Red Star Belgrade which was being played the following Wednesday. I had lost my partner in crime Brian, after I had moved schools and we never saw very much of each other after that. I was also free of the burden of having to get tickets for the priests which to be honest was quite a relief. Once again the lines and the wait were long, but the reward at the end of them was something that you couldn’t put a price upon.

European nights had become so special and being at Old Trafford was such an exhilarating experience on these occasions. The atmosphere withing the city would begin to build from the weekend onwards. Red Star had quite a reputation and as I said, they were at last a club that we knew about. They had some really good players in their team, players like the goalkeeper Vladimir Beara who was arguably one of the finest goalkeepers in the world at that time. Mitic and Popovic were international wing halves and full of guile and craft whilst in between them was a rock of a centre half named Spajic. However, the biggest danger to United would come from the three inside forward players of Sekularac, Tasic, and Kostic. This trio were supremely gifted, lightning fast and could finish with deadly accuracy. This was going to be a huge test of United’s resolve.

The weather was not too good in Manchester the week that the game was going to be played. The Red Star team arrived in Manchester on the Monday afternoon and must have wondered what they had flown in to. It was dark, murky, bitterly cold, and inhospitable. On the morning of the match day, I went to school as normal but as was per usual on these days, my mind was never on what I should have been doing. Fog also began to descend on the city and by lunchtime, it was quite thick. As the school lunch break was sounded, I decided that I was going to have half a day off! I was out through the school entrance like quicksilver, never saying a word to anybody. I trudged down through Ardwick Green Park in the murkiness, smelling the grime in the fog and feeling the cold dampness in the air. I went into Wyman’s Pet Shop and told Jean a white lie. I said that we’d all been let out of school early because of the fog and that the school wanted the kids to get home early and safely! I don’t know if she really believed me but she thrust a mug of hot tea into my hands. She began cutting up the horse meat and mincing it and began wrapping the orders to be put in my two delivery bags. I devoured the tea and then skipped up Rusholme Road through the darkness to Taylor’s Chip Shop. Alf Taylor was a United fan, and as he wrapped my three pennorth’ of chips he told me that he didn’t think the game against Red Star would played that night. My stomach turned over. I couldn’t envisage not going to the match after all - how was a bit of fog going to affect a football match!

I returned to the Pet Shop, collected my two bags and flask of Oxo, and off I went on my rounds. Dewsbury and Brown the mineral firm, the Grove Hotel, the Church Inn, Raleigh Motors, Noble’s Rubber Company, Bolger’s Scrap Yard, The White Hart Hotel, Mazel’s, the Fire Station, the Gog and Magog, Champion Motors, were all places that I had to deliver to. The banter was always the same especially with the landlords of the pubs. I gave as good as I took, and as usual, we placed our bets. They were all of the same opinion however, that the match wouldn’t be played that day due to the fog. I began to have serious doubts for the first time as I got back to Wyman’s in late afternoon.
Dispensing with my bags I was out and off, up to All Saints to catch my bus for Old Trafford, first calling at home on the way, to collect my heavy topcoat.

The fog was thick, but the buses were full of people going home from work and also to the match. It must have been around 5:30p.m. when I arrived at the top of Warwick Road, There were more people around at this time than there normally was, and I suppose that people had left home or their places of work early, to make sure that they got to Old Trafford in good time. The floodlights were already switched on as I walked down towards the ground and you could see the fog swirling about in the glare of those arc lamps. Lines had already formed outside many of the turnstiles and I made my way around into United Road. There wasn’t long to wait as those turnstiles were opened early and fans streamed into the ground. After passing through the turnstile and obtaining my programme, I walked through the tunnel adjacent to the half way line. As I got into the stadium proper, my heart sank – you could hardly see a thing and even both goal areas were invisible? How on earth could they play in those conditions. I recall that I didn’t go down to the front of the stand and against the picket fence as I normally did. I reasoned that I would be able to see better on this evening if I stayed up towards the middle of the terrace and so I climbed onto one of the crush barriers. The fog was teasing; it would thin out and you could just about see both goalmouths from where I was stood, but then it would get thicker again and you could only see the area around the half way line. It was difficult to see the far side of field and the main stand. Fans began filling the ground and it was a rather muted atmosphere to begin with. The Beswick Prize Band could be heard playing, there was a lot of chatter from the adults around me, and the concensus was, that even if the game did start, it would probably be abandoned later on.

Around 7p.m. our spirits were lifted as the fog seemed to thin a little and we could just about make out the people on the far side and we could also just about see both goals, but it was still very murky. The Band marched around the pitch and at 7:20p.m. both teams appeared from the tunnel. At first it was just a ripple, and then as people realized that the teams were out, it developed into a huge roar. For those of us present that cold, damp and foggy night, we were not to know that this would be the last European Cup tie that we would ever see this talented young team of “Babes” play at Old Trafford. United lined up; Gregg; Foulkes, Byrne; Colman, Jones, Edwards; Morgans, Charlton, Taylor, Viollet and Scanlon. Red Star’s line up was; Beara; Tomic, Zekovic; Mitic, Spajic, Popovic; Borozan, Sekularic, Tasic, Kostic, Cokic.

For Harry Gregg and Kenny Morgans, they were making their European debuts that evening. Roger Byrne and Rajko Mitic, the two team captains, could be seen in the centre circle shaking hands, and then Roger tossed the coin. I am almost certain that Mitic won the toss because the referee blew his whistle and signaled for the teams to change ends. Back in those days, when United came out of the tunnel, they always went to the Scoreboard End, and would always prefer to attack the Stretford End in the first half. Several fans on seeing the teams change ends voiced their fears that this was unlucky and that it was a bad omen. 60,000 plus were inside Old Trafford that night, but I am being honest when I say that hardly any of us saw all of the game. In those conditions that were endured that evening, in today’s modern era, the game would never even get close to a kick off. The fog played havoc with our vision and it was difficult to follow the game as it descended then lifted slightly then thickened again. What we could see of the game was giving us palpitations as the Slavs took the game to United, and pinned them back in their own half. As was generally feared by United fans at the time, this was no easy game and many had misgivings about it. When play was on the far side of the field we could hardly see what was happening and were taken along by the roars from the other side of the ground. Our fears were justified when on 37 minutes, Red Star took the lead through centre forward Tasic. I can’t tell you how it was scored because the plain truth is that I couldn’t see it and neither could most of the people around me! What we did see was the blue shirted Red Star players congratulating each other as they made their way back to their own half!

Once again, United’s young team had a mountain to climb. Apart from real Madrid, I don’t think that there is any doubts at all that Red Star were the best team that United had met. During the half time break, many fans around me voiced their opinions that they hoped that Referee would abandon the game. As the teams came out for the second half, the conditions hadn’t got any better. Red Star had controlled the first half from what we could see, and Sekularac and Kostic were giving Edwards and Colman a lot to do. United were getting little or no impetus from midfield. The second half began and it looked as though United had begun to keep more of the ball. We could see players driving towards the Stretford End but a lot of the time, could really tell who they were. Whether the Slavs tired or not, we’ll never know, but the second half was totally different from the first half. Bobby Charlton had started to drift around more and Beara pulled off three or four magnificent saves from some pile drivers that came his way. Red Star had some good defenders and they seemed to be holding firm as the minutes began to tick away. That is with just left than half an hour to go, Charlton equalized. Again, I can’t tell you what the goal was like as I couldn’t see it. However the roar that went up from behind the Stretford End goal was more than enough to tell us what had happened, and that roar had a ripple effect as traveled around the ground as people realized United had scored. As the match entered the last quarter of an hour, the fog began to lift somewhat and visibility was the best that it had been all night. You could now see both goal areas and goals. With just 9 minutes left and United pressing, Beara fumbled and the ball came out loose. There was an almighty scramble inside the six yard are centrally to the goal. Bodies dived in and the ball rebounded off several legs until little Eddie Colman off all people, lying on the ground was able to poke out his right leg and deflect the ball over the line and into the back of the net. The roar that erupted was deafening, and once he got up, little Eddie cavorted about like a young schoolboy. He was engulfed by his team mates and their smiles and happiness told a story. The next nine minutes passed uneventfully and when the final whistle went, there was relief all around the ground. Red Star had provided a stern test and going to Belgrade three weeks later was probably going to be the stiffest test that they had faced in Europe, and I include their games against Madrid in that statement.

Once more, the “Babes” had stood up to an enormous test and had come through it with dogged determination and a lot of will power and skill. Would this be the turning point in their season? The Saturday after the Red Star game they had to face their arch rivals and nemesis from Bolton Wanderers at old Trafford. Did our lads still believe they could achieve the “treble”? The next few weeks would be crtical to their quest as they had some huge games on the horizon. As I left Old Trafford that dark, damp, foggy evening, I had no inking at all as toi what the next three weeks held in store, and how they would affect me, and many thousands like me, for the rest of our lives.

Last edited by tomclare; 30th May 2015 at 14:29.
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