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Thread: Worried Turkey's Diaries

  1. #201
    Fantastic read. When I read I hear my dad talking. Having followed United since the early 50s I recall some of his stories. WT was spot on talking about the Sheffield Wed game after Munich, they were beat before they started. No one would have stopped Utd that night, the emotions within the ground just crushed the opposition. Keep it up.

  2. #202

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hello WT! I hope you'll read my words. Tomorrow is rememberance day and I feel you'll be around in Manchester. I'm flying in on Saturday and I'm around for singing "The Flowers Of Manchester" on Sunday at 3 pm. Hoping you are well and healthy - have a good pint or two - Peter P.s.: I send a tweet to your twitter account )

  3. #203
    Sorry, I have not wrote for such a long time (no I have not been in prison....lol), but due to circumstances beyond my control it has not been possible... anyway 'nuff said.

    Right where was I... Yes, just been woken up by Smidge and Unc, with the smell of bacon (burnt I may add... Unc loves it well done!) wafting down the length of the caravan, then brain kicks into gear, it's Blackpool and a three o'clock kick off. Next minute, we're sat at the table with bacon 'butties' so big you couldn't get your gob round 'em , and with sauce vying with the grease to run down my arm.

    A discussion on tactics and team selection started. Quixall had got a knock against Chelsea in our 2-0 defeat, would he be fit or not..? No Internet to find out so it was all guesswork. The team Sir Matt had played for the first few games picked themselves Gregg, Brennan, Cantwell, Stiles, the big man Foulksey, Setters picked themselves as did Viollet, Herd, Pearson and Charlton, but the problem was Quixall if fit he was in, if not Giles (who was my pick), Lawton or Bradley....

    Ron Suart the Blackpool manager had Ray Charnley leading his side but with Mathews on the wane he wasn't getting the supply he had had in the last few seasons (a 20 plus a season man. Little did I know he would got 30 this season ). Forgot about Jimmy Armfield, who was one of those rare attacking full backs in those days, who could read a game as well as anyone and knew when to get forward and he had the ability to deliver a wicked cross.

    Having jumped on my 'butty' a few times to get it down to a manageable size, we were ready. I know it was only 9 o'clock, but this was Blackpool. A walk along the front was a must, Candy floss again was a must, chips in newspaper another must, throw in a toffee apple... bliss... and stomach ache, but what the eck!

    All this done and kick off time drew closer. Standing at the top of Bloomfield Road and looking down it seemed like a home game as a sea of red scarves mingled with the few orange and white, even though there was still 1 1/2 hours till kick off. Worry set in. Will we get in? Let's go and queue now, but Unc being Unc wanted to go to the working mens club just down the road (surely they wouldn't let Smidge in..? It was a Working mens club... naive or what!) As we had too pass the turnstiles to get there I looked and saw the lines of people. I didn't want too miss the game, so I talked Unc into letting me get in the queue and I'd see him and Smidge in the ground behind the goal... John was unsure, he wasn't a seasoned pro like me ...as if... so he went with Smidge. Unc took some talking round but he was wasting beer time so he agreed, as I turned and queued I realised I was alone at an away ground for the first time. As the turnstile came closer so did the worries… What if Unc didn’t get in? What if he did and I missed him? What if... by then it was too late I was in the turnstile and with sweaty palms handed over my money, net thing was the clicking of the stile and I was through. The fear and exhilaration of going in on my own sank in. Programme and then up the steps and behind the goal. Time flew, tangerine and red and white intermingled, then the teams were read out and Quixall hadn’t made it, Bradley had taken his place. Out came the teams and the roar that greeted both teams was deafening under the corrugated roof.

    It was only after the kick off that I remembered about Unc, Smidge and John, only to look round and see them not far behind with Unc with a big smile on his face... And as I turned back, Blackpool who had come out like a train went one up. Charnley had shot and Gregg had got to the ball at the same time as Blackpool's inside right, the ball came back out to Charnley who made no mistake 1-0 Blackpool. Not what was expected... Slowly United started to string passes together and slowly get a foothold in the game, but while Blackpool had Charnley they were always dangerous... Stiles, Setters and Foulkes started to get a grip and slowly but surely snuffed out any threats from their midfield and it was about ten minutes before half-time that Viollet got on the end of a Herd knock down and slipped a ball under the diving keeper, 1-1! In that final ten minutes United went for the jugular as Sir Matt was seen urging his men on while dominating and just seconds before half time Charlton unleashed one of his thunderbolts that never rose more than a foot off the floor and didn’t stop until it hit he back of the net. So fast the keeper didn’t dive until Blackpool kicked off again! The referee then blew his whistle for half-time. It was only then that I realised I didn’t need to be taken to games, i’d really been on my own and wasn't bothered, but as most reds will tell you are never alone with United fans...

    The second half started much like the first with United on the back foot and Blackpool coming close on several occasions, but the stuffing was soon knocked out of them as Viollet rounded off a five man move and slotted the ball home with aplomb into the bottom corner. As the game continued United relaxed and Blackpool pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining. United upped their game again and though there was no more goals United ran out comfortable 3-2 winners.

    Blackpool was a great warm up for the game we always looked forward to... SPURS at home next week. Could I wait..? Could I bloody hell!! But first I had to get home and for that I would need Unc and as always he was there waiting...

  4. #204

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    GREAT READ, pal!!!

  5. #205
    Thank you kind sir. Sorry don't go on twitter at the mo... Nice too hear from you, hope you and family are well. Enjoy weekend and a belated happy new year!

  6. #206

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Another great read

  7. #207
    I know most of you will know what is coming up next...

    This year will be different, I've been saying this for a few years... Tomorrow as every red knows is an anniversary we wished we weren't involved in, but we are.

    In some ways I feel for United fans who will grieve this day having not knowing what it was like... Sorry I'm not patronising, I'm just trying to make people understand what it was like... there will not only be me on this site who will have witnessed it first hand, but I'm sure they will have different views and memories...

    My time tomorrow will be spent in two different time lines. I will walk down Warwick road (sorry Sir Matt, but on this day it will always be Warwick road) remembering the great times, great players... memories that I was lucky to have that's an impossibility to put into words... The feeling of sorrow for many a United fan that never witnessed a side that was one to behold, a feeling of sorrow that those same fans can only see bits in black 'n' white on some youtube video that doesn't do justice to the wealth of talent that Sir Matt had and nurtured with his talents... realising if it wasn't for the 'Babes' United wouldn't be where they are today... the end product as such and the culture you see that runs through United even today started with these players... You might think a) I'm going a bit over the top and b) It's an old man reminiscing and over exaggerating... maybe, but I say it as I see it!

    Once that walk of seeing players getting off buses and walking down with kids and playing with tennis balls and involving anybody was a thing to behold... Of seeing 'big' Dunc smiling and talking to anybody, seeing Byrne the best United full back I'VE ever seen with boots tied together round his neck while he signed autographs, Whelan with a big coat with collars turned like a spiv, trying not to be seen... until he got on the pitch... then the full-backs only saw the back of him... it goes on and on...

    Then the hard part... getting over the bridge and hitting the forecourt. Where upon seeing the brick wall of the scoreboard end my eyes will slowly drift to the left and the players entrance... where I will remember the forecourt lined off and grown men (which in those days was unheard of) crying as coffin after coffin was driven out of Old Trafford all going in there different directions to there allotted plots, where City fans came to pay tribute to United players plus their own in Bert Trautman... where photographers took the minimum of pictures and left cameras which had big bulbs on the front limp hanging round there next as several of there compatriots perished as well...

    I will walk around the ground and see it as how I remember... and as promised I will go in the ground and just stand, stare, and remember and recall what once was.... and to me... will always be... UNITED.

  8. #208
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Nice and moving read, worriedturkey.

  9. #209

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    great, moving read again, thank you WT

  10. #210
    This was one of the games I (and still do to this day) look forward to, the aristocrats of the 'smoke' against the mighty Manchester Giants. Yes it was United versus Spurs, a team I held in high admiration; a blend of football that Nicholson had bred into Spurs; artistry with a good work-rate. Something taken from the United sides of the 50's... something we were trying to achieve and under Sir Matt, we had faith would happen again.

    We had started the season in a positive light, we had seven points from a possible ten, and more than anything we'd played some good football while at the same time looking vulnerable. Today would be our biggest test to-date. The Spurs team tripped of the tongue; Brown a keeper of note and in front of him a defence built like brick sh*thouses , Baker, Blanchflower, Henry, the granite chinned Norman (trying to get round him is reminiscent of a juggernaut going round a roundabout......it took ages!) with the 'man' Mackay in midfield a barrel chested man mountain who never thought he would lose any tackle that he went into. (He and 'Nobby' had some tremendous battles in their careers with no quarter asked and none given. Nowadays of mamby pamby football these players would never be on the park...tackles flew in from any angle and with force that modern footballers would be still rolling on the floor when the floodlights were being turned off for the night!!!) Spurs had an attack that possibly as individuals were the best but as a unit they were second to none.... Dyson a winger you just didn't give an inch. Smithy and White at the head, robust, big and powerful headers but also with a touch on the floor. Jones another fine and direct winger and a very good crosser of a ball. Allen a quick touch player who had an eye for a killer pass and a player who used to 'ghost' into the box.

    These are all the thoughts that went through my head as I rose out of bed. Another warm day, butterflies soon came and stayed as expectations were getting higher as I played different ways of not only stopping Spurs but getting past to score (I shouldn't really be bothered about that as we always seemed to score against Spurs......but for some strange reason they scored more sometimes......lol)

    By the time I met up with 'unc', I'd picked about five different formations… My head was bursting.... sod it! Let Sir Matt have the headache, he never picked my teams anyway! 'unc' just said Bradley out Quixall in. Quixall hadn't played last week against Blackpool but had trained this week. On the train to the game it looked as though it was going to be another big gate as more than norm for this time were milling about and as we got Warwick road it was a sea of red n white... The smell of the pies came wafting up the road so we knew where Smidge would be heading straight away!

    'unc' and Smidge (after his pie) headed for the pub… Me? I said i'd meet up in the Stretford End in the usual spot.....the turnstiles weren't open yet but the queue was already growing to a fair size, with jostling and swaying, sweat was pouring down me (it was a hot day to begin with...)....then the click of the turnstiles started up and the excitement grew with every little step......destination was reached and with a sweaty hand I gave my money to the flat capped man behind the grill... Hand in pocket for my programme money... and purchase made... and up the steps to the 'end of dreams' at the top of the steps you always stopped and just looked and thought 'if only that was me running onto that pitch...'(the bubble was soon burst when some big burly bloke moved you to one side, to get past to his usual spot...) looking from the top of the Stretford End you couldn't see the actual scoreboard because the roof cut off the view. Down to our spot and wait… the hour and half soon went until the teams were announced (smart arse 'unc' got it right... dummy here didn't) the kick-in was always watched with fascination as Greggy with sleeves rolled up and cap on faced shot after shot as Charlton, Quixall, Herd, Pearson and Viollet put him through his paces... It was only after the teams were called in for their final five minutes before kick-off that I realised 'unc' and Smidge weren't there... oh I thought they're hiding as the norm for that pair... out came the teams as the sun shone down on Old Trafford, the pitch as usual at this part of the season was magnificent... a bowling green....

    Spurs lined up in their white shirts and black shorts, they looked confident, Mackay had his chest puffed out ready for battle, his brylcreemed black hair glistening in the sun… God he was frightening, but in his path stood 'Nobby' the toothless (only mouth wise...) wonder, grinning and ready! This was going to be a battle...

    As was the way of these matches it set of at a furious pace with tackles flying in thick and fast, bodies being put on the line and no look of hurt, no weakness shown… Slowly the game settled and football eventually took over, United were in the ascendancy and the Spurs team was being pulled all over the park by a fluent United performance, this you felt was going to be our year. Mackay and Norman steadied the Spurs team down, but still the silky running of Charlton and Quixall was causing the Spurs trouble, Herdy was having a battle royal with Blanchflower and Norman and was just edging the battle, in defence Foulkes and Setters were commanding the Spurs attack whose only outlet of note was Jones who had tormented Brennan for a while, but slowly and surely Brennan was coming to terms and was getting the worst of it now. An absorbing first half was brought to life even more when Charlton on one of his raids played a perfect pass to Herd who in turn laid it into the path of the onrushing Quixall who beat Brown all ends up, United were 1 up and was worth every inch of it. The half-time whistle went, would this break our way of playing? Would it help Spurs? In ten minutes we would know, but in the meantime the teams went off to a deafening ovation…

    The second half started much like the first with tackles that today would have resulted in both teams being several men short. Stiles started like a Trojan and got on top of Mackay, which as the game wore on resulted in United getting the upper hand but could not go on and get the decisive second goal. The Spurs attack was blunted by a red brick wall of defenders and in the end it was two evenly matched sides who couldn't break each other down. The last ten minutes started to get a bit feisty again but United held on to record a 1-0 win, the roar of appreciation and relief that greeted the final whistle must have been heard all over Manchester. Over fifty seven thousand was at the game and to a man they all applauded. Then it dawned on me, where was ‘unc ‘ and Smidge? The game had been, so enthralling I hadn't given them a second thought… looking around they were nowhere to be seen. Luckily I had my cardboard ticket stubb for the train, so off I set among the throng of jostling supporters who all had the same thing in mind and that was to head for their transport home. It was only when I got to Lancashire cricket ground that I spotted ‘unc’ on one side of the road and Smidge on the other, waiting and trying to spot me. It came about that they’d stayed longer in the pub than usual and when they got round the back of the Stretford End the queues were so long that they had to go in the paddock to be sure of getting in to see the game… All talk was of the tackles that had occurred during the game… and our chances now of the league… Me? I was sure….


  11. #211
    Well we were off and running having collected nine from a possible twelve points. Surely (as the thoughts and calculations went through my mind like a steam train through a tunnel) this was it! This was going to be our year, the football played was at last coming together, there was rumours of more signings (rings a bell, doesn't it....) and the garden was looking rosey.

    The week after we played Spurs we went to Cardiff. Herdy was rested due to a niggle and was replaced by the battering Dawson, who found the net in a 2-1 win. 11 from 14 points, expectations were (in my mind) getting high, Unc being unc said it was too early... did he just love putting me in my place... or did he know something I didn't? Anyway a young boy can dream.

    Two days later the reds faced a trip to the Villa, where by all accounts we were lucky to come away with a one all draw thanks to a Nobby Stiles toe poke, though some said that after being under the cosh for most of the game we could have still won on chances created. I put the dropped points down to Cantwell being out (strain). He was not only a good captain, but a great organiser and though I take nothing away from his replacement Dunne (who went on to be one of the most reliable full-backs to wear a red shirt), Cantwell would have been missed. Herd had come back and Gaskell had replaced Gregg in goal, but all in all a draw wasn't a bad result. 12 from 16 points and still on the heels of the leaders.... just what did Unc know!

    Next up was the derby. It was a warm sunny day, City were mid-table and getting mixed results, good one week and bad the next. Which City team would turn up? It was fingers crossed time. Gregg in for Gaskell was the only change from the Villa game. It turned out to be a really good game with United running out 3-2 winners, with Nobby again popping up to score, Viollet scoring the winner and an own goal (though the ball was going in from a Herdy header when it deflected off one of the City players and nestled in the net). 14 from 18 points. Ipswich were now looking over their shoulders..... and I was getting a stiff neck from looking so far up the table at our position!

    The following week brought the waning Wolves side, who had found this season hard and weren't playing with the fluency of years gone by, whereas we were on the up. The rock, Setters had got an injury in the derby, so wasn't playing, as had Viollet. They were replaced by Lawton and Giles respectively. The game started slowly and United looked like a team, who had played every day for a week, they looked leggy and as much as Charlton, Giles and Stiles tried they couldn't make the breakthrough that was required. Wolves came and stifled the threat of Dawson and Pearson - they just couldn't get into the game. Wolves scored an early goal and in the end try as they might United just couldn't break down a resolute Wolves defence. It was all over when Wolves, in one of their rare attacks scored again and left Old Trafford with the spoils. United had lost 2-0. Were doubts creeping in..? Surely not, it was just a blip, wasn't it?!

    The following week saw us visit West Brom. They were another team that in the past we've had some good games against. Moir came in for Pearson, Gaskell again deputised for Gregg (who was sustaining more injuries just lately) and Lawton was still in for Viollet, but all told we should do well. Again Unc being Unc was talking on the walk up to the Hawthorns saying we would do well to get something out off this game as United weren't playing as fluent and the side looked a little lopsided. The game kicked off and United got into their stride early pushing the Brom back and the early pressure told as Dawson with one of his trademark headers put United in front (what did Unc know eh!) United continued to dominate but couldn't make their superiority tell and it was no surprise when West Brom scored to bring the scores level in the second half. It was only some stout defending and good goalkeeping from Gaskell that United came away with a valuable point.

    15 from 22 points... and my neck was becoming less stiff as United slowly slid down the table. To coin a phrase of Unc's.... IT WAS STILL EARLY DOORS......

  12. #212
    October had started with an away draw at West Brom and looking at the fixture list for the rest of October and November it would be a telling time , we had Arsenal , Ipswich , Sheff wed , Bolton etc all teams that were either close to top or on a roll , but first we started with Birmingham at home . We had picked up four points from a possible eight but our football wasn't something to write home about , as we walked down road there was a feeling of apprehension and rumours of injuries through the team , entering the ground paying my one and six (7p) and paying fourpence for my programme (2p) i got my pencil stubb ready and waited for the tannoy to announce the team......no Foulkes , no Quixhall , no Charlton...in had come Herd , Bradley and Haydock and Gregg was back in goal for Gaskell .
    Murmurings were going round the ground and it was with unease in the ground that the teams came out........The game got underway and United were into their stride and although they dominated midfield there was no punch and they looked disjointed....Birmingham slowly and surely started to snuff out the United midfield and take control , players were looking round for leadership and no matter how hard Cantwell tried to drive and urge United forward it was to no avail Birmingham went a goal up mid way through the first half and half time couldn't come quick enough.....with Birmingham leading 1-0 the whistle went for half -time , Matt would have his work cut out with his team talk....

    The second half started much like the first with United striving to get back in the game and as much like the first half Birmingham slowly started to get into the game and again nullified the United midfield and it wasn't long before they scored a second and putting the game to bed with ease.....things didn't look right.....and coming out of the ground sounds of doom and gloom was evident...........it didn't look good for next week when we visited the Gunners .

    The next seven days went fast and the saturday was here in no time.....listening to the radio for the team news.....Stiles was out injured , Quixhall was still out , Dawson was out....Viollet was back as was Bobby Charlton and Foulkes and though this seemed a bit better the team still didn't make me ooze with confidence.....getting snatches off the radio and United were being put to the sword as Arsenal ran through them like a warm knife through butter , 1-0 in no time 2-0 then 3-0 ........come on united.....and then we pulled a goal back...3-1.....did this give me hope!......well it did for ten minutes till Arsenal made it 4-1........and to make matters worse they scored again just before the final whistle........5-1.
    A lot of head shaking went on that night and a lot of questions were asked......just what was going wrong......injuries.....confidence.....even Matt was mentioned in some quarters (not by me i must add.....) Matt would get it right in the end , he had done it before and he will do it again............

    The following Saturday saw the visit of Bolton , though not having a good season themselves they were still a threat........again rumours of injuries as we got off the train at Warwick road and though some were without any foundation there still was a feeling of gloom floating around as we walked what seemed a long road..................as it turned out Cantwell was missing as was Giles....in came Tony Dunne and Viollet..........we were still also lacking Pearson (who hadn't played for a couple of weeks....) and Quixhall from the team who had made such a bright start to the season......but surely we had enough too see of this Bolton side.....
    Attendances had started to fall and there was just over 31,000 in for the kick off , the first quarter of an hour saw very little difference between the sides as misplaced pass after misplaced pass was made.....then the only real bit of decent football brought the first goal , after keeping possession and playing simple football the first goal was scored 1-0 Bolton.....looking across the pitch you could see heads going down already and as much as Charlton tried he couldn't get any flow going and Bolton took complete control , it wasn't long before they scored a second and carried on where they left off in the second half running out 3-0 winners ....it was a dejected United team that walked off the field at the final whistle and looking across at the dug out Matt looked older than his years........he had a lot on his shoulders and a lot of work to do to get his side up and playing the football he wanted......but if anyone could do it MATT COULD..........couldn't he !!


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