Trivia and Anecdotes - Pre '66 England Team

Supporters Trivia and Anecdotes


After making my Latics debut I was flavour of the month (and believe me that is about as long as it lasted,) but it coincided with the England youth trials taking place at the Cliff (United's practice ground). I was sent along from Oldham as the token fourth division player. The trials consisted of 2 days of games and I found myself being marked by Len Badger who was to go on to play several hundred games with Sheffield Utd. I never got past him once!

Tommy Smith was on team 'one' given that he was already an 'up and comer' at Liverpool. I daren't go anywhere near him, he was absolutely fearsome; huge thighs, snarling countenance; he didn't need to tackle any other 16 year olds, just look at them!

The hit of the canteen, even in those days was Barry Fry, at that time he was a United' babe, but I remember him intriguing everyone with his patter about life at Utd. and football in general the whole of the 2 days. Little surprise to me that he went on to become a larger than life manager.

Allan Ball's squeacky voice competed with Barry's but was a bit more egotistical, even in those days. He had recently made his debut with Blackpool but if I recall correctly he never got higher than team 4 in the trials, ( strange that 4 short years later he was to become a hero of the world cup.)

George Jones who played for Bury about the same time as I played at Oldham was also in the trial but I don't remember which team he made. (Edís comment - How about Oldham!)

The Cliff had other memories in that in one Oldham A game I played against George Best who was about a year younger than me. I don't remember how he played that day but I recall my dad singing the praises of 'that little, black haired winger playing for Utd."

Dave Hodkinson (ex-Latics player 1961-64)

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