Home The Club Trips & Information Members Interests Business Minutes Guest Speakers

Minutes of the 376th meeting held at 10:00 in Stokesley Town Hall on Tuesday 21st May 2019

Speaker Colin Hatton: Three stories in one.

Colin is a retired mechanical engineer and project manager. He also worked in the design of petro-chemical plants. Since retirement he has become an author with a second book waiting to be published.

Colin explained that the talk would normally consist of three parts but due to time constraints he would begin the talk at the end of the first part. The common thread would be a certain footballer.

The footballer was Brian Clough. The mother of the speaker was named Clough but during his investigations there was no link on the family tree with Brian Clough.

Colin showed photographs of Middlesbrough football players of bygone years (1952) and compared the conditions and pay of those players and present day players. One of the old players, Ernie Wardle was related to Colin.

In the 1st World War Britain had the largest Merchant fleet in the world and the ships were built in Britain. In 1917/18 Haverton Hill shipyard was built with the backing of a gentleman called Marmaduke Furness.

When the yard was finished and workers were employed inter departmental sports competitions were played. One of these was football. The winners of this football competition were awarded the Vicountess Furness trophy and all the finalists were awarded a gold medal. The first winners were the shipwrights in 1921 and they won again in the following year.

The final was always played on a Friday night and junior football events were soon included with children playing on the same fields as the adults. The cup was taken home by one of the players and although it was valuable was displayed in the front window of various houses, something that would be unlikely in the present day.

The last tournament was in 1968 and the team of platers were the winners. The team then took the cup on a night out in Billingham and Stockton. The cup being left in the cloakroom of the Fiesta club as the bouncers would not allow it to be taken into the nightclub. The slender stem of the cup was broken and was mended and cleaned. After this Colin could find no player who knew what happened to the cup.

After contacting various organisations the cup was found in a bank and was exhibited with Pools panel. The cup has its own case and is considerably larger than the FA Cup. The cup was returned to the bank and its whereabouts are now unknown.

The next part of the talk concerned Brian Clough who was born in 1935 and was spotted playing for Great Broughton. In May 1952 Clough signed for Middlesbrough FC. The player who impressed Clough the most was Wilf Mannion who although slight and comparatively small was a brilliant footballer. His best display for Middlesbrough (among many) was in 1947 when in a match against Blackpool he was unstoppable. After the match Wilf said he was trying to impress his wife Bernadette who had never been to football match before. She never went to another one?

The reserve goalkeeper at the time Clough joined Middlesbrough was Peter Taylor who became his partner in future management of other clubs. Unfortunately the two had a disagreement and when Taylor died in 1990 it had not been resolved. This was a cause of great regret to Clough.

In the 1959/60 season Middlesbrough had a good team but did not get promoted. It turned out than some players were deliberately throwing games and some were eventually prosecuted. Clough became disillusioned and put in a transfer request, which was denied.

The football club had a deserved reputation for being mean, only renewing boots every two years was only one instance of this. If a player needed another set he had to buy them himself.

Eventually Clough was sold to Sunderland for £42,000 and he scored 51 goals in 61 appearances before an injury in a match against Bury ended his playing career. The Sunderland manager Alan Brown became a mentor for Clough when he himself became a manager. George Hardwick who also Managed Sunderland also helped him at the beginning.

Hartlepool was the first club he managed. Len Shackleton was instrumental in him getting the job. With Taylor (who had a talent for spotting good players) he transformed the club and brought unknown success. This was due to hard work. Clough even drove the team bus.

Together Clough and Taylor went on to successfully manage other clubs but there was generally a problem between Clough and the Chairman. This was especially true at Derby and Leeds. Due to the deal he had signed at Leeds when he was sacked Clough became financially secure and this would last for the rest of his life. He blamed his sacking on the Leeds player Johnny Giles and he never forgave him.

Clough was eccentric in some of his dealings with the players and before a final played in Malmo allowed each player a can of lager (but only one) to calm their nerves,

Brian Clough retired in April 1993 and died in 2004 at the age of 69. Trevor Francis called him the greatest manager he had worked with. Geoffrey Boycott who became a great friend of Clough was delayed on the way to the memorial service; to allow him time to get there the service itself was held back until he arrived.