Boxing Day football. A 40,000 plus gate for a home game against opponents from the North West brings back unfortunate memories …
My first Boxing Day at Roker Park.
We’re second placed and it looks like being a promotion season.
Bury are the opposition, and again – at Gigg Lane – in a few days. They’re up near the top, too, but a couple of wins seems eminently attainable, a win at home and a draw away surely the least we can expect.
The team: Monty; Nelson, Ashurst; Harvey, Hurley, McNab; Davidson, Herd, Clough, Fogarty, Mulhall.
But visitors from Lancashire score the only goal, Charlie Hurley misses a penalty and, worst of all, Brian Clough suffers an ultimately career-wrecking injury in a one-one-one with the Bury keeper Chris Harker.
I remember it as if it were yesterday, not 48 years ago tomorrow. I was on the Fulwell with Pete Sixsmith. And not far away, in the main stand paddock by the Fulwell corner flag, was Kate Adie.
Her recollection, as I have previously explained, is a little less accurate. She thought Cloughie was hurt “going up for a header”.
So we lost. And again, by 3-0, at Bury. The defeats were among the events that defined our season and another 1-0 reverse, against Chelsea in the last game of the season, allowed them to go up instead of us. Promotion had to wait another year.
Let us fervently hope that visitors from Lancashire fail tomorrow where Bury succeeded. Three points for us, however they come, will get our season back on track – and make us a little more confident about the difficult trips to Blackburn on Monday, and Everton not long afterwards.