Colin Bell -(Manchester City) - I was an assistant referee when Rochdale FC played Manchester City in the days of A and B teams. I gave a throw in to Rochdale and the City contingent all shouted 'our ball', it's what footballers do, except for Colin Bell who said 'The Linesman was right'. What an honour to get approval from such a great player, and furthermore he was transfered to City from Bury FC who have a Claim To Fame themselves holding the record 6-0 for the highest FA Cup Final win of all time. The game took place on April 18th 1903 and Bury were the first Club to win the cup without conceding a goal in all the rounds. Interestingly enough the game was held at Crystal Palace as the FA Cup did not move to Wembley until 1923. Quite amazing to think Bury once won the FA Cup at all. In fact in modern times they are lucky to get past the first 2 rounds and the first time they got to the 3rd round in proverbial donkeys years they were chucked out for playing an unsigned player due to an administrative error. the same year West ham did a similar thing and got a fine. That's the premier league Clubs for you. My word , had Bury not been removed they may have gone on to win 7-0 against West Ham. There's a thought, and if they had I would certainly have gone and put that in my 'I was there column'.
George Best. Amazingly I have actually played football against George Best. I was playing for the Grapes against Slack Alice in a nightclub challenge match. Best was clearly man of the match helping his side to a 4-3 victory. After he had left 5 players on the deck with an open goal to slide the ball in I ran into the goal with the intention of diving across to save his shot, (in those days you didn't get sent off for deliberate handball) George swivelled round and instead of the obvious he belted the ball towards me and as I stuck out my leg the ball went in between my leg and the post - At that point I had failed to stop him score the winner and realised what a genius he really was. I did not get his autograph that day as it seemed inappropriate but I had it in the aforementioned autograph book from 1968. The night club game was played around 1975/6 and was reported in the News of The World. It was around the time between Best playing for Fulham and The States. Sadly I missed the NOTW photo by about a yard. Saw him several times previously at The Cliff where training took place. Only about 400 yards from our house. Mike McLoughlin, a fellow altar boy at St.Boniface's became a personal friend of George Best and I believe is mentioned in a book somewhere, possibly in an Autobiography.I was filmed once coming out of the Cliff and that clip appeared in a Documentary on George Best but sadly this was broadcast in the pre-video days. It may still be in circulation somewhere.You can't miss me, I went back in and out again just to make sure I was filmed, so, I'm the one you see coming out twice. Well I wouldn't be Claim To Fame Man would I if I didn't get noticed ! Incidentally, the week George Best died FC Untied played at Macclesfield Town's Ground and had a one minute appluase in his memory. I was on the line that day and thought to myself I'm the only player on here who has actually played against the football genius.