Manchester United's Debt To The Noble Art Of Self-Defence!
"Why the Best Soccer Managers at Manchester United are Scotsmen"
My Dad was a popular Manchester pugilist of the 30's and 40's hailing from the old Harry Fleming Collyhurst, Manchester stable that boasted the likes of that trio of great boxing champions in Jock McAvoy, Johnny King and Jackie Brown. World, European and British champions all in the same era as well as the same stable!.
In those days the only way out of the poverty rut was to fight your way out and boxing was a good way to ventilate a mans' natural aggression and frustration with the inequalities of life - hence the noble art became a noble trade.
You might therefore think my answer to my own subject question prejudice because of my family background in boxing but I think it is true. Old Trafford is the 'theatre of dreams' and from such comes the greatest soccer support in the world but that has been via the hardest game of all ......boxing!
In the late 20's and 30's the smog-ridden city of Manchester gave its citizens something to cheer about and the Kings Hall at Belle Vue Manchester was full to capacity when the three great pugilistic champions Brown, King and McAvoy
performed - they were world, European and British champions.
The very talented flyweight World champion Jackie Brown lost his title to a great little Scot called wee Benny Lynch.
Johnny King was the last of the great three champions and he lost his bantamweight title to another Scot Jackie Patterson in 1947. Patterson went on to win the world flyweight title.
The Cotton City was sad but not for long!
All that passion for sporting excellence that gave so many something to live for in those hard days was transferred to soccer - they did not have to wait long, for the very next year a Scot called Matt Busby won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1948.
The new 'sporting mecca' transferred from Belle Vue across the city to Old Trafford and so the story of sporting success continued - that stable of champion boxers was centred in Collyhurst i.e. within a mile of Newton Heath where the soccer legend first began and the true support was born.
Local players like future England internationals Nobby Stiles, Brian Kidd and Wilf McGuinness were waiting in the wings ready for Sir Matt Busby to cultivate their talent to play for the greatest team on God's earth - Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson is an extension of the sporting legacy - chosen because he too hails from a city that was one of the most polluted in Europe during the Industrial Revolution - Glasgow and like Sir Matt before him understands what the people of Manchester need - total commitment to sporting excellence and success!!!
When Jackie Brown lost his world title to wee Benny Lynch and Johnny King his British bantam title to Jackie Patterson maybe the Scottish sporting debt to Manchester was repaid by the most successful soccer managers in British soccer history coming to Manchester United - true Scotsmen in Sir Matt and Sir Alex. These great managers are the 'chosen ones' who have reminded all Mancunians that legends never die whilst memories live on - speaking as a Mancunian - "let's hope that applies to the debt too!"
Ken Miller A Mancunian domiciled in Allestree Derby 01332 554138
PS Before I joined the Royal Navy I was a schoolboy boxing champion - my old school - Newton Heath Technical High.
PPS The photo of the bravest - Bert Trautmann awarding the author his Manchester Schoolboy boxing medal. This is indicative - Bert was the Manchester City goalkeeper, this was in 1954 and the place where he awarded the medal was Newton Heath Technical School - enemy trerritory - for this is the very district where Manchester United FC was first formed and their first club name - 2 years later Bert proved he was even braver still - he refused to leave the Wembley pitch until Man City had won the FA Cup in 1956!
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