1959: Manchester United

The story so far. Having made their way past non-league Ilford and fellow Division Three southers, Swindon Town, the Canaries were faced with the thrilling/frightening prospect of facing the might of Manchester United at Carrow Road on the second Saturday in January 1959.

One seven-year old supporter found it difficult to be optimistic. Writing in his diary on the eve of the match the recorded:

Friday 9th January

Tomorrow we play Manchester United. When we were having tea, Dad said that he thought they would score six unless we had two goalkeepers or boarded up the goal. I wish he hadn’t said that but I think that he’s probably right.

Twenty-four hours later, he could hardly believe what had happened.

Saturday 10th January

We beat Manchester United 3-0. It was amazing. Mum took me to the bus stop for the 81 and I had to go down the city on my own. I took mine and Dad’s dinner in a shopping bag and we had it in his office. We had tomato soup out of a flask, cheese and chutney sandwiches and an apple. There were thousands of people walking down King Street through the snow and slush. When we got in, people let me through to the front and I could just see through the railings. There was snow all over the pitch. It was very cold but no one seemed to mind when we scored. I nearly got lost on the way out but Dad had said to meet him on Carrow Bridge if I couldn’t find him. I waited there and he did come. When we got home we had sprats for tea and then Mum let me go out across Dereham Road to the newsagents to buy a Pink Un and some fruit gums. The Pink Un headline was ‘Bly, Bly Babes’. I thought that was really clever, although Errol Crossan scored one and he wasn’t in the headline.

This is the most I have ever written in my diary for one day (196 words, not counting this sentence)

Monday meant back to school in the full knowledge that, at 12.30 pm, the Light Programme would be “going over live to Lancaster Gate.”

Monday 12th January

Everyone in my class wanted to talk to Sally Nethercott today. It must be brilliant if your Dad is a Norwich City footballer. Michael Ashman is in Mrs Robson’s class. I bet everyone was talking to him as well, especially as Mrs Robson likes football. I wonder if Errol Crossan has any children.

When I went home for dinner, Mum put the wireless on and we listened to the draw for the next round. We are at home to Cardiff City. Dad didn’t get home on his bike until ten to one so we told him we were playing Cardiff. They’re quite good but not as good as Manchester United. We should beat them. I hope that I can get a ticket again.

To be continued...

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