The League’s Annual Dinner


The League over the past 20 years has held a Presentation Dinner at the end of each Season, to present awards to Clubs/Players and Officials of the Member Clubs of the League who have won an award during the Season. The Event has taken place in the Durham Town Hall, The Three Tunns Hotel Durham, and Newcastle Uniteds Function Rooms and Currently at the prestigious settings of the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham. Over the Years the League has had some of the Top after Dinner Speakers; speaking at the Dinner accompanied by some of the Best Local Comedians. I have listed some of the Football Legends/Greats who have spoken at these Functions.

GRAHAM KELLY

The former Chief Executive of the English Football Association, former Blackpool bank clerk, Kelly was the Chief Executive of the FA from 1988 until his sudden departure after allegedly promising a £3.2 million loan to the Welsh F.A. in 1998, in return for helping another executive become vice-president of FIFA. He was subsequently cleared by FIFA of any incorrect or improper actions. He is possibly best known to football fans for his lack of charisma whilst hosting the televised draws for the FA Cup. Since leaving his post, Mr. Kelly has written a book called Sweet FA, been involved with negotiating to bring a £100 million-a-year motor racing venture called Premier One Grand Prix to fruition with Colin Sullivan, writing a weekly column for The Independent newspaper, and broadcasting on the radio station Talk Sport. In Sweet FA, he reveals that Chelsea's chairman Ken Bates "Has a sensitive side “and” Cried when a much loved pet died and that Alan Shearer threatened to walk out on England's World Cup squad if the FA considered holding an inquiry into the incident where Shearer appeared to kick Leicester's Neil Lennon in the head.

ALAN DURBAN

Is yet another Derby transfer "snip" - but he doesn’t come under the Clough banner. The Port Talbot-born schemer came from Cardiff City for a mere £12,000 seven years ago and, although always rated as a skilful individualist at inside forward, he lacked the surroundings to prosper as Derby diced with relegation to Division III. Even when Clough came, Durban had his "downs", dropping into the reserves at the end of 1968 and thinking about a transfer. Then he was switched to the midfield general’s role - and hasn’t looked back. He returned to the First Division in which he had appeared briefly for Cardiff as an 18-year-old and the Welsh honours began to pile up. He finished Derby’s Second Division Championship with a hat-trick against Bristol City and a few weeks later captained his country in the Home Championship. Managed Sunderland Afc


RONNIE WHELAN

The son of a Republic of Ireland international, also Ronnie, he made his League of Ireland début with Home Farm at the age of 16 and shortly afterwards joined Liverpool. He won virtually all of soccer’s major awards with the club over a 14-year period, including six League Championships (1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1990), two FA Cup medals (1986 and 1989, the latter as captain) a European Cup medal (1984), three League Cup medals (1982, 1983 and 1984) and five Charity Shields. In his long career at Liverpool he played 492 games for the club, scoring 73 goals. He was capped at Schoolboy, Youth and Under-21 level before his senior international début for the Republic of Ireland against Czechoslovakia at Lansdowne Road in April 1981. He played an important part in the build-up to the Republic’s first participation in the world Cup finals in Italy in 1990. He was also major figure in the 1988 European Championship at Stuttgart, West Germany, scoring a memorable goal against the USSR. He won a total of 53 caps for Ireland, scoring three goals. When Whelan left Liverpool in 1994 he joined Southend United as a player, becoming their manager the following year. His brief and unhappy spell as Southend manager ended in 1997 with the club being relegated to the Second Division of the Football League and Whelan taking the club to court over unpaid monies (and winning).
In 1998 he joined Greek side Panionios, taking them to the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners Cup. In 1999 he took over as manager of Olympiakos Nicosia in Cyprus.


JIM BAXTER

seen here with the League Secretary Graham Lilley.Jim Baxter was born in the Fife mining village of Hill O'Beath on 29 September 1939. Having begun work down the mines while playing junior football with local side, Crossgates Primrose, Baxter continued his day job after signing part-time for Raith Rovers in 1957. He soon signed on full-time at Starks Park and picked up international recognition for the first time when he was selected for Scotland under-21s against Wales in 1958. A move to Rangers materialised in June 1960 for a fee of £17,500 and he made his competitive debut for the club against Partick Thistle in the League Cup on 13 August that year. In the five years he played in his first spell at Ibrox, he won three championship medals (1961, 1963 and 1964), three Scottish Cup medals (1962, 1963 and 1964) and four League Cup winners' medals (1960, 1961, 1963 and 1964). 'Slim Jim', as he was known, won the first of 34 full international caps in the months following his move to Rangers. His debut came in a 5-2 victory over Northern Ireland on 9 November in the British International Championship. Some of Baxter's finest moments came in a Scotland jersey and, fittingly, he is best remembered for performances against the Auld Enemy at Wembley. In 1963, Baxter inspired 10-man Scotland to a 2-1 victory over the English, scoring both goals himself after Eric Caldow had broken his leg. But it is the 1967 match when Scotland became 'world champions' for a day that sticks out in the memories of any Scots who have seen the pictures. Scotland won 3-2 that day against the World Cup winners and Baxter ran the show, mocking the English team with all manner of trickery. It was typical of the man, who many considered arrogant, but who could not have been the same player if his cheek had been curtailed. In April 1965, Baxter made his final appearance for Rangers in that period before moving to Sunderland for £72,000. He spent 18 months at Roker Park but never quite recaptured the form he had shown at Ibrox. A move to Nottingham Forest in December of 1967 was less successful yet and 18 months later he found himself back at Ibrox. Baxter ran his own pub for some time, but his love of the good life eventually saw that collapse. His drinking habits finally led to two life-saving live transplants in the mid-90s, after which he pledged to stop drinking. He was diagnosed as having cancer of the pancreas at the beginning of February and died on Saturday 14 April at home in Glasgow.

ALAN BALL MBE

World Cup Winner Alan Ball MBE1945: Born Farnworth, Lancashire, May 12. 1962: Joined Blackpool, for whom he made 116 league appearances and scored 41 goals. 1965: Made England debut in a 1-1 draw against Yugoslavia in Belgrade. 1966: A World Cup winner with England in July. A month later, he was sold to Everton for a record £110,000 for whom he played 208 games and scored 66 goals.1968: FA Cup runner-up. 1970: Won League championship medal. 1971: Transferred to Arsenal for £220,000, another record, for whom he plyed 177 games and scored 45 goals.1972: FA Cup runner-up. 1973: Became only second England player in history to be sent off, against Poland in Chorzow. 1975: Won the last of 72 England caps, skippering the national side in a 5-1 win over Scotland at Wembley. 1976: Sold to Southampton - 132 games, 9 goals. 1978: Begins spell in the United States as player-boss of Philadelphia Fury. 1979: League Cup runner-up with Southampton. 1980: Rejoins Blackpool - 30 games, 5 goals - after a spell in Canada as player-manager of Vancouver Whitecaps. 1981: Quits as Blackpool player-manager and returns for a second spell with Southampton - 63 games, 2 goals. 1983: Joins Bristol Rovers - 17 games, 2 goals - after playing in Hong Kong with Eastern. Retires in May after 975 first-team games in 21 years. 1984: Named manager of Portsmouth. 1987: Guides Pompey into the first division. 1989: Has a spell as coach at Colchester after parting company with Portsmouth. Later succeeds Mick Mills at Stoke City. 1991: Quits the Potters for an exciting new career as a publican (a few miles from where I grew up in Maidenhead. I went there a few times, admired the football pictures, but never saw him ! - Bob). Five months later, he returns to football as manager of third division Exeter. 1992: Joins Graham Taylor's England coaching staff. 1994: Leaves Exeter to become manager at Southampton alongside Lawrie McMenemy. 1995: Signs two-year extension to existing contract in May after taking Saints to tenth in Premiership. On July 1, agrees three-year contract as manager of Manchester City. 1996: City are relegated to Division One on final day of season, a 2-2 home draw with Liverpool not enough to keep them up. After City lose two of their first three matches of 1996-97, Ball quits Maine Road and says he wants a complete break from football. 1998: Takes over from Terry Fenwick for a second spell as Portsmouth manager, and they escape relegation on the last day of the season.

BOB STOKOE

Born in Mickley, Northumberland, Stokoe began his footballing career at Newcastle United, playing the first of 288 games, usually as centre-half, on Christmas Day 1950. The highlight of his time at Newcastle was the 3–1 1955 FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City. After leaving Newcastle, Stokoe spent a short time playing for Hartlepool United before making the move into management.Stokoe took the manager's post at Bury from 1961–1965, after which he moved south to take charge at Charlton Athletic from 1965–1967. There then followed three separate spells at Carlisle United (1968–1970, 1980–1983 and 1985–1986).Blackpool Between spells at Carlisle, Stokoe managed Blackpool from 1970–1972. He was initially approached by the club in the summer of 1969, after the departure of Stan Mortensen. At the time, he declined, preferring to stay with Carlisle; just over eighteen months later, however, he became the ninth official manager in Blackpool's history.With Blackpool relegated to the Second Division before he could get his feet under his desk, Stokoe began to clear out the "deadwood" and rebuilt the side more to his liking. Stokoe agreed to sell Tony Green to his old club, Newcastle, bringing striker Keith Dyson in the opposite direction.Before the departure of Green, Blackpool enjoyed a successful venture into Europe, winning the Anglo-Italian Cup in June 1971. In the league, meanwhile, the Seasiders finished in sixth place. This still wasn't good enough for the fans, however, who became disenchanted with life outside the top flight again, and the club's style of play under Stokoe was not to their liking.Another successful run in the Anglo-Italian Cup the following season (losing finalists to Roma) kept the critics at bay, but the feeling around Bloomfield Road was that the 1972–73 campaign would be critical.Stokoe's third season at Blackpool started well enough when, with the team reasonably placed for a promotion push and having stated that he intended to remain at the seaside for five years, he left the club. He had been lured back to his native north-east by Sunderland.SunderlandStokoe took over as manager of Sunderland on 23 November 1972 and six months later led them to their first FA Cup win since 1937. Stokoe took the Second Division club to Wembley and defeated the powerful Leeds United team packed with international players. None of the Sunderland players had been capped at the highest level when they lifted the cup, although some were capped later. The side finished 6th that season and narrowly missed promotion in the following two seasons.In 1975–76, he guided the Mackems to the Second Division title. He left Sunderland the following season after they struggled in the First Division.In May 1978, Stokoe returned to Blackpool with the club in dire straits. They had recently, under the managership of Allan Brown, been relegated to the league's basement division for the first time in their history and were looking for someone who could rebuild a once-proud playing tradition. He guided them to a mid-table finishing position, and then resigned again before the start of the 1979–80 season.There then followed spells with Rochdale (1979–1980) and Carlisle United (1980–1985 and 1985–1986). He led Carlisle to promotion to the Second Division in 1982, and in the 1983-84 season they became promotion contenders before a poor run saw them finish 7th.Towards the end of the 1986–87 season, he was appointed temporary manager of Sunderland as they struggled in the Second Division. They narrowly lost on goal difference in the end-of-season relegation-promotion playoffs and were relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history. His contract was not renewed and he retired from football.

GARY BENNET

Gary Ernest Bennett (born 4 December 1961 in Manchester) is a former English professional footballer who is most known for playing for Sunderland from 1985 to 1996. He originally started his career with Manchester City, but moved on to Cardiff City in 1981, without making any first team appearances, on a free transfer where he linked up with his brother Dave.He left Cardiff for £65,000 in July 1984 to join Sunderland. Bennett went on to play 369 league games with Sunderland scoring 23 goals before joining Carlisle United 11 years later. He later played in the Football League for Scarborough and Darlington (where he was also manager until being released in October 2001).He now works as a radio pundit and has regularly commentates on Sunderland games. His son has recently joined the academy of Middlesbrough F.C. a local rival to his former team Sunderland


BERNIE SLAVEN

Bernard Joseph "Bernie" Slaven (born 13 November 1960 in Paisley, Scotland) is a retired footballer who played internationally for the Republic of Ireland. The clubs he played for were: Morton, Airdrie, Queen of the South, Albion Rovers, Middlesbrough, Port Vale, and Darlington. MiddlesbroughBernie Slaven was to play for Middlesbrough after leaving Queen of the South. Then Middlesbrough manager Willie Madden picked Slaven up in October 1985 and he stayed until 1993. He is often considered one of the best buys ever made by 'Boro due to his prolific goalscoring exploits. An accurate finisher with good positional sense and good close control 'The Wolfman' scored 146 goals in 381 games, mostly playing in the number 7 shirt. Slaven was a model of consistency finishing top scorer on six consecutive seasons. Steve Pears said of him, "He passed the ball into the net."He was best known in football for his time spent at Middlesbrough, where he was a firm fans favourite. His customary goal celebration was to jump upon the fence at the Holgate End at Boro's old ground, Ayresome Park. When the ground was knocked down in 1996, Slaven acquired a section of the fence from the Holgate End, where it now sits, by his own admission, in his back garden.Whilst his goalscoring record is officially 146 goals in 381 games, Slaven states it to be 147 goals that he scored due to a penalty he notched in a shootout during a play-off semi final game. He acknowledges that it doesn't count as an official goal, but likes to consider as another one to his tally.In March 1993 Bernie Slaven left Premier League 'Boro to sign for Port Vale on a free transfer. He quickly gained the devotion of the Vale fans, scoring the goal that took Vale to their first Wembley performance in the then Autoglass sponsored Football League Trophy. In the final Bernie scored Vale’s second in the 2-1 victory over Stockport County and, to many, became a Vale legend in doing so. Slaven scored 9 league goals in 33 league games for Vale.Slaven hit 7 league goals in 37 league games for Darlington.His international career included a call-up for Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland squad for the 1990 World Cup, he didn't play in any of the games. In doing so Slaven became the third player with Queen of the South among his ex-clubs to travel to the World Cup finals after George Hamilton and Sam Malcolmson.Following his retirement, he played a handful of games for Billingham Synthonia F.C., who held a close relationship with Middlesbrough.He is now a presenter on the Legends football phone-in on Century Radio in the North-East along with other Legends Malcolm Macdonald (formerly of Newcastle United) and Micky Horswill (Sunderland A.F.C.). He represents Middlesbrough as their Legend. He recently had an autobiography, Legend?, published. In August 2006 he released a DVD called Lucky Slaven which features 90 of the Middlesbrough goals during his spell at the club. In October 2006, Bernie and his commentary partner Alastair Brownlee, won an award in New York for their commentary on Middlesbrough's UEFA Cup run in the 2005/2006 season.In 1999, Slaven bared his backside in Binns department store window in Middlesbrough following a bet on Century FM. He bet that if Middlesbrough beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, he would perform the dare. Middlesbrough beat Manchester United 3-2, so Slaven had to go ahead with the dare, with the score painted on his cheeks. In 2002, still a popular figure in the area, Slaven ran for the position of Mayor of Middlesbrough. Slaven admitted knowing little of politics and his campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.In early July 2007 Middlesbrough football club sold the rights of radio coverage of all matches for the forthcoming 3 years to BBC Radio Tees.Slaven's former Republic of Ireland international teammate Tony Cascarino claimed in his autobiography that, Slaven would telephone his dog every night when away from home with the squad: "... Bernie would be howling like Lassie into the phone 'Woof, woof, aru, aru, woof!' He'd be kissing the receiver and lavishing affection - 'Hello, lovey dovey' - on a dog!":


MICKY HORSWILL

(born March 6, 1953 in Annfield Plain, Durham) was a British professional footballer with Sunderland A.F.C. He first linked up with Sunderland when he was 12, starting with twice-weekly coaching and signing apprentice forms at the age of 15.In 1973, at the age of 19, he appeared in every round of the club's famous FA Cup run, helping Bob Stokoe's men to lift the famous trophy thanks to a 1-0 win over Leeds United at Wembley Stadium.A versatile midfield ball-winner, Horswill was a valuable link man between defence and attack and, during the 1973 cup run, got the better of more celebrated names such as Colin Bell of Manchester City, Arsenal's Alan Ball and Leeds' Johnny Giles.He is now a radio presenter on the North East branch of Century Radio on the 'Legends' show after Eric Gates departed after a dispute with the station.


JIM SMITH

James Michael "Jim" Smith (born October 17, 1940, Sheffield) is a former English football player and manager. He is currently a member of the board at Oxford United. His nickname is The Bald Eagle. Smith began his playing career in 1959, when he signed for hometown Sheffield United as a trainee (though Smith himself supports Sheffield Wednesday). After failing to break into the first team he was transferred to Aldershot for the 1961–1962 season.At the beginning of the 1965–1966 season, after scoring one goal in 74 league appearances, Smith left Aldershot to join Halifax Town. He made 113 league starts for Halifax, scoring 7 goals, before moving to Lincoln City in 1968. After a year at Lincoln in which he made 54 appearances Smith signed for non-league Boston United as player-manager.

JIMMY MONTGOMERY

(born 9 October 1943 in Sunderland) is a former footballer who will be forever remembered as the goalkeeper who pulled off an incredible double save in the 1973 FA Cup final, the famous 1-0 victory for Sunderland A.F.C. over Leeds United F.C. He made a record 623 appearances for Sunderland (537 league, 41 F.A. Cup, 33 League Cup, 4 European Cup Winners Cup, 8 others).He later played for Birmingham City F.C.. He also joined Nottingham Forest F.C. as Peter Shilton's understudy and although he never played for them, he still managed to pick up a European Cup winner's medal, as an unused substitute in the 1980 final. After his football career ended he became a goalkeeping coach, but he is now retired and still resides in his native Sunderland.He was often acknowledged as the best goalkeeper never to play for the England national football team.


BOBBY KERR

(born November 16, 1947 in Alexandria, Scotland) is a former football midfielder, who captained Sunderland A.F.C. to victory in the 1973 FA Cup final versus Leeds United.Kerr, nicknamed the 'Little General' due to his tough style of play and lack of height, made 413 starts and 14 substitute appearances between 1964 and 1979 for Sunderland, and is widely acknowledged as one of the clubs greatest ever servants. After twice breaking his leg at the start of his Sunderland career, Kerr overcame the set backs to lead Sunderland to FA Cup glory - a feat which is seen as one of the greatest shocks in English football. The game itself was voted as one of the top 10 greatest moments at Wembley Stadium. Aside from the FA Cup, Kerr also lead Sunderland to promotion from the Football League Second Division in 1976. Between the 1970/71 and 1978/79 seasons, Kerr missed just 23 games, and never made less than 40 appearances in 5 consecutive seasons between 1971/72 and 1975/76.Kerr left Sunderland in March 1979 to link up with former manager Bob Stokoe at Blackpool, before ending his career back in the North East at Hartlepool. Since retiring, Kerr has run several pubs in the region, currently managing the Copt. Hill in nearby Houghton-le-Spring.

JEFF CLARKE

(born January 18, 1954 in Hemsworth, England) is an English former footballer who played as a defender. He has been a physiotherapist at Dundee United since November 2003.Clarke began his professional career in 1974 with Manchester City, featuring in thirteen league appearances before leaving a year later to join Sunderland in a swap deal with Dave Watson. In seven years at Roker Park, Clarke played in over 200 matches and experienced promotion to the top flight before moving to rivals Newcastle United on a free transfer in 1982. Another five years in the North East – including another top-flight promotion – preceded short-lived spells at Turkish side Ankaragücü and Darlington.Following his retiral from playing, Clarke coached at former club Newcastle, studying a physiotherapy degree at the University of Salford at the same time. Clarke became a physio at another former club, Sunderland, before taking on the same role at Leeds United in 2001. Following his redundancy in 2003, he joined Dundee United in November of that year, taking on additional coaching duties at one point in March 2005.


JOSEPH “SHERGAR JOE" BALL ALLON

(born Gateshead, 12 November 1966) is an English former Professional Footballer.A Forward, he started his professional career with Newcastle United in 1984, but played just 10 games for the first team (two goals). In August 1987 he moved to Swansea City, scoring twelve times in 40 appearances before returning to the North-East to join Hartlepool United in November 1988. He scored 57 goals in 131 appearances, including 35 (28 league) in 1990–91 Season when Hartlepool were promoted to Division 3 - a post-war record for the club. His form that season earned him a move to Chelsea in August 1991 for a fee reported to be £250,000.However he failed to break into the Chelsea first team, starting just 4 games (with a further 14 substitute appearances) and scoring three goals; he had a short spell on loan at Port Vale in 1992 before being sold to Brentford in November of that year. 28 goals in 56 appearances followed at Griffin Park before Allon moved to Port Vale - this time permanently - in March 1994. A further 10 goals followed, however Allon was not a regular in the side and started just 15 games in just over a year.At the end of the 1994–95 season he joined Lincoln City. After just five games and three months he was on the move again, back to Hartlepool United; he added a further 22 goals before being forced to retire due to a persistent knee injury early in 1998. His total of 79 goals for Hartlepool puts him in 7th place in their overall list of top scorers. Since retiring, he has appeared as a summariser and expert on Local Radio and remains a popular figure with Hartlepool United fans.In 2007 Allon joined Leeds United's coaching staff. His actual role is unclear, though as an usher at United manager Dennis Wises' wedding, it would appear his friendship with Wise was a factor in the appointment.


FRANK STEWART WORTHINGTON

(born 23 November 1948) is a former English footballer. Frank was born into a footballing family in Shelf near Halifax, Yorkshire. Both of his parents had played the game and his two older brothers, Dave and Bob, became professional footballers, both began their careers with Halifax Town.Playing careerWorthington began his career as a forward for Huddersfield Town in 1966 before playing for Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Leeds United, Sunderland, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Tranmere Rovers, Preston North End, Stockport County and Galway United. Worthington played into his 40s making 757 English League appearances and scoring 234 goals. He also played in the United States (with NASL teams Philadelphia Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies), South Africa, Sweden and in English non-League football.Worthington won eight caps for England in 1974, scoring two goals.Worthington's spell at Tranmere was as player-manager and although he had some success he did not return to management.Worthington had the reputation for enjoying the high life. Following retirement from the game Frank turned to the after-dinner speaking circuit and also published his autobiography "One Hump Or Two". The front cover featured a smiling Frank contemplating putting lumps of sugar in his cup of tea with the book title also alluding to his interest in the ladies.Worthington is remembered for scoring one of the most remarkable goals in English football when playing for Bolton v Ipswich on 21 April 1979. Having his back to goal at the edge of the 18 yard box, with the Ipswich defence moving out to play the offside-trap, he controlled the aerial ball with his knee, kept it up twice with his foot whilst moving away from goal before flicking it over his head, wrong-footing the defenders, to turn and volley it past the 'keeper.Worthington further represented England in the 1991 edition of the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the opening round against Uruguay.


WILFRED “WILF” McGUINNESS

(born 25 October 1937 in Manchester, England) was an English football player and manager, who played twice for England. He is best known for taking over from Matt Busby as manager of Manchester United. His son, Paul, is currently Manchester United's U-18 team manager and assistant director of their youth academy for 17-21 year olds. He currently has 6 grandchildren, including one set of twins, James Barnes, who is an accomplished amateur rugby player within Manchester, and Thomas Barnes, who is rumoured to be taking a soccer coaching placement with Sportsright in La Manga, Spain, as of next yearPlaying careerAs a player he captained Manchester, Lancashire and England at schoolboy level, and signed for Manchester United in January 1953. He played his first first-team match against Wolves on 8 October 1953, aged seventeen. Competition for places was fierce but he played in enough matches to qualify for a medal when United won the league in 1956.He was still a United player at the time of the Munich air disaster in 1958, but an injury had prevented him from playing so he was not on the plane that crashed. A broken leg finished his playing career when he was only 22.Managerial careerHe continued to be involved at United and was promoted from reserve team coach to first team coach when Matt Busby retired in 1969. Appointed as Busby's successor in April 1969 at the age of 31 he endured a dismal spell. At a time when the Manchester United side was in transition Busby had moved to General Manager. But McGuinness's reign as Manchester United manager was not successful, and he was sacked in December 1970, one week after a dramatic comeback which saw United draw 4-4 with Derby County in a league fixture at the Baseball Ground. He returned to his old job as reserve team coach before leaving the club at the end of the season.He later managed Aris Salonika and York City. On arriving at York, he took over a side which had just recorded its highest-ever league finish, only to take them through two successive relegations before leaving midway though a season which ended with York having to apply for re-election to the Football League. Later he worked as assistant manager at Hull City and was on the coaching staff at Bury F.C., taking over as interim manager prior the appointment of Sam Ellis in 1989.Recently he took to the pitch before the massive Champions League semi-final against F.C. Barcelona with an emotional battle cry to United fans urging them to get behind the team cheer every pass and every corner. The Red Army duly obliged and they were a driving before the team in yet another memorable European night at Old Trafford as Paul Scholes scored a cracking winner to send United to Moscow.

KEVIN BALL

aka 'The Hatchet' (born Hastings, England, United Kingdom on 12 November 1964) is a former professional footballer and now coach. Between 6 March and 8 May 2006 Ball acted as Sunderland caretaker manager for the last ten games of the 2005-06 season following the sacking of Mick McCarthy, taking five points from these games. Although Ball expressed his interest in the manager's job on a full-time basis, incoming chairman Niall Quinn was keen for the club to appoint a 'world-class manager' following the club's takeover by the Drumaville Consortium, effectively ruling Ball out of the running. While speculation linked him with subsequent managerial vacancies at Colchester and Darlington, Ball remained at Sunderland under the new regime, returning to his former post of Assistant Academy Manager.Ball began his career in central defence but was converted in his later career into a central midfielder. Ball is one of Sunderland's best-loved former players due to his committed style of play, playing 389 games for the club in all competitions, scoring 27 goals. He also had spells with Portsmouth and, after leaving Sunderland, Fulham and Burnley.Ball's time at Burnley is probably best remembered for a trademark tackle on David Dunn in a derby match against Blackburn that inflamed an already-volatile crowd.

RONALD EDWARD HARRIS

(born 13 November 1944 in Hackney, London), better known as Ron "Chopper" Harris, is a former English footballer who played for Chelsea in the 1960s and 1970s. Harris is widely regarded as one of the toughest defenders of his era - along with players such as Tommy Smith MBE and Norman Hunter - hence the nickname. His brother Allan Harris was also a footballer with Chelsea and QPR and was for many years Terry Venables' coaching partner.Harris was a member of the Chelsea side which won the FA Youth Cup in 1961 and made his senior club debut in February 1962 in a 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday. Within a year, he had established himself as a regular in the side, a position he would hold for the next eighteen years. He formed an important part of new Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty's youth-oriented re-building of the club after relegation from the First Division alongside the likes of Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood and Bobby Tambling.That 1970 FA Cup final is notorious for being one of the most physical of all time, and it saw Harris come into his own in the role of both inspirational leader and uncompromising tackler. With Leeds having taken a 2-1 lead at Wembley with just six minutes remaining, it was his quick free kick which led to Ian Hutchinson's headed equaliser to take the game to a replay. During the replay at Old Trafford his late tackle on Leeds' playmaker Eddie Gray after just eight minutes (just one of many late tackles committed by both sides) left the latter a virtual passenger for the rest of the match: Chelsea eventually won 2-1 after extra-time.The following season saw Harris lift Chelsea's first major European honour - the Cup Winners' Cup - in another replayed final against Real Madrid in Athens. Chelsea also reached a second League Cup final in 1972, but surprisingly lost to Stoke in what proved to be his last major final for the club.While many of Chelsea's star players departed during the 1970s for various reasons, Harris remained an ever-present in the side throughout a decade which saw them relegated twice and promoted once, though he lost the club captaincy to the 18-year-old Ray Wilkins. He finally left Chelsea in 1980 to become a player-coach at Brentford, having played a record 795 games for Chelsea. He later had a brief stint as player-manager of Aldershot.He is now a football pundit (especially on Chelsea), an in-demand after-dinner speaker and recently penned an autobiography, Chopper: A Chelsea Legend. He also has a suite named after him at Stamford Bridge, in honour of his legendary status at the club.


NORMAN “BITES YER LEGS” HUNTER

(born 29 October 1943 in Eighton Banks, Gateshead, England) is a former English footballer who was a member of the Leeds United team of the 1960s and 1970s. He was also part of the 1966 FIFA World Cup winning squad, receiving a medal in 2007. He has since been included in the Football League 100 Legends.Career as a playerInitially an inside forward, Hunter was moulded by Leeds into a central defender who made the No. 6 shirt his own in 14 years with the club he joined at the age of 15, giving up a job as an electrical fitter in the process. He had been spotted playing for his local amateur side. He made his first-team debut in 1962, forming a partnership at the back with Jack Charlton which lasted for a decade. Leeds were promoted as Second Division champions in 1964 and a year later came very close to the "double" of League championship and FA Cup with Hunter to the fore. However, they lost the title to Manchester United on goal average and were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in the FA Cup final, though Hunter's accurate long pass into the Liverpool area started the move which led to Billy Bremner's goal.Hunter made his debut for the England team in 1965, but the partnership between Charlton and Bobby Moore meant that he spent much of his international career as an understudy, winning 28 caps in total. He was in the squad which won the 1966 World Cup but never kicked a ball. He did, however, receive a winners medal in 2007 for the 1966 tournament after FIFA retrospectively awarded all squad members of winning teams before 1978 winners medals as has been the custom from 1978 onwardsHunter picked up a medal as Leeds won the League Cup and their first European honour with the Fairs Cup (later UEFA Cup) in 1968. A year later he won his first title medal and then in 1970 he was part of the team which sought a unique "treble", but won nothing. Hunter spent a short part of the 1970 season injured but he was in Alf Ramsey's squad for the summer's World Cup in Mexico, coming on as a substitute in the 3-2 defeat by West Germany.In the 1971 FA Cup, Leeds lost to Colchester United by 3-2 in the fifth round. They were 3-0 up and Hunter scored one of Leeds' goals as they attempted a comeback.In May 1972, Hunter's joy as he fought the Leeds cause was captured in a photograph. His defensive position meant that he was at the opposite end of the pitch to Clarke when the Leeds striker launched his diving header - Hunter, like most central defenders, only went forwards for set-pieces or when running with the ball at his feet. A photographer behind the Leeds goal, at the opposite end to Clarke, captured the moment as Hunter leapt high in the air in celebration with arms and legs spread, as if in the midst of a star-jump. Leeds won 1-0 and Hunter had his first FA Cup winners' medal. At the end of the game, Hunter climbed the steps to the Royal box twice - once to collect his own medal, and then again to help the badly injured Jones negotiate his way up and down. Jones had been receiving treatment for a dislocated shoulder while his team-mates had been getting their prizes.!973 saw further defeats in Finals, as Leeds lost in the F.A. Cup Final to Sunderland, and then a few days later to AC Milan in the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup. This match is one of a series of matches involving Italian Clubs that are regarded as being "fixed", by Dezso Solti. Hunter was sent-off in this match for retaliation.This dismissal was a rare thing for Hunter. In his ten years of playing, he had acquired a reputation as a dirty player, apparently happy to use methods not within the laws of the game to curtail the effect of opposition striker. As such, he was often referred to by supporters, journalists and sports commentators as Norman "Bites Yer Legs" Hunter, a nickname which stuck and was always meant to be affectionate, despite its comedically violent undercurrent. Yet Hunter was not the dirtiest player in English football - indeed, he was not the dirtiest player at Leeds, with captain Billy Bremner capable of far more malicious tackles than Hunter. His fellow professionals made him their Player of the Year in 1974 - the award's inaugural presentation.Months earlier, Hunter was in the England team which needed to win their last qualifying tie for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. The opposition at Wembley were Poland on 17 October 1973 who just needed a draw. It was 0-0 when Hunter raced across to the touchline to make a tackle but trod on the ball and lost it. Poland quickly made a counter attack and took the lead. Clarke equalised with a penalty but England could not get past Tomaszewski from open play and a 1-1 draw saw them miss out on a place at the World Cup. Another famous photograph from Hunter's career was one of him in an inconsolable state being led off the pitch by Bobby Moore, whose place in the side he had taken.Hunter had a new defensive partner for the next season with Leeds, with Gordon McQueen taking the No. 5 shirt made famous by Charlton. Leeds started the season with a 29-match unbeaten run, which led them to the title. Hunter was in the League for a fifth season and the departure of manager Revie to the England job meant that Hunter's own international career continued through to 1975, even though many expected him to be axed after his error against Poland. His career ended with 28 caps.

THOMAS HENDERSON DOCHERTY

(born Gorbals, Glasgow on 24 April 1928), usually known as 'Tommy Docherty' or 'The Doc', is a Scottish former footballer and football manager Playing careerTommy Docherty's football career began when he joined non-League Shettleston Juniors. The turning point in his playing career came in 1946 when he was called up for National Service in the Highland Light InfantryWhile completing his National Service, Docherty represented the British Army at football. On demobilisation, Docherty was offered a contract with his beloved Celtic in 1947.However, the young Docherty found first team places hard to come by at Celtic and, in November 1949, after spending just over two years with the club he'd supported as a boy, he joined Preston North End. It was at Preston where he enjoyed the most successful period of his playing career, making over 300 League appearances, and appearing in an FA Cup Final in 1954. At Preston he received the first of his 25 full Scotland international caps.After defying Preston and travelling to the World Cup finals with Scotland, in Sweden in 1958, he left Deepdale that year to join Arsenal. It was at Arsenal where Docherty would make his last regular appearances as a professional footballer, although he subsequently played a few games for Chelsea, retiring in 1962.In February 1961 his dream of becoming a football coach materialised, being offered the post of player-coach of Chelsea. Fewer than twelve months later, upon Ted Drake's departure and with the club facing relegation from the top flight, Docherty took over as manager. However, he was unable to keep the club in the First Division and the team was relegated at the end of the 1961-62 season.Never a great tactician, Docherty's skill was his ability to spot talented players and to act as a motivator. During his first year in charge he replaced many of the club's older players and put together an exciting team of youngsters such as Terry Venables, Bobby Tambling, Peter Bonetti and Barry Bridges. The team, nicknamed "Docherty's Diamonds", achieved promotion back to Division One at the first attempt and finished 5th the following year. In 1964-65, Chelsea were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup. They won the League Cup in April with an aggregate win over Leicester City, but were beaten 2-0 by eventual winner Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final.By this stage, Docherty's relationship with some of his players, especially his captain Venables, was deteriorating. This culminated in him sending home eight players for breaking a curfew before a crucial match at Burnley with the team two points behind League leaders Manchester United. The team that remained lost the match, which all but ended their title chances. He led Chelsea to the FA and Fairs Cup semi-finals a year later, before reaching the FA Cup Final in 1967 only to end up on the losing side for the second time in his career. In October of the 1967-68 season he resigned. The core of the team Docherty had put together, including the likes of Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Ron Harris, Bonetti and John Hollins, would go on to win the FA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup under his successor, Dave Sexton.The month following his departure from Chelsea, Docherty became manager of Rotherham United. He left the club the following year and was appointed manager at Queens Park Rangers, only to leave 29 days later. He then had the dubious distinction of becoming Doug Ellis' first manager at Aston Villa in December 1968, a role in which he survived 13 months.On 19 January 1970, with Aston Villa bottom of the Second Division, Docherty was sacked. From there he went to FC Porto but lasted just 4 months. On 2 July 1971, Docherty was appointed by Hull City as assistant manager to Terry Neill, but on September 12 he was appointed as caretaker manager of Scotland, with the position becoming permanent in November.In December 1972, when Frank O'Farrell was sacked as manager of Manchester United, the temptation of managing one of the worlds biggest football clubs was too much to resist: Docherty was poached by Manchester United and quit his job with Scotland, to take up the role of manager. The arrival of the flamboyant Docherty brought with it a security and confidence that suggested the exciting trophy-winning sides would return. Shortly afterwards news that Docherty was having an extramarital affair with the wife of a United physiotherapist Laurie Brown had become public. He was sacked in a blaze of publicity in July 1977. Ironically, Docherty was replaced at Old Trafford by the same man who had replaced him at Chelsea, Dave Sexton.It was not long before Docherty was back in work, taking the manager's job at Derby County in September 1977, where he stayed for two seasons before resigning in April 1979. His time at Derby was marred by controversy off the pitch. On taking over Docherty became embroiled in a bitter court case, suing the ex-Manchester United captain Willie Morgan and Granada television for libel. The case was eventually dropped with Docherty admitting he had lied in court. The end of the court case coincided with the end of Docherty's managerial career with Derby.His next appointment was at Queens Park Rangers in May 1979. He was sacked almost immediately, then bizarrely reinstated after just nine days away. On taking over at Loftus Road, Rangers had been relegated to the Second Division and Docherty had to lift the team spirits to start the new season. His reputation kept a lot of big names with the club and new players such as Clive Allen, Tony Currie and Paul Goddard were brought in. Although money was spent, QPR finished the season four points short of promotion to the First Division. In October 1980, he was sacked. He later claimed "I sacked Queens Park Rangers once and they later sacked me twice".After a short spell in Australia coaching Sydney Olympic in 1981, his career came full circle and he returned to England in July that year to manage Preston North End, where he had spent nine successful years as a player. However, he was unable to make his mark and he left after a few months, returning to Australia to manage South Melbourne Hellas until the following year. He also managed Sydney Olympic again in 1983, Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1984 to 1985 and Altrincham from 1987 to 1988 before retiring from football.As a manager Tommy Docherty was nothing if not controversial. Possessed of a dry humour and the gifts of a good storyteller he has earned a living for the past 20 years as a media pundit and after-dinner speaker.

JOHN BERESFORD

(born 4 September 1966) is a former English football player who played as a defender, who is currently a pundit for ITV Tyne Tees and ESPN.Beresford was born in Sheffield; in his footballing career he played for clubs Manchester City, Barnsley, Portsmouth, Newcastle United, Southampton and Birmingham City. He is most famous for his Newcastle United spell between 1992 and 1998, with his attacking tendencies being crucial to The Entertainers. Beresford is also remembered by some for missing his spot kick in the 1992 FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout while playing for Portsmouth.Beresford won two England 'B' caps in 1994, against Northern Ireland 'B' and the Republic of Ireland 'B'.Later in his career, Beresford went on to represent the England Beach Soccer team in an exhibition game in Birmingham.

GARY SKYNER

Para-Legal, pilot, FA Class 1 coach, welder, stand up comedian and dad, Gary Skyner defies expectations of what can be achieved. Real life traumas are turned into triumphs every day. Gary’s all inspiring tale of triumph over tragedy will touch your heart and lift your spirit. As the second child in the UK to be born damaged by the deadly thalidomide drug, which was administered to expectant mothers in the 1960’s, Gary’s life was destined to be difficult and challenging, as the drug impaired his physical development. Expected not to live, let alone to achieve much, Gary is living proof that there is nothing you cannot achieve if you believe you can.Gary is without doubt the UK’s most unusual comedian ( once seen never forgotten) Winner of Merseyside Comedian Of The Year three years running, also the star of the Jonathan Ross Big, Big talent show, and, the most successful comedian EVER to perform at the P.F.A. awards dinner in London. They might not be the same length as yours or mine, but, YOU ARE IN SAFE HANDS where comedy is concerned with LIVERPOOL’S No1 COMEDIAN – GARY SKYNER.

ALAN WRIGHT

For nearly 30 years, Alan was one of the most well-known voices on BBC Radio and, more recently, a familiar face too on BBC TV. Highlights of Alan's career included three industry awards in 2001 and 2002. He also had the honour of acting as royal commentator for BBC TV when Her Majesty the Queen opened the Millennium Bridge in 2002. Today, with business partner Wendy Gibson, Alan chairs Soundswright Ltd, specialising in publicity consultancy, strategic advice, and training in presentation and media skills. He has also played a key role in publicity and media consultancy for many leading companies and high profile individuals. From 1993 to 1995, Alan took a short "sabbatical" from the BBC when he was asked to become Chief Executive at Durham County Cricket Club and had a fascinating two years during which the superb new Riverside Ground was developed. During his spell at the helm, membership became the biggest in England outside a Test Match Ground, and business support broke all records, with the £500,000 sponsorship deal with Scottish & Newcastle Breweries drawing a gasp throughout the world of cricket

JOHN PRESCOTT McGOVERN

was born in Montrose, Scotland on 28 October 1949 and moved with his family to Hartlepool at the age of seven. He was a fine all-round athlete from an early age, but it was at rugby rather than football that he first excelled. At school in Hartlepool, he was the fly half and captain of the first XV. Switching to the round-ball code at 15, he was signed on apprentice forms by Brian Clough and in Hartlepool's first team at the age of 16.
At the age of 19 he became the youngest player to play in all four divisions of the Football League and during his playing career he won promotion with Hartlepool United, Derby County and Nottingham Forest. He also won two Scottish Under Twenty Three caps, and was to go on a play over 500 league games during his career.After winning a League Championship medal at Derby County,and then a brief spell at Leeds United John went on to be Captain of Nottingham Forest where he won the League Championship again along with two League Cups and two European Cups. In all clubs he was recruited by Brian Clough.John has been Player Manager at Bolton Wanderers, Assistant Manager at Plymouth Argyle and Hull City, Joint Manager at Rotherham United as well as a brief spell as Manager of Woking F.C. from 1997 to 1998.He continues to coach lads of all ages around the world including workers in the oil fields of Azerbaijan and girls and boys attending summer schools in the USA.He is now an after dinner speaker, and a pundit on BBC Radio Nottingham.

GEORGE TYSON (Referee)
'I was the only one on the pitch who could understand Gazza' George Tyson was the last referee from Sunderland to make it to the football league and that was 32 years ago.He began refereeing in 1965 at the age of 26 and went on to referee 505 games throughout his career until he retired in 1990.Before he put on the black uniform, George played local football for several years until he became fed up of referees not turning up on match day.He decided to take up refereeing, unaware that he would become one of England's top officials.George, 69, from Grangetown, held down a full-time job at Sedgefield Borough Council as he rose through the ranks as a referee.When I knocked on his door I was unsure what to expect, I imagined a stern faced, intimidating man brandishing a whistle, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted by George, who was incredibly cheerful and wearing an enthuiastic smile. It became clear very quickly that George is extremely passionate about refereeing and his eyes sparkled as he relived some of his favourite moments. "I refereed in the football league from the late 70s and through all of the 80s," he said. "I had the best times, I loved it, but there was banter then and it was a lot of fun, even at the highest level."The difference now is that every game is televised and the highlights of every match are replayed over again. "Referees now make the same mistakes as I did but pundits and viewers at home get the chance to see an incident from every angle.""I was a man when I started, so 15 and 16-year-olds must find it very difficult. But for young referees now, there are opportunities to get to the top and make a very good living from it. He added: "That is why I don't agree with ex-professional players being fast-tracked through. It would never work."George has disciplined some famous faces throughout his career. "The best players that I ever refereed were Graeme Souness and Alan Hanson. Graeme was a fantastic player and Alan was a real gentleman."I refereed Gazza's first match for Tottenham and I think I was the only person on the pitch who understood his Geordie accent."I am also very proud to say that I never had to caution Vinny Jones as I always made sure I was right on top of him so he thought twice about causing any trouble."I talked a lot on the pitch which I think is really important, players knew if they had stepped out of line."When a player charged across the pitch 40 yards to argue with me about a decision made about an incident they weren't even involved in, that is when they would get a yellow card."
 
 
 
 
JEFF WINTER
...is a former FA Premier League referee from Middlesbrough in the north-east of England. Winter took charge of the 2004 FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Millwall, his final game as a professional referee before retirement. Winter also appeared as an official on the BBC TV programme Superstars.His 2006 autobiography, Who's The B*****d In The Black? was notable for Winter's sense of self-importance, particularly in his treatment of his final game as referee of a professional league match, where he suggests that the crowd's warm reaction at the end might have been reserved for him.In the end I played a little bit extra, waiting until play was at the Kop end, before sounding the final shrill blast - a bit like the Last Post. The fans behind the goal burst into spontaneous applause. It was longer and louder than normal, even for a big home win. Did they know it was my final visit? Was the applause for me? They are such knowledgeable football people, that it would not surprise me.A critical Times review of the book suggested a more plausible explanation for the extra applause was that the game saw Liverpool take the advantage in the race with Newcastle United for 4th and final UEFA Champions League place for the next season with their 4-0 defeat of Blackburn Rovers. Since the year 2006, he has officiated in the annual series of national six-a-side tournaments called Masters Football, referees for which are FA endorsed. This competition features ex-professional footballers chosen by the PFA, and is televised on Sky TV. He worked for TFM Radio on Teesside until June 2008 and currently writes a weekly column for Vital Hartlepool. Since then Jeff has switched teams and signed to present a Football phone-in on Darlington station Alpha 103.2 in July 2008, Sats at 6pm for the new season.MQ Magazine stated in 2005 that Winter is one of five freemasons to referee the FA Cup Final. Jeff also spends quite a bit of time self-promoting and offering his extensive knowledge on matters footballing and refereeing on his ever popular eponymous website. His readers' letters page is much acclaimed in the sporting Press/Media and he as a "no-holds-barred" approach to receiving questions about any topics ranging from his views on issues such as: the current Premier League title race and European football; contentious refereeing decisions in the weekend's matches; slating of rival former referee and fellow big-head Graham Poll; and fielding questions about his infamous goatee beard and sex life. Jeff responds in a manner that is fitting with the initial question: sometimes polite, often controversial with explicit language, but always informative and entertaining.Possibly as a result of Winter's apparent inflated sense of self importance, and his own website posted views, SKY TV's Soccer AM regularly lampoon him by having a member of the TV production team dressed in a referee uniform commenting on referee decisions, commentary which invariably ends up with more mock self aggrandizement .