Frank Clarke remembers the sports clubs at Granada

What about Sport?

Sport. You mean sport programmes?

No, sport in the social context -did the Company do much sport?

They didn’t have enough really. We had an inter-departmental – six a side tournament which was held at Whalley Range football club near Brantingham, off Wilbraham Road – there. That was for about six years. I won Player of the Year Award one year. Bill Dixon used to come because he lived round the corner. He’d present the cups and that.

We had occasionally a cricket tournament which would be held at Mellor Cricket Club but that was eleven a side and some departments couldn’t get eleven out. But there were about eight or nine different teams playing just one Sunday afternoon. You’d go play cricket, socialise and that would be it and the others, I said, I played a five a side tournament football a couple of times as an eleven a side. In fact it was funny because we’d played at Altrincham one Sunday and Tony Book, who had captained Manchester City to the European Cup Winners Cup or something two years before and was Captain now played against us and twice, and I’m small, I was in goal, and twice he broke through and twice I stopped him scoring and at the end of the match, he said “how did you get those balls?” I said “you’re one footed, Tony. You can’t use the outside of your right foot” and that’s only from what I’d seen of him on TV. So there’s a little lad up here now, he’s playing for the local team. I said, “`Make sure you use both feet”. I taught myself to use both feet and it paid off.

And did you get any stars playing for the Granada team?

Well there was Ian St John came on our five a side team a couple of times. With Paul Docherty and the rest were just staff. They weren’t allowed to play in the inter-departmental ones but we had no, the one at Altrincham was nearly all staff. We had Freddie Pye, who was professional with Hyde for a long, long time. He was our Captain, oh and we had Frank Haydock who played for City in his younger days. They’d come in and you’d put them in the team.

Of course, Paul Doherty himself played. He played professionally, hadn’t he?

Yes he had.

Was he a goalkeeper?

I can’t remember what he played. Can’t remember.

And of course he was the son of Peter Doherty, the great Manchester City, Huddersfield player?

Lovely player.

Well during the war, Maine Road played matches every week and you would go down there. You wouldn’t know the teams. They’d just announce it. Whoever was free. And of a Saturday in the summer, Belle Vue Speedway was going, every Saturday. So you’d go there of a Saturday evening in the summer. Nice night. Why go anywhere?

Yeah, the Granada things were like that. Things like that were really nice. People were mixing you see and you knew people.

Leave a Reply