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Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 10:43
Wilf Mannion

Great piece in the Guardian today from Harry Pearson. The talcum powder story had me laughing. On the subject, anyone got any good mannion stories? I met him when I was young and my grandad would always tell me "he's not fit to lace Mannion's boots" and the more stories you hear the more that statement became true for me.

ccole Posted on 27/08/2010 10:57
Wilf Mannion

One from my Grandad,.... the one about him running towards the home end at Ayresome Park down the wing. As he got near the Blackpool full back, he dummied, then went to the left, while the full back and the Holgate swayed to the right.

His book “Golden Boy” is a cracking read.[^]

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:03
Wilf Mannion

Yes, I will be getting stuck into that at some point.

When players were players.....

I dont think he would have suited a white ferrari with pink alloys

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 11:04
Wilf Mannion

my grandad played in the same team as him at south bank st peters and incidentally in the same position. He told me mannion use to feign injury so my grandad could get a game.

He also fought in the green howards with him.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:06
Wilf Mannion

"He also fought in the green howards with him"


MarlonD Posted on 27/08/2010 11:09
Wilf Mannion

My grandad said he was by far and away the best player he had seen play at Ayresome Park.

And he also used to say if it wasn't for WW2 we would have difinitely won the league.

MarlonD Posted on 27/08/2010 11:11
Wilf Mannion

bandy put a link up for the article

tonymcandrewshattrick Posted on 27/08/2010 11:12
Wilf Mannion

my grandad reckoned he was his tea boy at ICI, but considering my grandad was workshy I never really believed him.

PAC79 Posted on 27/08/2010 11:18
Wilf Mannion

Humpty whats your grandads name?
My grandads brother, great uncle, played for Southbank St Peters around the same time. He went on to play for the Boro and made several apperances alongside Mannion.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:19
Wilf Mannion

try this guv

Link: golden boy

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:21
Wilf Mannion

who was his mate he always knocked about with and took to matches? My dad knew him and always let on and introduced me a few times but as a kid you just think who is this old gadge with his mate? Bugger

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 11:22
Wilf Mannion

Anthony Milner PAC. He passed away last year unfortunately.

rob_fmttm Posted on 27/08/2010 11:25
Wilf Mannion

Albert Lanney was Wilf's mate and constant companion. Had ice cream vans at one time. Poor Albert was heartbroken when Wilf died and actually didn't live very long afterwards.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:30
Wilf Mannion

Thats him Rob! Another Boro legend!

PAC79 Posted on 27/08/2010 11:34
Wilf Mannion

I'll have to ask my grandad if he remembers him. My great uncle was the late Thomas Edwin Murphy, better known as 'Eddie'. He only made a few apperances before the war started.

I remember being introduced to Mannion by my grandad on Redcar High St when I was about ten. At the time I never realised I was meeting one of footballs greats.

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 11:35
Wilf Mannion

That would be great PAC. Put an FAO up on here when you find out [^]

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 11:36
Wilf Mannion

PAC79: Same ere. Met Wilfy a few times through my grandad and dad but you only ever appreciate it when you are older and despise the current crop of players and actually realise you have been in the prescence of greatness. He is up there with matthews, finney, lawton, billy wright etc etc

ccole Posted on 27/08/2010 11:46
Wilf Mannion

"my grandad reckoned he was his tea boy at ICI"

Correct. Great story in the book about it.

And to think a player like Ricketts will never have to work again in his life.

Diasboro_Dan Posted on 27/08/2010 11:52
Wilf Mannion

In the 70's, if were driving along Roseberry Rd, Redcar early in the morning, you might have seen him, with some other blokes, waiting for the Transit to take them to work. Not a Ferrari in sight.

tonymcandrewshattrick Posted on 27/08/2010 11:57
Wilf Mannion

"my grandad reckoned he was his tea boy at ICI"

"Correct. Great story in the book about it."

I only believed him after i'd read the book. :-)

on a side not my grandad would always argue that Stockton were a better side than middlesbrough, but he never knew anything about football ;-)

robbso Posted on 27/08/2010 12:01
Wilf Mannion

My old dear lived near them when they were kids,people use to say he had a brother who could possibly have been even better but he was too skinny and sickly.
He enjoyed an hour or two in Southbank Albion with Reg Boyle the bookie.

He also put on a show against Blackpool after his wife had either agreed to marry him or they had been married.Plus he went on strike[smi]

byrno Posted on 27/08/2010 12:05
Wilf Mannion

Good read.

"he could put a gash in your eyebrow just by glancing at you" [:D][B)]

6876 Posted on 27/08/2010 12:06
Wilf Mannion

Watched a feature on BBC perhaps 10 years or so ago. It was a charity dinner, at the Savoy or Ritz or somewhere flash, and had all the former great England players in attendance.

John Motson was getting a quick word with many of them for the TV and he collared Sir Stanley Mathews…. “Great night Sir Stanley, most be great to see some of the old faces?” asked Motty.

“Fantastic” replied Mathews. “and you wont believe who I have just seen talking too over there? …. Wilf Mannion!”

When one of the greatest players ever to grace a pitch is excited to have spoken to him, you know he was something special.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 12:30
Wilf Mannion

Keep em coming! Thats the best yet!

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 12:35
Wilf Mannion


robbso Posted on 27/08/2010 12:44
Wilf Mannion

I read Mathews book,he was full of praise for Mannion.He mentioned the game at Ayresome park when Wilf put on a show,i think Mathews was injured so got to watch it.

free_pint Posted on 27/08/2010 12:49
Wilf Mannion

Definately one of them players I wish I'd been able to see play. Been trying to get any kind of footage of him playing, but with the time it was there's none at all.

GaZBoro Posted on 27/08/2010 12:54
Wilf Mannion

There's a good web article about him here...

Link: Wilf Mannion

Corcaigh_the_Cat Posted on 27/08/2010 13:03
Wilf Mannion

I read a Matthews book some years ago written by a bloke from Pompey. The opening of the book talks of his introduction to football. His uncle had taken him by train up to London to see the great Wilf Mannion playing at Stamford Bridge.

People travelled to watch Wilf play. He must have been some player.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 13:04
Wilf Mannion

"Matthews added that Mannion "was the Mozart of football - stylish, graceful, courtly, showing exquisite workmanship with the ball."


LeitrimBoro Posted on 27/08/2010 13:17
Wilf Mannion

I also remember the oft quote, mainly said by men of a certain age "Not fit enough to lace Mannions boots"
Father told me a story of Wilf flicking the ball onto his head and running down the wing keeping the ball on his head.
One of the best.

Chuzzlewit Posted on 27/08/2010 13:25
Wilf Mannion

Saw all the great players as a youngster and Wilf was the best. Only two who came close to him to my mind were Len Shackleton of Sunderland and the great Johnny Haynes of Fulham. Real legends and gentlemen too.

Corcaigh_the_Cat Posted on 27/08/2010 13:36
Wilf Mannion

......Mannion was not impressed with the coaching of Walter Winterbottom while in the England squad. As he pointed out: "All that happened pre-war was they took a trainer to games, basically to look after the kit. The captain used to gather the players together and decided on how to play, but there weren't really tactics." He disliked the idea of Winterbottom working on set routines like free-kicks and throw-ins. "He (Winterbottom) thought it was all going to be dead smooth, the way we were practising on the training pitch. But in a game it's all about the opposition and where they're going to be situated and what they're doing. That's why you need a footballing brain, to adapt to the situation."

The modern game summed up. It's not a science.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 13:37
Wilf Mannion

Superb find Corcaigh. Football is very very complicated thesedays often made more complicated by "managers" who feel the need to justfiy "management" but waving their arms and making stupid tactical decisions

MarlonD Posted on 27/08/2010 13:43
Wilf Mannion

Corcaigh, thas excellent [^]

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 13:47
Wilf Mannion

"Wilf played football the way Fred Astaire danced."

Brian Clough

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 13:49
Wilf Mannion

Leitrim, my grandad was also there to witness that, he often told me Wilf picked up the ball in his own half and travelled the length of the field with the ball on his head. He said Mannions daughter had been born that morning or the day before.

PAC79 Posted on 27/08/2010 13:52
Wilf Mannion

Found this when looking for something on Eddie Murphy. Has lots of quotes near the end from other professionals in the game.

Once described by a mesmerised Liverpool supporter as "the only man that could dance on corn flakes without breaking any".

Link: Mannion

MarlonD Posted on 27/08/2010 14:04
Wilf Mannion

Brings a lump to the throat reading those quotes at the end of that article.

squarewheelbike Posted on 27/08/2010 14:09
Wilf Mannion

Wilf was always given legend status in our house, my Dad being a South Bank St Peters lad. At the 1995 MSS Xmas do, I avoided all the "Ballykissangel" faf and found a quiet corner to sit down. The little old bloke next to then started chatting about the match, and the next 20 minutes were about the most agrreeable in my life, talking about Boro to arguably the greatest footballer ever. (Tom Finney said Pele could be the next Wilf Mannion)

Xmas '98 my Dad used his Slaggy Island connections and got me a personally signed copy of Golden Boy. Reading it I remarked to him about someone organising a pie and pea supper to buy him a kit, without blinking he replied "that was your Granny", and walked out of the room. I spent the next few minutes trying to grasp the fact that my Grandmother had organised Wilf's first ever kit, when my Dad reappeared with the receipt's and thank you letter from the school!

In 1999 my Granny had her 100th birthday, and she was revealed in the Gazette as the mystery woman behind Wilf's first kit, and all of the family beemed with pride. The next day Wilf turned up with with the biggest bunch of flowers she'd ever seen. A true gentleman.

LeitrimBoro Posted on 27/08/2010 14:09
Wilf Mannion

That's it Humpty. I remember Wilf had become a dad.

free_pint Posted on 27/08/2010 14:12
Wilf Mannion

Can you imagine having him playing for us now? He'd be worth so much!

robbso Posted on 27/08/2010 14:28
Wilf Mannion

The Vic,the pub opposite the old S/Bank police station had his caps and numerous photo"s from his career on the wall of the bar in the 80"s.Funny how blazay everyone seemed about it then.No idea what happened to them.

tengiz Posted on 27/08/2010 14:44
Wilf Mannion

PAC79.Was "Eddie" Murphy a Club Steward or Pub Landlord ?

PAC79 Posted on 27/08/2010 14:56
Wilf Mannion

yes I believe so. My gandad mentioned it before.

dreamdealer Posted on 27/08/2010 15:17
Wilf Mannion


Were you looking down, Wilf,
Were you with me Dad
Sitting with John Widdowfield
And Harry, his young lad.
Weren't the fans terrific
Did you hear them roar
Didn't Boro start well
And what a time to score.
How about their boots now
That stadium 'n all
It would have been amazing
To see you on the ball.
Just to watch Juninho
Must've made you grin
Bet you had a chuckle
When that penalty went in.
Hope it made you smile, Wilf
I hope it made your day
And every other Boro fan
Not here with us today.
I saw you play at Ayresome
In 1953
Me Dad stood in the Holgate
And got me in for free.
I met yer just before you died
In the cafe on Marske stray
We talked about the old times
Yer made us laugh that day
I drank with Steven Gibson
The night the cup was won
And through the tears and umpteen beers
I said how well he'd done
I told him that we loved him
The way me Dad loved you
He said, 'Look I'm no different,
Just Boro through and through'.
Next time I see your statue
I'll linger for a while
But if I look real closely
I know I'll see you smile.
It's been a long old time, Wilf
But didn't they do us proud
Th chairman and the manager
The players and the crowd.
It's been a long old time, Wilf
At last we've done it right
We've gone from that great darkness
And come into the light.

I wrote this after the Carling Cup win. I just hope we are not going back into the darkness. [:X]

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 15:22
Wilf Mannion

when you saw him in interviews or you read his dialogue he was a proper old school Boro lad, with a class accent and some comedy one liners

halifaxp Posted on 27/08/2010 15:59
Wilf Mannion

What an absolutely brilliant thread. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

backofthenet Posted on 27/08/2010 16:14
Wilf Mannion

I remember when I was working as a gardener about 12 years ago and was working at kirkleatham industrial estate, was busy working away and I noticed this old chap walking towards me but on the other side of the road, as he got closer I said to my boss (who was of an age to have seen Wilf play) 'isn't that Wilf Mannion'? it was, still gutted to this day I din't go and shake his hand and ask for his autograph. Boro Legend.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 16:22
Wilf Mannion

I was fortunate to be in the hundred club for his and george's testimonial game v England and vaguely remember a standing ovation when they were introduced to the rest of the room and I remember thinking these gadgees must be popular. Wish i could fly back in time

Jeremy_Clarkson Posted on 27/08/2010 16:28
Wilf Mannion

I remember goingt o his testimonial at Ayresome many years ago as a kid, I also met the great man one Christmas time in Darlington he was having a G&T with It may of been his wife in Humphreys stood and spoke to me for ages, what an honour that was I remember thinking at the time.

One of the greatest player to ever grace the beautiful game [^]

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 16:29
Wilf Mannion

Brilliant that Dream dealer..shall save that if you dont mind[^]

OPEO Posted on 27/08/2010 16:34
Wilf Mannion

I've recently recieved a photocopy of the football match that was supposedly played on the day Wilf Mannion and George Hardwick were both snapped up to play for Boro. The quality is poor but you can make out reds v whites the date 1936 and their names along with others. I think there was a third boy picked too but not sure of him.

this is more or less what it says.....
junior scar heath aug 26/36
Reds v blues
Bishop (east end) Goal
Kidd -do- right back
Hardwicke -do- left back
McCabe (salthome?) right half
Stephens (st Peters) centre half
Appleyard (east end) left half
Hall (Thornley) outside right
Corner ( South bank) Inside right
Cook (East end) Centre forward
Fletcher (South bank) Inside left
Harrington -ditto- Outside left
Mannion (St Peters)

dreamdealer Posted on 27/08/2010 16:51
Wilf Mannion

Many thanks Red Shamrock. [^]

borobadge Posted on 27/08/2010 16:56
Wilf Mannion

here we go....

Babe Ruth (the greatest baseball player of all time).....

was in london and went to the famous marble halls of highbury, were arsenal were entertaining middlesbrough, and thee babe ruth asks to meet Wilf mannion, get that ! Babe Ruth ASK'S TO MEET WILFRED MANNION....

someone then decides that Babe Ruth should do a walk round the pitch, Babe Ruth asks Mannion to come with him, so off they go to do a walkabout of the pitch at Highbury to wave to the expected the crowd go wild waving their flat caps in the air and suchlike, and Babe Ruth says to Wilf "just look and and listen to the crowd Wilf, they love must be a very rich man, theres thousands of 'em out here"

Wilf replies "fourteen shillings and sixpence a week during the winter and five shillings and six pence a week during the summer"......

many reckon it was this meeting and night that Wilf realised that he (and footballplayers in general) werent getting a juste reward for their labour(s)...

by the way it was friday 26th March 1948 boro got beat 7-0, we played again the next day, THEN had a day off and then played the return game v arsenal @ ayresome on the monday , this time 1-1.......

Mannion earned his 14bob.

God Bless Him.

raglasher Posted on 27/08/2010 17:18
Wilf Mannion

I echo what was said earlier this is the best thread i have ever read THANK YOU [:D][^]

BeeBee Posted on 27/08/2010 17:25
Wilf Mannion

The wikipedia page could do with a lot of stuff adding to it. Has to be done I think.

Diasboro_Dan Posted on 27/08/2010 17:26
Wilf Mannion

I saw him play at Ayresome! OK it was a 'fun' match for retired players at the joint testamonial for him and George Hardwick, but some of the retirees were under 40. He was 60ish. Does anyone else remember it?

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 17:28
Wilf Mannion

If Rob ever produces a Wilf Mannion book, then his material is here!

robbso Posted on 27/08/2010 17:38
Wilf Mannion

Just brought it back to me,some years back the missus won a signed framed shirt and got it awarded to her at the Riverside.She got her photo taken with Barmby,Stampy and Mustoe.On the way out i saw Bernie Slaven, sat on a sofa kind of thing.He was very animated and his gob was in overdive the poor victim was Wilf.He looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights.

To be fair Bernie looked like an excited kid babbling away.As we left my missus said,who is the poor old Bloke Slaven is waffling to[|)]

On a side note,Stampy said to Mustoe,these shirts are smart like.How do they do them?Mustoe just looked at him.raised his eyebrows and said Phil,you signed it.

Bandy Posted on 27/08/2010 17:39
Wilf Mannion

Bernie tells me that when he signed for Boro, his dad said to him, if you meet anybody, make sure you meet Mannion.

raglasher Posted on 27/08/2010 17:45
Wilf Mannion

I have just ordered the book GOLDEN BOY from Amazon used book 1p + £2-75 postage. Still some left [^][^][^][^][^]

ccole Posted on 27/08/2010 17:58
Wilf Mannion


Great poem[^]... cheers

zorro_mfc Posted on 27/08/2010 18:04
Wilf Mannion

Not sure if this has already been mentioned but when he died they interviewed sir stanley mattews for many the by word for football in this and many other countries and when asked who he thought the best player he ever saw was he replied wilf mannion.

Accolades don't get much better than that.

RIP Golden Boy

Diasboro_Dan Posted on 27/08/2010 18:07
Wilf Mannion

Tom Finney said similar of him. And to think that he had no competitive football for five of his prime years.

rob_fmttm Posted on 27/08/2010 18:13
Wilf Mannion

Bobby Robson also used to wax lyrical about Wilf. He lit up the football field for a generation. No tv audiences but the biggest crowds ever - 52 000 Ayresome Park to between 150-200 000 at Hampden Park. To be the shining star of that time after the darkness of war is an incredible thing.

Humpty Posted on 27/08/2010 18:34
Wilf Mannion

cheers. raglasher just bought myself one. i've just found out we have a signed copy of George Hardwicks book in our book stand too [^][^][^]

borobadge Posted on 27/08/2010 19:21
Wilf Mannion





up the 7 sisters road on the way to spurzzzzz theres aa bar called 'Mannions', i go in every time on that road, its a rough old irish bar and i mean rough with a capital 'R' ...Mannion is an old Irish name.

God Bless Wilf.

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 19:28
Wilf Mannion

Think I mentioned the story of me dad going to the game with me, it was Harold Shephersons Testimonial and the trick Wilf did was outlandish, me dad filled up and said he was the greatest.

I met Wilf when I used to run the works annual football charity event he presented the trophies at the night do. sat for two hours in his company and asked him a million questions... a gentleman... he liked a whisky as well. [^]

alveshasjustleftthebuilding Posted on 27/08/2010 19:41
Wilf Mannion

does anyone remember a testimonial at clairville stadium for wilf and i think george hardwick about 1967/68.
i went with my dad and his mates and some of the legends(proper legends not plastic ones off century radio)bill shankly,jackie milburn,mannion,hardwick and many more who i can only vaguely remember(think matthews,finney,don revie and johnny haynes also?)
had the programme but long gone.
also remember malcolm allison on "the big match" mexico 70 saying that the only english player who was as good as pele was wilf mannion.

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 19:43
Wilf Mannion

The old fella never forgave the Boro for the bad treatment they gave him.

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 19:45
Wilf Mannion

Wasnt he the only English player invited by the Brazilian FA at some sort of Anniversary?

Muttley Posted on 27/08/2010 19:47
Wilf Mannion

"The old fella never forgave the Boro for the bad treatment they gave him."

That's not true, I had the pleasure of meeting Wilf (and George Hardwick) and they both followed the fortunes of the club. Had he been born now he would have been a billionaire, he played for nowt and was treated like a slave, but ALL the clubs were the same then not just Boro.

borobadge Posted on 27/08/2010 19:48
Wilf Mannion

Wilf and gentleman george were the only 2 players from the same team ever to play for a G.B. 11......

the gentleman of course captaining the side.

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 19:49
Wilf Mannion

I meant me dad Muttley[:D]

Muttley Posted on 27/08/2010 19:52
Wilf Mannion

Sorry, mis-read!

intheblood Posted on 27/08/2010 20:07
Wilf Mannion

Just a bit on Wilf,s ICI days, he did work in ICI but was employed as a contractor with Capper Pipes as a cabin man.
I worked for Cappers at the time and remember one day when the weather was attrocious and they were getting us out of the cabin. Wilf gave me a three quarter length coat and said "get this on or you,ll freeze to death out there" one of the lads butted in and said "don,t bother Wilf he,ll probably paint a number eight on it and take it home to show and tell everyone who he got it off".
Great memories of a great gentleman.
Just to expand a bit on the cliche mentioned above, it is quite true that most of the so called super stars of today couldn,t lace his boots. On the field,or off it.

Smoggyoggy Posted on 27/08/2010 20:10
Wilf Mannion

Hi new to this message board but have been reading it for years. I was compelled to join having read all these great stories about Wilf
My story was I use to sell home improvements and had a call to a Mr Lannys house in Redcar this was about 1994 I think. Anyhow I gets there and got talking footy as you do to this chap called Albert . He told me if I hung around his mate was coming for a cupper. So as it goes it was Wilf Mannion I could not believe it. We all chatted for about 2 hours. I then over the coming months popped in Alberts house to share a cupper with them. I was also invited to Wilf birthday party think it may of been his 70 or 75 I met Mathews and loads off boro legends past and present . The both of them Wilf and Albert would not stop talking about the boro. I really happy memories of my time with them

intheblood Posted on 27/08/2010 20:24
Wilf Mannion

Just a quickie, Eddie Murphy used to have the Thorntree pub years ago.
Another example of a real gentleman.

Ihatechelsea Posted on 27/08/2010 20:44
Wilf Mannion

About a year or so before Wilf passed away i was stood near the doorway of the Eston & Normanby club when two old codgers came to the door and asked for somebody to sign them in,i recognised Albert Lanny first then realised the other man was Wilf, i quickly grabbed the signing in book and signed them both in.I got Wilfs auto graph for my two sons he signed it, to David and Daniel best wishes from Wilf Mannion, Middlesbrough ,Great Britain and England. [^]CLASS.[^]

mattyk50 Posted on 27/08/2010 20:51
Wilf Mannion

"No tv audiences but the biggest crowds ever - 52 000 Ayresome Park to between 150-200 000 at Hampden Park. To be the shining star of that time after the darkness of war is an incredible thing."

the fact he ended up having to work as a teaboy at ICI after that is an absolute DISGRACE

superb thread though [^][^]

red_shamrock Posted on 27/08/2010 20:55
Wilf Mannion

Mannion, Middlesbrough ,Great Britain and England...[^] class

mattyk50 Posted on 27/08/2010 21:00
Wilf Mannion

"I recall him refereeing a game there between two pubs, The Princess Alice and The Victoria, on New Year’s Day 1949 while he was working as a salesman in Oldham and on waging his one man strike at Middlesbrough."


tengiz Posted on 27/08/2010 21:15
Wilf Mannion

I've become a little disillusioned with Middlesbrough over the last few years but this thread and icularly dreamdealer's poem has restored my faith a little.Well done to all

tyronepositive Posted on 27/08/2010 22:23
Wilf Mannion

In the early 80's Wilf lived in an OAP's council bungalow at Wykeham Close, Redcar. Not far from his mate Albert Lanny's large house at the top end of West Dyke Rd. I fit a new plywood bath panel for him with my apprentice joiner. Wilf was a real gent and made us tea and presented a large plate of biscuits. We talked football and I made sure we spent all afternoon there.

borobadge Posted on 27/08/2010 22:44
Wilf Mannion

i have a tear in my eye...

come 0n boro

tyronepositive Posted on 27/08/2010 22:50
Wilf Mannion

About 12 years ago I met an old guy in a pub in Dublin. After listening to my accent he asked where I was from then told me his favourite player of all time. The Irishman told me he'd seen him play in Dublin in a charity match with a lot of famous players. wilf had completely dominated the game, it was a one man show. Maybe I'd drank too much and felt a bit sentimental. It brought a lump to my throat when I thought about how sad it was that a true legend had been treated harshly and then ended up in council bungalow.

backofthenet Posted on 27/08/2010 22:55
Wilf Mannion

Just imagine a full Riverside (I know) singing 'One Wilf Mannion'

Needs to happen one day.

tyronepositive Posted on 27/08/2010 23:06
Wilf Mannion

This is my last of three Wilf memories. I met his son by chance when visiting a communication tower site in South Wales. In walks this guy a visiting maintenace engineer who introduces himself as Wilf Mannion. A long conversation followed and young Wilf spoke well and with modesty about his Dad. I made sure everyone else knew about the Boro hero and requested that young Wilf was given anything he needed.

mattyk50 Posted on 27/08/2010 23:24
Wilf Mannion

like father like son [^][^]

Decent_Left Posted on 27/08/2010 23:31
Wilf Mannion

I was pleased when he got some late national recognition with the I'm Wilf Mannion cameo on Fantasy Football.

Boro5707 Posted on 27/08/2010 23:40
Wilf Mannion

I was in Edinburgh about 5 years ago in a taxi to the airport and thedriver asked where I was from, I replied Middlesbrough. He went on to say his father had passed away last month, a hibs fan, but always said the greatest player he had ever seen kick a ball was wilf mannion of Middlesbrough. Was touched!

GroggySlaggySmoggy Posted on 28/08/2010 00:30
Wilf Mannion

My auld fella trained with Wilfy down at the Bankers ground when Wilf was on strike and played for Wilf's team in a charity game against a George Hardwick eleven.Got the article written by George himself who must have had a column in the gazette.My Dad said the opposition used to applaud Wilfy's skills not just his own supporters!!

Hubbynz Posted on 28/08/2010 09:23
Wilf Mannion

This is hands down the best thread I have ever read on this board and it is good to have some decent discussion on here for a change.

My dad always raved about him when I was a kid and I have always wanted to see footage of him....if any exists?

Just ordered a copy of the "golden boy" for my dad for his birthday.......once I've had a quick read of it.

Johnny_Thunder Posted on 28/08/2010 09:25
Wilf Mannion

I feel extremely privileged to have had a pint with him on a couple of occasions in The Tiger.
He did get in there quite regularly.

For anyone that drank in there when it was a real footballers pub, can you remember the black and white photograph of Wilf meeting the Queen?
He was wearing the raggiest pair of white trainers you have ever seen, while greeting her majesty.[smi]

rumrunner Posted on 28/08/2010 10:10
Wilf Mannion

I am good freinds with his daughter I will tell her to read this thread she will enjoy it.Mostly she remembers being quite poor when she was a kid and moved around a lot.Wilf was bitter about how Boro exploited him but the bad memories faded for him and in his later years he loved to watch/talk Boro. Remember it was only when Sky money poured in and the Boro revoloution took off that the club recognised the ex grates . He was basically ignored at ayrsome in the 50`s to 80`s era
His family have two complimentary season tickets as thanks for all his old memorabilia they passed on . I always joke to her whats it like to see a statue of your dad?
Also worked with his grandson who is a rigger

Algarve Posted on 28/08/2010 10:27
Wilf Mannion

When my old dad was alive he used to swear that he took me to watch Mannion play when i was 4 years old, Unfortunately i dont ever remember the occasion, my first memory of Boro was going to a game against Leeds a few years later.
I played with Wilfs son wilf Jnr for Wilton ICI in the Teesside leauge, also a really great lad. I met Wilf many times after games at the ICI club, allways had Bernadette and Lanny with him, as the ICI club had 50-50 dancing on later which he loved.
He talked about travelling to games on the Trolley bus from South bank with supporters who were going to the game, How football has changed
Its wierd that of all the people ive talked to about Wilf none ever had a bad word to say about him.

dreamdealer Posted on 28/08/2010 10:28
Wilf Mannion

Me Dad always spoke of Wilf in the most reverential of terms. He took me to see him play in 1953. I got a 'squeeze' through the turnstile. It was my first ever Boro match.I was 5 years old so I cannot remember too much of the game but it started me off as a lifelong fan.

Eons later I had been jogging from Saltburn to Marske along the beach with a training pal and we stopped for a cuppa in the caff on the Stray.I recognised Wilf sitting there with his daughter.

I went over and said, 'Excuse me Mr. Mannion I would just like to thank you for the untold pleasure you brought to countless Boro fans' and how much my father had worshipped him.

He asked me and me mate to join their table. At that his daughter asked if I would stay with her Dad as they had walked there from Redcar and Wilf might struggle to walk back.
Jeez, how sad is that.

She then walked back to collect the car, leaving the maestro to regale us of stories of playing for England, Great Britain and Boro. He also told us of 'money in the boots' and his dislike of pompous directors.

He was so sharp and funny and I wrote of this chance encounter and sent it to the Gazette. I headlined it 'Got the link, Dad' in that me father actually knew him and his wife Bernardette. They printed it as their main story on the letters page.

After I wrote the poem a great mate of mine John Stokeld suggested we put it on a T-shirt. It never crossed my mind to make money from such a venture but we got just 2 shirts made up with the poem and an iconic picture of Wilfie on it. As John had been a printer he dug out the photo.

I was wearing it 3 years ago in Whitby when a Boro fan admired it and, having been told by me of its exclusivity, offered me £25 for it there and then.

When I replied I wouldn't take 100 times as much for it he just smiled and said, 'Good lad'

A true champion of the working class for me.

Just bloody brilliant. [^]

PS Thanks for the kind comments.

Algarve Posted on 28/08/2010 10:41
Wilf Mannion

Searched the web but cant find any footage of Wilf, However i did find this, which is worth a look, as it features many of the old icons.

Algarve Posted on 28/08/2010 10:43
Wilf Mannion

When i first saw the title of this thread, my first thought was, here is another ton for Bandy

So here you go Senor Flag.

trianglesforwheels! Posted on 28/08/2010 10:48
Wilf Mannion

I was brought up in Dalby Close where wilf used to live in later years. It is odd to think now how close we lived to a total legend. I only bumped into him a couple of times, and he was always happy to talk about the boro and football in general. What I always remember is how short and skinny he was. But only being a teenager at the time and I didn't fully appreciate to whom I was speaking. When you think of how much players are now paid and how little Wilf eneded up with, makes me feel a little sad for him...

197in213 Posted on 28/08/2010 10:49
Wilf Mannion

[^] Great thread about a truly great player.

My personal memories, in no special order, gleaned from my uncles who also lived in Napier Street, South Bank

1. Mannion's family would try and make sure he had an egg every day to try and feed his relentless energy and activity. Only those living in the north at the time realise what a sacrifice that was.

2. Mannion could attract a crowd of bemused onlookers as a child by turning continuous cartwheels in a complete circle in the road. No cars in those days! He would still be turning them when people got fed up watching the spectacle and had wandered off.

3. Playing for Boro, Mannion often had two people marking him. An uncle of mine swore that one day a visiting side put three defenders on him to try and stop him from tearing their defence to tatters, as usual. He got the ball and drifted with it onto the left wing twisting this way and that and literally running in figures of eight. When he had the three defenders sufficiently in each other's way and not able to see what he was doing properly, he did something they did not see. Then he carried on down the wing still pursued in hot attendance by all three increasingly bewildered defenders trying desperately to get a tackle in; if only they could see the ball as Mannion's feet continued to twinkle.

Then, Mannion stopped, and pointed across to the other side of the park where the ball, and the game, had been going on for the last minute or so. Apparantly this sort of 'showmanship' was a regular feature of Mannion's play, designed to give the crowd as well as himself a good laugh.

4. When still at school a group of us with one teacher went to watch Mannion play for Shildon (I think, but cannot be sure) visiting South Bank in an evening game during the mid-to-late-sixties. There was quite a crowd, a lot more than usual. One event stood out in my memory of the game. The Shildon keeper caught a cross and immediately punted the ball towards Mannion who was on the half-way line closely marked by the South Bank centre half. In a piece of pure theatre Mannion opened his arms wide for balance as poised on his bent left leg he extended his right foot in a demonstration of how best to trap the oncoming ball. Of course, when the ball hit the ground Mannion's foot was no longer there, and neither was the elusive Mannion. The ball bounced with pace clear over the non-plussed centre half's head and was caught neatly on Mannion's thigh as he bore down on goal by now in full stride in half the pitch all to himself. I'd love to say he broke the back of the net, but unfortunately he took as much of the pitch as the ball in his strike for goal and the keeper saved a weak shot. The way in which he duped the players and crowd into thinking he was doing one thing when all the time he planned another, which put himself clear on goal, lives still vibrant in my memory. What tricks, feints, swerves and dummies he must have pulled off in his hey-day. I'd believe anything anybody says about him as a ball-playing magician.

Keep this thread alive boys, if you can! [8D]

dham Posted on 28/08/2010 10:57
Wilf Mannion

My dad also told me 2 of the stories previously mentioned; how he 'dummied' the Holgate end and also ran the length of the pitch with the ball on his head. I managed to get the Gazette to reproduce some Mannion pics for my dad's birthday. As luck would have it I bumped into the great man in the 'Inn Off'on Linthorpe Rd and he kindly autographed them. He came across as a real gentleman.

redwurzel Posted on 28/08/2010 10:59
Wilf Mannion

I remember coming into my dad's taxi office for a cab in the early 70s in South Bank I must have been about 8 or 9 - extremely modest man - he couldn't afford a car never mind the Bently's 19 year olds are driving today.

All the drivers were in awe even those who knew little of football - it was like Jesus has passed through.

People were shocked at the time he was a tea boy at ICI.

When people on here -whine on - they should reflect on how our rich football heritage and use it to go forward - how many clubs have had a Mannion play for them for 15 years.

Chuzzlewit Posted on 28/08/2010 11:07
Wilf Mannion

I remember being in a massive queue in the old Waterstone's in Cleveland Centre to have a copy of his autobiography signed by him. It took so long because Wilf had a chat with everybody. He told me the story of how he and George Hardwick had to sit on their suitcases in the corridor of the train back from Glasgow after playing in the Great Britain v The Rest of Europe match because the organisers hadn't bothered to book them a seat!
There was no bitterness in his voice; he saw it as a huge joke but it must have hurt him to see modern players who weren't fit to lace his boots driving round in Ferraris and being treated like superstars.
He starred in that game even though he was playing in borrowed boots and got paid £20.

benidorm2boro Posted on 28/08/2010 11:33
Wilf Mannion

took from the south bank page,

scroll down to "wilf 1951"

Link: slaggy island

benidorm2boro Posted on 28/08/2010 11:37
Wilf Mannion

also look at the 1940s on that site scroll to

15,wilf and george from slaggy island,

a fantastic pic,

i forgot to mention if you look at the st peters school page you will find many team pics of wilf as a young boy also,

benidorm2boro Posted on 28/08/2010 11:49
Wilf Mannion

another great piece ,its quite long but worth the read

Without doubt Wilf Mannion is our most famous Achiever. Born in Napier Street on the 16th of May 1918, Wilf went to St. Peter's School where he was "discovered" and went on to captain Middlesbrough FC and play for England. He was also in the Great Britain team that beat the Rest Of Europe 7-2. He is thought by many to be the greatest football player to ever kick a ball even though the public was prevented from seeing the best of Wilf when his career was unfortunately interrupted by the war and afterwards when he was involved with a dispute with the Middlesbrough Club Officials. Deadlocked, he returned to the fold and saved the club from relegation.

Wilf retired from professional football at the age of 36 but was tempted out of retirement for one season by Hull but was then suspended by the Football League as a result of newspaper articles he wrote while retired. He later played non-league football for Poole, Kings Lyn and Earlstown before hanging up his boots at the age of 44 in 1962.

On the 13th of April 2000 I had to go to Stead Hospital in Redcar as an outpatient with an ingrowing toenail. I knew Wilf was a patient there and asked after a friend. The nurse enquired, then came back and said he was fine. "Did I want to see him? I could go up." However his daughter was visiting so, to my great regret, I declined. If he had known I was there he would have insisted because not only was Wilf a great footballer he was a great gentleman.
Wilf Mannion died in the early hours of the next day.

When Wilf died tributes flowed into the Evening Gazette offices. Ged O'Neill sent in his own thoughts on his hero but, as he said, they only wanted short e-mails and one liners. Here is the

A Tribute To Wilf Mannion by Ged O'Neill.

I can recall the day when an interest in playing football as a youth became a single-minded desire to succeed as a player in that most insecure of professions. It was a day that I had been anticipating all through the War Years -1939-45. As a boy of eleven I had seen my first professional game at Ayresome Park after the divisions had been scrapped and football fixtures had been arranged in Zones, North and South. That had happened for many reasons but mainly because the team strengths had been decimated due to conscription and the demands of war.

Teams were composed of: the older players, the exempt players, permit players, guest players and players from the amateur leagues. Football was encouraged nay, ordered to continue within those constraints. It was considered to be an essential part of national morale to have the great game performed every Saturday under the auspices of the League clubs. Golf courses could be ploughed and sown with crops, Athletic fixtures could be suspended but football was played despite any handicaps.

None of that mattered to myself as a young, hopeful teenager whose introduction to the professional game was to watch a hotch-potch collection of players masquerading under the banner of Middlesbrough F.C. playing against teams from the prewar lower divisions. Darlington, Hartlepool, York City, but also Sunderland and Newcastle were the opposition.

It was magic for me to watch Cliff Whitelum from Sunderland playing for our own team. He was stationed with an army battery at GrangeTown. I admired the elegance of Bobby Hardisty from Bishop Auckland and the terrier-like Jacky Towers from Darlington. During those war years a little centre forward named Bobby Stobbart averaged twenty goals per season despite his ever-changing teammates. He was doing his war service in the Durham coalmines.

Throughout all those years we had been promised something extra special when the war ended and things returned to normal and all those far flung players returned to their home grounds. In our own particular case as youngsters we were told by all knowing adults to "Just wait until you see Mickey Fenton" or "Wait until George Hardwick comes home"! About one player in particular we were regaled with anecdotes and stories until we felt that we knew him as well as they did. As the war years grew to a close our anticipation grew also. No Biblical Jew could have anticipated the Messiah as much as we looked forward to this advent.
At long last as a lad of sixteen I stood in the queue at Ayresome Park the likes of which I had never seen before at any football ground. It was an evening match against Stoke City and our man was to make his first home appearance since his call up. On entering the ground I marvelled at the numbers. The estimate was 25,000 and eclipsed the previous attendance for Mickey Fenton’s reappearance of 16,000.

The teams came on the field and the crowd roared, as I had never heard it during those wartime contests. I recognized him immediately. How could I fail to do so? After all he had been described to me on a hundred occasions by older football followers until I felt that I could have drawn a recognizable picture of him myself. His name passed from mouth to mouth "Mannion Mannion!" we all chanted.

From the first time that he touched the ball I was entranced and as the match progressed so did that enchantment grow and my decision was made. That was what I wanted to do: to emulate the grace and style of this footballing genius. For my part that evening I could only see one figure among the twenty two: that flopping mass of fair hair, the distinctive way that he held his hands at right angles to his body for balance. The way he accepted the ball from any direction or angle and brought it under immediate control, the accuracy of the pass when he released the ball in the air or along the ground. The body sway and swerve which took him past one, two three players at a time. The humour when he took defenders away with a quick dart when the ball was elsewhere. The extraordinary height he achieved in jumping to head a ball, and the finishing power with either feet when he was anywhere near goal.

Throughout it all serenity shone through! Not for him the waste of energy in any outburst of frustration or anger. As I travelled home that night I knew that I had seen my first "Footballer Extraordinaire". That was only one of many occasions when I attended a soccer match for the one simple reason that "Mannion is Playing" irrespective of the other twenty one players or the quality of the opposing team.

I was there at the last match of the season in 1947 at Brentford on a sunny, dry, windy day with nothing at stake. I had persuaded my college football team colleagues to come and see him. The poor conditions for good football caused him to miskick in the first few minutes and he stumbled and hurt his ankle. My friends jeered at me knowingly. Football on both sides for the next 88 minutes was poor but throughout it all his ability shone through. At the end of the match their judgement was: what a poor match it had been but what a brilliant player he was.

I was there with Val on his first return to football after his abortive one-man strike against poor wages. How squalidly Middlesbrough FC treated him at that time! The match was England ‘B’ v Holland and there was an estimated 60,000 people at this non-ticket game. The selectors were anxious to have him back in the ‘A’ team as soon as possible and this match was the prelude to his next full international game.

For the first twenty minutes of the game the ball appeared to be tied to Len Shackleton’s feet but for the next seventy, Mannion gave a superb display of football artistry and was the man of the match according to all the critics. The Great Britain match was called "Mannion’s Match" during which he scored two of the winning goals, one from a penalty. According to some football correspondents it was he who was instrumental in helping Billy Steele the other inside forward to attain his £25,000 status shortly afterwards, which was the highest transfer fee ever paid up to that time.

I remember the first tour by an English team in Europe after the war. Mannion played in every game. One result was: Portugal :0, England 10!

I never made it to the professional ranks and my interest in football has receded somewhat. Wilf never made it to the million pound bracket! People have speculated how he would have fared in the modern game? In my opinion: On the evidence of his playing on dry, muddy, heavy, light pitches, on wet, sunny, snowy days, with a heavy, light leather ball and wearing the old type boots, then modern conditions and equipment would be a further extension of his genius and he would shine like a beacon!

Ged O’Neill

backofthenet Posted on 28/08/2010 17:26
Wilf Mannion

Wonder what this lad would think of the Boro of today [|)]

borobadge Posted on 28/08/2010 22:04
Wilf Mannion

george and wilf.....

Link: FINEST...

borobadge Posted on 28/08/2010 22:21
Wilf Mannion


Link: WILFRED....

The_same_as_before Posted on 28/08/2010 22:38
Wilf Mannion

My dad was his mate, i have his autograph somewhere, he gave it to me in Redcar.

red_shamrock Posted on 29/08/2010 06:36
Wilf Mannion

Fantastic thread this,enjoyed every post brilliant[^]

Jon77 Posted on 29/08/2010 08:15
Wilf Mannion

Wilf wasn't a hard person to find. I remember when I was at College in Redcar in the mid 90's we would nip in to Redcar town centre for lunch. Fairly often you would see Wilf down there with his shopping bags.

To the unknowing he would have just looked like any other pensioner out doing their daily shopping. Apart from the fact that just about every man that walked past him would say 'afternoon Wilf' and he would alwasy respond. I would often see him stood with his shopping bags talking to a group about football, probably people who idolised him from the terraces at Ayresome.

I wish so much that I wasn't always in a rush in those days and stopped him myself and had a quick chat [|)]

197in213 Posted on 29/08/2010 09:37
Wilf Mannion

[^] Remembered another story.

Mannion, for a small man was a brilliant header of the ball and scored quite a few that way. He earned the reputation of seemingly 'hanging in the air' before getting his header home. My Father reckoned the Evening Gazette ran an article about it where they had collected a whole load of goalmouth incidents involving Mannion and crosses. The paper had put a circle around his hands in each photo. Mannion was of course jumping early and using the shoulders, arms, heads or whatever of those players, teammates or opponents, coming up after him to stay up there and get his header away. Being of slight build hardly anybody noticed what Mannion had been doing. [8D]

tyronepositive Posted on 30/08/2010 01:52
Wilf Mannion

excellent thread

robbso Posted on 30/08/2010 02:58
Wilf Mannion

A glimpse of the great man.

Link: Wizard

robbso Posted on 30/08/2010 03:03
Wilf Mannion

Also on that site is footage of Englands game against Scotland and the actual clash that led to Mannions bad injury,fractured cheekbone.I think it was his last international.[|)]

Edit..Great Britain game,Wilf scoring 2.

Link: I hope these work

backofthenet Posted on 30/08/2010 09:48
Wilf Mannion

Excellent robbso, first clip of Wilf playing football I've ever seen. Shame there isn't much more about of him.

ProudToComeFromTeesside Posted on 30/08/2010 10:08
Wilf Mannion

Met him and George Hardwick at the 1998 Coca Cola Cup Final. When I told Wilf that my dad told me he was the best player he'd ever seen, including Pele, Cruyff, Eusebio and Best, he modestly replied "It's nice to be remembered."

Although I didn't realise it at the time, mid-80s, I was on a bus going down town and there was an elderly couple on the bus. The fella looked vaguely familiar. Although I can't be totally sure, it wasn't until he got off the bus near Ayresome Gardens, that I thought to myself "I think that was Wilf Mannion."

Piggy Posted on 30/08/2010 10:11
Wilf Mannion

This should be Rob's next book, 'Memories of Mannion'.

A couple of hundred different memories, some of them supplemented with photos that people will have had taken with Wilf would make a great read.

borobadge Posted on 30/08/2010 10:31
Wilf Mannion

good find that site robbo...

Link: when the queen met Wilfred Mannion...

Bandy Posted on 30/08/2010 10:43
Wilf Mannion

42 seconds in, wilfy scores for GB against rest of Europe!

Link: hope it works

dreamdealer Posted on 30/08/2010 10:50
Wilf Mannion

Well done, Bandy. Brilliant stuff. [LOVE][:X]

Luca_Brazi Posted on 30/08/2010 10:53
Wilf Mannion

If ever there was a documentary needing to be made, this is it.

Probably Europe's greatest ever player (according to everyone from Matthews and Lofthouse to Bobby Robson), from South Bank, virtually unknown now outside of the area, a man of principle, a patriot, a genius and a true gentleman loved by everyone. Who played the game with grace and a smile on his face.

It would be a travesty if his memory faded with the passing of all of his contemporaries.

Even if there's virtually no footage, as is evidenced here there must be an army of people with wonderful stories.

This thread alone has really inspired me and, I'm sure, brought a few moisty eyes and Teesside pride to everyone on here.

Craig Hornby - over to you mate. Let's get Sir Steve to sponsor it and let's get it made.

Bandy Posted on 30/08/2010 10:58
Wilf Mannion

I bet the only player he would have time for nowadays is Messi

Humpty Posted on 30/08/2010 11:38
Wilf Mannion

I can confirm what 197in213 said a few posts above. My grandad always said that the one and only fault Mannion use to have was that when he jumped, he jumped with his fists clenched alongside his head and he'd punch the ball with the bottom part of his fist whilst flicking his head.

Joe_Laidlaw Posted on 30/08/2010 11:58
Wilf Mannion

Mannion lived out the back of me as a kid in South Bank and when he was on his way to the bookies he would join in our game of footy - for us spoiling it.

At the time we did not know or really understand who he was and we would tell him to F Off.

It would be like telling Shearer or the likes to F Off now.

He got in the Tiger a lot towards the end of his life (Albert Lanny in tow) and I was chatting to him about a picture on the wall when he was meeting the Queen. Wilf pointed out that he had his carpet slippers on when he met her because his feet where killing him.

Only a South Bank lad would get away with it.

borobuddah Posted on 30/08/2010 19:29
Wilf Mannion

It seems like everyone has met him! Like everyone else my Dad used to glorify him, and he worked with Wilf's brother at ICI.

I saw him walking up wembley way after we got beat by Chewsea, struggling a bit, and looking old and frail. I went over and said "I'd have thought the club would have organised a car for you Wilf?"

"Na" he said, I'd rather be with you lads anyhow"

alvesdad Posted on 30/08/2010 20:42
Wilf Mannion

the fella must have been magic to watch.
In 1968 i was in the doctors surgery in southbank and in walked Wilf. we got talking about the football of the day and he said i hope the doctor is not to long because i want to get home to watch young Georgie Best.
I said to wilf do you think george would have played in your day he said the likes of george could play in any era this was the night george won the European cup with Man Utd.Seen George play and only wished i could have seen Wilf play but what a lovely fella.

borobadge Posted on 30/08/2010 21:24
Wilf Mannion

..The Teesside Peoples Champion...

God Bless Wilf.

Borotommo Posted on 30/08/2010 22:33
Wilf Mannion

I've loved reading this thread.

My Mum's new dog is called Wilf, and I've just realised that I'm going to be very happy to see him as he'll make me smile with a thought for "old Wilf" each time he rushes to greet.

Can't smile wide enough!

Eindhoven06 Posted on 30/08/2010 22:49
Wilf Mannion

Not sure if this has been mentioned but I remember being at Highfield Road when boro played Coventry. A minute silence was planned for the Hilsborough aniversary but it was just after Wilf passed away. After the silence the Boro fans let out the biggest chant of

alvesdad Posted on 30/08/2010 22:52
Wilf Mannion

like i said never seen wilf play in a proper match but like a lot of others seen him play at a show biz team at South bank in i think about 1963.At half timehe came on and did tricks with the ball that was magic to see.
Over 11000 thousand people were at the game mostly to see a Boro legend FANTASTIC.

redwurzel Posted on 30/08/2010 22:56
Wilf Mannion

When will MFC name the Riverside stands correctly:


I loved the Slaggy Island website - I show a picture of my mum at school in 1950! (when George and Wilf were at the Boro) quite spookie.

It seems like half of South Bank now live in Australia

HolgateCorner Posted on 30/08/2010 23:00
Wilf Mannion

It's amazing that it is sixty odd years since Mannion was in his heyday - that's almost a lifetime - and yet purely by word of mouth on Teesside his legend lives on.

The words that have rung in my ears over the years from my dad are 'you should have seen Mannion'.

Wish I had.

redwurzel Posted on 30/08/2010 23:49
Wilf Mannion

For those too young and those who have forgotten there was a 30 min documentary made about Wilf by BBC North East - it was shown first in the NE then when everyone said it was so good nationally in the 1990s?.

It begins Wilf was from a working class area of a working class town - narrated by Paul Frost?

_360 Posted on 30/08/2010 23:57
Wilf Mannion

I'm good friends with his grandson, top family [^]

juninho7 Posted on 31/08/2010 07:38
Wilf Mannion

i've got a treasured framed picture given from wilf , it is a picture of wilf and juninho , arms round each other , and signed To craig , from your best friends wilf mannion and juninho . both individual signed.
long live the boro legends !!!

Humpty Posted on 31/08/2010 07:40
Wilf Mannion

wow....that has to be the best piece of boro memorabilia i've ever heard of. Surely no one can top that?

juninho7 Posted on 31/08/2010 07:45
Wilf Mannion

i got it for my birthday , was in a relationship with his grand daughter at the time , remember going round the back garden as a kid , not knowing anything of wilf and seeing a old boy juggling a ball off his shoulder and thinking wow! later to hear all the past stories from the great man himself.
he had time for anyone , too much time sometimes , we just wanted to get home from the shops ! [;)]

Bandy Posted on 31/08/2010 10:10
Wilf Mannion

my dad tells me when he first met him his mate lanny introduced him to wilf as william and wilf said, "I'll just call ya billy, it's easier"[:D]

Diasboro_Dan Posted on 31/08/2010 10:13
Wilf Mannion

I think there's been more than one local TV documentory. There was an earlier one, interspersed with clips from a recent Boro match which showed, among others, Graeme Hedley.
If a picture = 1000 words then we've just about got a utube clip of Wilf here.

Bandy Posted on 31/08/2010 10:15
Wilf Mannion

my grandad was at British Steel with him and he said they used to hide wilfs brylcreem tub and he'd go mad

ProudToComeFromTeesside Posted on 31/08/2010 10:23
Wilf Mannion

Although I doubt there's anyone on here old enough to remember "The Mannion Match" v Blackpool in 1947, it would be great if someone on here had a relative who was at the game who could tell us about it. Anyone at the game would at least be in their 70s by now.

backofthenet Posted on 31/08/2010 10:31
Wilf Mannion

I've got a picture stuck in my head of an old programme where Wilf is playing keepy up headers with Jamie Pollock, have I dreamt this or was there a picture? Sure it was at the site when they were building the Riverside.

Also, wouldn't it be fantastic for something to come of this thread, ie a book or a re showing of any footage of Wilf. Sure I'm not the only one to think this.

Bandy Posted on 31/08/2010 10:47
Wilf Mannion

I vaguely remember that picture aswell. I think wilf had a spade or was wearing a hard hat??

backofthenet Posted on 31/08/2010 10:50
Wilf Mannion

Yeah think he might have had.

Bandy Posted on 31/08/2010 10:51
Wilf Mannion

there's a cracking pic of him and bernie at ayresome looking out onto the pitch when the demolition boys were there pulling the roof off the east end

borobadge Posted on 31/08/2010 22:23
Wilf Mannion

were not losing this thread...

man cit£h would be offering us shed loads of millions for the Golden Boy late this afternoon...[:D][LOVE][:D]

raglasher Posted on 02/09/2010 15:01
Wilf Mannion

I am pleased to say that today i received today
from Amazon, Golden boy the biography of the Great man. On the back page this is what it says. WHEN I WATCHED PELE PLAYING, I THOUGHT OF WILF. GREAT THOUGH IS, I AM PROUD TO THINK I PLAYED WITH AS GREAT A PLAYER - PERHAPS EVEN

Bandy Posted on 02/09/2010 15:10
Wilf Mannion

Got my old man to dig out a programme from a testimonial dinner he attended. On the back is "Best Wishes Wilf mannion". Thank you very much. He was a fine hand-writer aswell

charlie_amer_fanclub Posted on 02/09/2010 15:48
Wilf Mannion

My dad was at the famous Mannion match, I will try and persuade him to give a blow by blow account but getting him a username might be like Hitler Vs FMTTM youtube clip.

bobby_pastrami Posted on 02/09/2010 16:01
Wilf Mannion

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned already - or if it's true.

A lad I worked with was telling me that Wilf Mannion worked in the canteen at ICI site. While he was working, there was a few lads watching an England match on the tele. He went over, sat with them and had a bit of a natter. They got onto talking about footballers being paid to play for England: "Footballers shouldn't be paid to play for England, it's an honour and they should do it for free", Mannion said.

"What the f*ck do you know?", one young chap apparently turned around and asked him.

"Well, I got 26 caps for England. So I should know", replied Wilf.


Bandy Posted on 02/09/2010 16:02
Wilf Mannion

I hope that story is true. That is the biggest conversation stopper ever.

bobby_pastrami Posted on 02/09/2010 16:08
Wilf Mannion

Yeah, I dare say it would have shut him right up, to be honest.

What a shame, though. Such a talented bloke with an amazing career ending up working in a canteen. It's quite shocking, really - especially when you look at the modern day ex-professionals. At worst, these days you end up doing Europa League coverage on Channel Five.

Bandy Posted on 02/09/2010 16:21
Wilf Mannion

It's quite shocking thesedays how little people know about proper footballing legends.

bobby_pastrami Posted on 02/09/2010 16:25
Wilf Mannion

Yeah, I would agree with that.

Speaking of footballing legends - I met George Camsell's granddaughter before (by chance, I was serving her in Middlesbrough golf club. I don't go round trying to meet relatives of dead ex-Boro players). I asked if she was related and she said yes, she seemed genuinely shocked that somebody would ask her such a question.

Bandy Posted on 02/09/2010 16:27
Wilf Mannion


boro1607 Posted on 02/09/2010 18:45
Wilf Mannion

I rember Mr Mannion at a Sportsman's Dinner at Marton Country club and George Best was the Guest Speaker. Beore Besty did his turn he made a point of telling a story about who his own dad's favourite footballers were (can't remeber all the names now but Sir Tom Finney was one). After naming a few players, he turned to Mr Mannion who was sat next to George Hardwick and then said "and this great man here was his favourite". He thyen walked over to him and shoke his hand.

George Best didn't have to do that because the night was about him, but it just goes to show the high esteem that Mr Mannion was held in by all football fans who new him and about him.

One of my favourite things from that night was a piece of paper with George Best', Wilf Mannion' and George Hardwick's autographs on, which I will keep forever.

raglasher Posted on 03/09/2010 09:21
Wilf Mannion

When Mannion returned to the Boro with his Hull side he put 20,000 on the gate. That shows his class.

charlie_amer_fanclub Posted on 03/09/2010 10:32
Wilf Mannion

Although a large crowd came to welcome Mannion back Arthur Fitzsimmons stole the show and ran the hull defense ragged, Mannion still looked class. Despite dominating boro still lost (some things never change). Info courtesy of my dad.

raglasher Posted on 03/09/2010 11:52
Wilf Mannion

I would advise anybody who would like to really
know what the Genius was like, get the book GOLDEN BOY it is brilliant.

raglasher Posted on 04/09/2010 12:33
Wilf Mannion

Simply the best.[:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

Chuzzlewit Posted on 05/09/2010 19:42
Wilf Mannion

Charlie Amer Fanclub...Glad you mentioned Arthur Fitzimmons. He wasn't quite in the same class as Wilf (who was?) but he was one hell of a player. Happy memories.

billdoor Posted on 05/09/2010 20:31
Wilf Mannion

By far the best thread I've read on here[^]

He lived around the corner from me in Redcar when I was a kid but, like so many others, he was just a name to me, an old fella carrying his shopping who I knew had played for Boro. Proud that he's one of our own.

alvesdad Posted on 05/09/2010 21:02
Wilf Mannion

Chuzelwit got to agree with you Arthur Fitsimmons was my idol when i first went to the Boro matches and was my top boro player till Juninho came. Different times but both brilliant players but wished i could have seen Mannion play {sigh!.

Bandy Posted on 06/09/2010 10:24
Wilf Mannion

A wilf stlye bodyswerve followed by a kernaghan style HOOF[^]

Humpty Posted on 07/09/2010 18:01
Wilf Mannion

Got home today to find Golden Boy in the it up and it's only A SIGNED COPY [:O][:D][^][^][^][^]

borobadge Posted on 07/09/2010 20:52
Wilf Mannion

i was watching tipperary v kilkenny G.A.A. on sunday, and this Irish guy comes over to speak to me during the conversation i say i'm from Middlesbrough, he says instantly "i saw Wilf Mannion play", sure yer did thought i, anyway he goes on telling me that it was a pre-season game and the boro were playing in ireland (ive no idea of any pre-seasons from those days)the guy was from Cork, but sure he said the game was in or around Dublin...he was waxing lyrical about Wilf.[^]

i was well chuffed.

God Bless Wilfred James Mannion.

Bandy Posted on 08/09/2010 10:29
Wilf Mannion

deserves 200

raglasher Posted on 08/09/2010 12:18
Wilf Mannion

PROUD TO BE FROM TEESSIDE says Wilf would probably not have made it in football today [:(!]

neworder Posted on 08/09/2010 12:30
Wilf Mannion

I worked in Wilf Mannion's sisters house in a flat above the shops on Fabian Road Eston near the Labour Club about 1980. As a young talkative apprentice i got chatting to the lady who was very sweet by the way, she told me her brother was an ex proffesional footballer. She then spent the best part of a couple of hours showing me all Wilf's press cuttings and many of the momento's that she kept for him. It was a real priviledge. i hope her little treasure is secure for the people of teesside.

raglasher Posted on 08/09/2010 19:13
Wilf Mannion

We could do with these put in a book for posterity [:D]

ProudToComeFromTeesside Posted on 08/09/2010 22:11
Wilf Mannion

If you mean me, it certainly wasn't. It was Rofl_tbf_xx or whatever he's called (I think I got his username right). I think someone also had a dig at Humpty (though can't find it now - possibly been edited) for making the same suggestion when he was definitely fighting Wilf's corner.

Anyhow, my dad was bought a copy of "Golden Boy" a few years ago, and he let me have it. Just dug it out and there is the great man's signature inside the front cover. [^][smi]

Bandy Posted on 09/09/2010 10:11
Wilf Mannion

Got my copy this morning

Shaun71 Posted on 09/09/2010 10:14
Wilf Mannion

Is it the soft back one Bandy? Theres an extra postscript in that, as it came out after the great man passed on.

Shaun71 Posted on 09/09/2010 10:15
Wilf Mannion

The original copy is one of my most prized possessions.

Signature still as neat as ever, and signed as he always did.

Wilf Mannion, Middlesbrough, England and Great Britain

Bandy Posted on 09/09/2010 10:16
Wilf Mannion

yeah, it was my dads book. He brought it through this morning

Shaun71 Posted on 09/09/2010 10:18
Wilf Mannion

borobadge - Wilfie did indeed play in Ireland.

We toured there in May 1952, and played games versus Glentoran, Glenavon, Cork and Drumcondra.

Wilf played in all the games, and scored in 3

OPEO - Any chance of a copy of that 1936 'Reds v Whites' sheet?

Bandy Posted on 09/09/2010 10:50
Wilf Mannion

Sadly my book isnt signed but I do have his signature a few times, including one on the back of a menu for a testimonial dinner

ovy1 Posted on 09/09/2010 12:43
Wilf Mannion

I sat with him once at an MSS do in the mid nineties for most of the night chatting once. Keeping him tanked up on Guiness was no price to pay for all of the stories he recollected. Great night with a great man!

Bandy Posted on 09/09/2010 12:44
Wilf Mannion

Never knew that ovy! Class[^][:D]

alvesdad Posted on 09/09/2010 20:51
Wilf Mannion

I was in the Eston & Normanby Club a few years ago when Wilf and Albert Lanny came in the bar some of the lads in the bar said hiya Wilf and a few asked for his autograph. Two young lads were on the snooker table and said who the f--- is the old fella.Awag in the club said if you can play snooker like he could play football you will be playing Stephen Hendry next week . the young lad blushed MADE ME SMILE.

Bandy Posted on 10/09/2010 10:01
Wilf Mannion

Started the book last night. The story about the bloke in the portacabin not knowing who he was is superb. What an intro!

Humpty Posted on 10/09/2010 11:07
Wilf Mannion

and at the same time what a pleb!!

I was suprised to read that Boro had been involved in a bribe scandal in the 1920's.

I have to say i think the stories are great but it's so poorly written.

borobadge Posted on 10/09/2010 11:18
Wilf Mannion


that will explain it then shaun, this bloke was getting on a bit, well into his 70's (i would have thought) and he did say he was from cork, so i s'pose he watched them in that match....1952, i will remind him of that next time i see him, that was a long time i s'pose this bloke would have only been a young boy/teenager....

i should have listened to him more, and slowed down on the guinness !!