Pete Sixsmith – pre-weight loss days

John McCormick writes:

Fixtures come thick and fast in the Championship. No sooner have we left our (in my case metaphorical) seats after Sheffield Utd than we’re sitting back down for the arrival of Nottingham Forest.

I have memories of watching Forest play us in the 60’s and it’s likely I was at some of the games that Pete Sixsmith also attended. But I’m not sure about this one – I have no memory of ever seeing Harry Hood play. So it was with great interest that I read Pete’s account of this game, wondering if it would reawaken some distant flicker in my mind. It didn’t, although I do remember Churchill’s funeral, but that doesn’t mean it’s not another superb account.

THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR TEAM; NOTTINGHAM FOREST.

 “Robin Hood, Robin Hood,

Riding through the glen

Robin Hood, Robin Hood

With his band of men

Feared by the bad,

Loved by the good,

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.”

Richard Greene*

For those of my generation, the handsome features of Richard Greene leaping around in green tights on a tacky studio set while fooling the evil Sheriff of Nottingham is something that those in the back streets of Leeds or the more refined semis of Shildon regarded as escapism and as a true reflection of English history as the gallant Saxon stood up against the evil, wicked Normans who had usurped the crown.

So, to have a football team who shared the same name as the place where Robin lived was fascinating. They were one of the teams who attracted a flicker of interest in my rugby league days in the 50’s and I remember going round to my grandad’s to watch the 1959 FA Cup Final when they beat Luton Town 2-1.

Managed by Bill Walker and captained by Jack Burkitt (two fine Saxon names there), they also had Roy Dwight, who scored the first goal and was then carried off, much to the disappointment of his nephew Reg, better known now as Elton John. They hung on to win and I am sure that the Nottm. (Never Notts) Forest fans, who probably sang the Robin Hood song as part of Arthur Caiger’s Community Singing (in association with the Daily Express), gave it another go as Forest won their second FA Cup.

We changed the words to “Harry Hood” when the East Midlanders arrived at Roker Park on the penultimate day of January 1965, for an FA Cup Fourth Round tie. We were struggling in the league, having lost the previous league game 2-0 to Arsenal and we were clinging onto the First Division status that we had worked so hard to achieve.

In 1965, the FA Cup meant something. Managers rarely fielded weakened teams although they may have given some players an extra week to recover from a knock or a hangover. George Hardwick selected the following XI;

McLaughlan; Parke, Ashurst; Rooks, Hurley, McNab; Hood, Mitchinson, Sharkey, Herd, Mulhall,

Harry Hood. copyright Clyde FC

Harry Hood*

John Parke and Harry Hood had been signed by “The Selection Committee” that ran the club between Alan Brown’s departure in July and George Hardwick’s arrival in November. Parke was a Northern Irish international who cost £40,000 from Hibernian while Hood cost £27,000 when he left Clyde. The Scottish leagues were a rich seam that Sunderland would continue to mine throughout the 60’s, with some successes (Herd, Mulhall, Neil Martin), some failures (Andy Kerr) and some who were , well, ok with Parke and Hood falling into that category.

 

did it sell venison pies in those days?

The game attracted a crowd of 42,957, an increase of 799 on the gate for the Arsenal game two weeks previously and there was probably a good contingent of Forest fans, replete in green tights and green caps and carrying bows and arrows while munching venison pie.

They lined up thus; Peter Grummitt; Peter Hindley, Dennis Mochan; Henry Newton, Bob McKinlay, Jeff Whitefoot; Chris Crowe, Colin Addison, Frank Wignall, John Barnwell, Alan Hinton.

McKinlay and Whitefoot were the only members of the 1959 team who played that day, but some of the others were interesting. Grummitt made 570 appearances for Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton while Newton and Hinton both played an important part in the Clough Revival at Derby County. John Barnwell was born in Newcastle and played for Bishop Auckland before embarking on a lengthy career that took him first to Arsenal and then Forest before he took up coaching and management.

So, they were not a bad team – 2 years later, bolstered by the likes of Terry Hennessey and Ian Storey-Moore, they finished second in the old First Division – and they were far better than we were on this day.

Colin Addison, the Hereford Mag slayer, scored the first and Frank Wignall doubled the lead after half time. A Harry Hood goal put us back into the game but Charlie Hurley’s own goal sent Forest through to the Fifth Round, where they were knocked out by Crystal Palace.

The day was a sombre one, as it saw the State Funeral of Winston Churchill in London. He had died on the 24th of January at the age of 90 after a stroke presumably brought on by the thought of so many actors impersonating him in the future.

As a wartime Prime Minister, he was outstanding – as a peacetime one, he made Theresa May look like Franklyn Roosevelt. He clung onto the Premiership when it was clear that he was seriously incapacitated and handed Anthony Eden (a Sunderland supporter) a chalice almost as poisoned as the one that David Moyes handed to Simon Grayson.

The funeral was the last State one to be held in this country and he joined previous P.M’s Gladstone, Palmerston and Wellington in being so honoured. The procession to St Paul’s  and the journey down the Thames to Festival Pier was watched by millions. 25 million people watched on black and white television as the cranes on the River Thames were lowered in tribute to him – although the dockers who did it were paid overtime.

Churchill was buried in a simple grave at Bladon church in Oxfordshire, near to his ancestral home of Blenheim Palace. I visited it a few years ago to complete my Big 3 collection – FDR at Hyde Park, JV Stalin in the Kremlin Wall and WSC at Bladon.

Harry Hood picture reproduced by kind permision of Clyde FC
Richard Greene photo sourced at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Greene#/media/File:Richard_Greene_-_Modern_Screen,_August_1938.jpg
Roker Pie shop original photo from https://www.facebook.com/RokerPieShop/
Other graphics by Jake

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by – and principally for – supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

4 Responses to “The first time ever I saw your team – Nottingham Forest.” Subscribe

  1. Eric012 September 9, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    Andy Kerr! I attended my first ever game in I believe 1960 at age 10, and went regularly after that until leaving Sunderland in 1968. Andy Kerr is a name that continues to crop up on these pages but for some reason I have no recollection of him at all. Harry Hood, John Parke, Neil Martin are all players I remember fondly, but Andy Kerr? Sorry.

  2. Pete Sixsmith September 9, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    He would get a Game in this team we have at the moment Eric…..

  3. Geoff Bethell September 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    After two blanks we’re now playing another team I’ve seen live in the dim and distant past. It was on 7th March 1970 – just 7 months before I left England for good (as it turned out). It was an away game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. I was one of a crowd of 55,227 or 38,280 depending on which source you trust. About all I recall from Forest is a rather pedestrian No.9 named Alex Ingram who seemed to have just one style of running off the ball and never looked like scoring. Chelsea usually scored lots of goals at home – but on this day they did not. The game finished 1-1 – Tommy Baldwin (8 min) for Chelsea and substitute Jim McCaffrey (84 min) for Forest. I can’t remember either goal.

    Chelsea: Peter Bonetti, Paddy Mulligan, David Webb, John Hollins, Marvin Hinton, Ron Harris, Charlie Cooke, Alan Hudson, Peter Osgood, Tommy Baldwin, Peter Houseman.

    Forest (possibly): David Hollins, John Winfield, Peter Hindley, Liam O’Kane, Bob Chapman, Henry Newton, Colin Hall (46 Jim McCaffrey), David Hilley, Alex Ingram, Paul Richardson, Barry Lyons.

    You’ll notice from the team lists that two Hollins played – one for each side. Yes they are brothers. David, a keeper, is the older and was a former Newcastle player. It seems he was on-loan at Forest at this time. Their regular keeper, Peter Grummitt had just left for Sheffield Wednesday. Younger brother John Hollins who wore #4 was a cultured midfielder contrasting very markedly with #6 Ron “Chopper” Harris. But look at that Chelsea forward line 🙂 Cooke, Hudson, and Osgood in the same team! On the left wing, Peter Houseman I rated as probably the best crosser of a ball in Div.1. Houseman was never a very popular player at the Bridge – maybe because he wasn’t a get stuck in type – his nickname on the terraces was Gladys and he was the only team member who, not surprisingly, didn’t raise his arm when his name was called by the crowd. Those of you of my age may remember, as an Oxford United player, the tragic accident which orphaned his young family. Just one of those parts of life one never forgets.

    Looking at the Forest team I would say they were in transition. A number of regular players of the late 60s are not in this playing 12. My own recollection of Forest was something like: Grummitt, Hindley, Hennessey, McKinlay, Winfield, Newton, Barnwell, Lyons, Baker, Wignall, Storey-Moore. And also Alan Hinton (no relation to Marvin), Baxter, and Whitefoot.

    Of any Chelsea missing regulars I can note only Eddie McCreadie (left back) and Ian Hutchinson (striker) – though Chelsea could never quite settle for Hutchinson, Baldwin, Alan Birchenall, or Chris Garland for that spot.

    I’m asking myself why I bothered to attend this game so I’ve just looked up the fixtures for this day. It turns out it was the only Div.1 game in London – the same day as the League Cup final at Wembley (Man City v WBA). I obviously gave no serious consideration to popping down to Southampton to watch us.

  4. John Mac September 9, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

    Given that you’ve visited Stalin in the Kremlin wall shouldn’t you go for the tomb of Francisco Franco in the valley of the fallen? Not WW2, maybe, but he took power before then, outlasted all of the others and killed enough people to come into contention as one of the big 4, if not outright number 1 .

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