The Blues Legends of 63′


May 28, 2013 by daviddeakin

Former Birmingham City fans favourite Jerry Gill has said that ‘the soul has been taken from the club’ by its current owners.

 Speaking at the Birmingham City Former Players association ‘Legends of 63’ night, Jerry Said ‘ I remember walking out the tunnel against Ipswich in the semis’ (league cup 2001) and the place was bouncing, the soul has been taken from the club and the fans have suffered. I don’t think we will have scenes like that for a while’.
Gill’s comments were greeted by applause from the 250 or so Bluenoses who packed out the Kop Stands legend suit to show appreciation for the 1963 league cup winners.
Each of the players who turned up from decades gone by took to the floor to share stories of their time at St. Andrews and answers questions from the supporters.
First up was Paul Tait who was unable to avoid talking about the infamous Auto Windscreen T-shirt, and he was closely followed by Liam Daish. The former Centre half spoke about the Trumpet Celebration and Ancona. The brief mention of European football gave Bertie Auld a smile.
Up next was Jerry Gill who began by joking that when he first arrived at Waste Hills with Howard Forinton, there was sixty players on the training ground and they both wondered how they would ever get a game.Gill, who made 60 appearances for Blues, was asked about being left out of the 2001 League Cup final and provided the fans with an eye opening answer. ‘ I have so much time and respect for him (Trevor Francis) for gambling on me when I was at Yeovil but that week…. he had four days to drop me and he left it to the last minute, his man management was cowardly.’Gill was dropped despite appearing in every round of Blues 2001 cup run, Jon McCarthy who was returning from injury was preferred. ‘I love Jon but he was poor that day’ Joked Gill.
As Jerry Gill had finished, a standing ovation greeted him and that was certainly down to his warming modesty.
Malcolm Page had a brief exchange with a supporter who asked about the players unfortunate leg break and why he tried to play on. Page joked ‘My wife said you could hear the crack over the radio, Im glad thats all you remember about me!’.
Joe Gallagher took to the stand and compare for the evening and Chairmen of the FPA Tom Ross asked what the highs and lows of playing for Blues were.
‘A certain stamp comes to mind…..’ began Joe, in relation to an incident with John Deehan. ‘Just Kidding’.
Joe talked about scoring the winner against Liverpool before attention turned to his worst memory. The Fa Cup semi Final 1975.’The first game is vague and I’ve seen a few clips of my goal, the ball just bounced to me so I shut my eyes and hit it!.
The replay was a disaster, we battered them and got done by what? It his his chest? I’ve not seen it since and not sure I want to’.
Tom Ross added that to he and many other Bluenoses are still ‘Pigsick’ about that game. After a short interval of Autograph hunting and a few photographs it was back to the seats for the 63′ legends.
Bertie Auld began by proudly announcing that his daughter was a brummie and he was proud to say so. Of all those legends there that evening there was certainly a charm about Bertie that made him stand out above the rest.
Bertie was Interrupted mid sentence by a standing ovation after mentioning club legend Gil Merrick, and the influence he had on his career. Gil’s Widow Ivy acknowledged the supporters for their mark of respect.
‘It was a culture shock at Birmingham for me, but Gil recognised that and made me feel important. He gave me belief’ said Bertie.
‘I wondered why they had signed me, In England the full backs hit you and hit you hard – they did’nay do it long with me. I was’nay the biggest, I just retaliated first!’
‘We (The 63 squad) underachieved and I want to say this now, because I have’nay had the chance to tell you before… I would never have left Birmingham City for anyone other than Jock Stein and Celtic Football Club.
‘The clubs go hand in hand, traditional, passionate and family clubs. I rank my career just as, if not higher than winning the European cup. This club made me and I thank everyone of you for your support.’
Jimmy Harris and Colin Green both agreed with Bertie. Colin Green claimed ‘Its corny but In the 9years I played for this club, I met some of the greatest people and players you could ever wish to see.
‘I don’t know how Gil (Merrick) lost his job, this was the best club I played for.’
Jimmy Harris and Tom Ross exchanged stories of the San Siro and the 3-3 game against Tottenham before Mike Hellawell finished the night by announcing how Keep Right on often gave him an extra yard.
The club were kind enough to donate the legends lounge to the FPA for free and the whole night was a roaring success. Special thanks must go to Keith Dixon who organised the night, alongside Mike Wisemen and of course to those players who came and were brilliant with the fans; Bertie Auld, Liam Daish, Micky Darrell, Winston Foster, Joe Gallagher, Jerry Gill, Colin Green, Jimmy Harris, Mike Hellawell, Robert Hopkins, Dennis Isherwood, Malcolm Page, Dave Robinson, Brian Sharples, Phil Summerill, Paul Tait, Bobby Thompson and Dennis Thwaites.
By David Deakin

6 thoughts on “The Blues Legends of 63′

  1. merf says:

    Wow – all those famous names – just wish I could have popped down from Aberdeen for the day to hear their stories.


  2. psmith says:

    I have never seen anyone enjoy playing the game as much as Bertie Auld: the fans loved him and he played along with them. Getting a youngster to take a corner kick and to pass the ball to him brought th house down. Mention of Mike Helliwell reminded me of his jet propelled runs along the wing sometimes too fast for him to remember to cross the ball. Happy days and looking forward to many more, God willing. KRO

    • Johnno says:

      I remember Hellawell going on one of his head-down ‘jet-propelled’ runs and someone in the crowd shouting “Open the gates.”

  3. fanforever says:

    Sounds like a very well organised event, Just a shame the club didn’t think of doing it but hey suppose not corporate enough for them and no awards at the end of it for them to show off.

    Well Done Keith Dixon and Co Heart and Soul of the club

  4. I was lucky enough to be there on Monday evening and it was a great night
    Lovely to see players who I have such fond memories of – Joe Gallagher, Malcolm Page and Jerry Gill. The older players (before my time) were so friendly and chatty a pleasure to meet
    80’s night next year so looking forward to that, hope more fans get the chance to turn up

  5. Mark says:

    I was fortunate to go to the event! I’m only 29years old but was fascinated to be able to meet players that I’ve only read about! I’m so glad I started to collect birmingham city memorabilia over a year ago! It has gave me some insight of what our club was all about and on the negative side why we weren’t snapped up by investors back in the 60’s as we were just as a massive club as any other! We surely created the saying “sleeping giants” Maybe there’s a new leaf to turn over and bring positive things to St.Andrews KRO

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