I have been a Linfield supporter since the early 50s – approximately 57 years. I have been a member of the Club for some years now.
My earliest memories are naturally hazy and subject to detail error but I remember a series of Irish Cup semi-final replays against Glentoran and as a ten year old I was heartbroken when we finally lost out to them. It was great, three years ago, when we beat them in the final. Very few Linfield men can remember the 1947 final which was the last time we beat them.
Over the years I have witnessed many great Linfield performances but the match I remember as the best I ever saw did not in fact involve Linfield as a Club, but did involve 5 Linfield players. That match being the Irish League victory over the English League. If my memory serves me right the team comprised of 5 Linfield, 5 Glenavon, and 1 Glentoran player. The Linfield players being, Alex Russell, Jackie Graham, Tommy Hamill, Syd Weatherup, and Tommy (The Duke of Windsor) Dickson. I remember the final score as 5-2 to the Irish League but I have forgotten the scorers but I do remember that the English team contained some great talent such as Johnny Haynes, Fulham & England. Would be glad to hear from anyone who can remember the game and can tell me if my memory is accurate. I think the Glenavon players were Corr, Cush, Jones, McVeigh, and Campbell? The Glen’s player was the Right Back Tommy Lucas.
How could I begin to pick my best Linfield Team over those years? Allow me to pick 10 best teams and I might have a chance of including all the greats of my time.
Anyway here goes! My selection is given in the present day format and will include 5 subs. You will immediately notice the Greats who have not found a place in my team. Players such as Ken Gilliland, George Dunlop, Buckets McGaughey, Desy Gorman, Pat Fenlon, Bap Dunlop, Big Davey himself, and Michael Gault - the list is endless.
Anyway for what it’s worth!!
Goalkeeper - Alex Russell
Back Four - Dick Keith, Peter Rafferty, Noel Bailie and
Midfield - Billy Murray,
Tommy (The Duke) Dickson,
Ray Gough, and
Strikers - (Wor) Jackie Milburn and
Subs: - John Parke (Could play anywhere and often did!),
Sammy Hatton (Central Defender),
Peter Thompson (Striker),
Sammy Pavis (striker), and
Alan Mannus (GK)
A final word – The player I have most admired – John Parke – Played in every position (Except Goals – I think!!!) and never ever let the team down.
Most promising players in today’s squad – Michael Gault & Jamie Mulgrew
Biggest disappointments with the Club? (i) That they have not got a more tangible memorial, as yet, to Tommy Dickson (ii) that there is not more visual memories of Jackie Milburn around Windsor – In my opinion he was on a much higher level than any Irish League player. On the other hand they tell me that a certain Joe Bambrick was rather useful!!!!!!