Over the past few months Linfieldfc.com has published a selection of guest supporter articles and today we provide another this time from well known Linfield member David Sales from Newtownabbey.
The article is accompanied by a fascinating set of photos from the period.
“As a young boy who started to follow the Blues in the late 1970s / early 1980s, I was brought up on the magical stories of the famous seven-trophy winning team of 61/62 – so much so that the iconic names of Irvine, Gilliland, Graham…….Parke, Hatton, Wilson….Gough, Andrews, Ferguson, Stewart, Dickson, Braithwaite, Reid and Barr……all roll off my tongue as though it was a team I had watched myself. Of course, I didn’t get the opportunity to, but in the eyes of my Father and Grandfather, they were our greatest ever side containing our greatest ever player in Tommy Dickson.
It was a common view that their feats would never be repeated and accordingly, I always felt that I had missed out on our greatest era, despite being brought up during the golden years under Roy Coyle. Stories of ‘The Duke’ or ‘Gento’ filled my young head every bit as much as watching Billy Murray, Peter Rafferty, George Dunlop, Lindsay McKeown and Martin McGaughey. My autograph book from those days contains the signatures of legends like John Parke and Isaac Andrews who years after they stopped playing were still regulars at Windsor Park. I vividly remember that their presence was akin to royalty with the Bluemen and women always making a fuss of them and a whispered reference to the ‘seven trophies’ hung in the air. Similarly, the tale of the seven trophy ‘Victory Parade’ was a legendary event in the history of the club and my Dad always described the crowds of people on the Shankill and Sandy Row as the biggest he had ever seen – all adding to the allure and mystic of this team. Their feats ensured that they are still talked about to this day even though it’s almost 60 years ago.
I was always amazed that despite their achievements, very little seemed to exist in terms of photographs or footage so I was amazed when I came into possession of a set of photographs which included images from the league championship play-off at Solitude against Portadown and from the victory parade at various points on its journey through Belfast. Even more amazingly, a few months later, I was able to pick up a set of autographs from Denmark of all places which contained the signatures of ten players from the seven trophy team, on headed paper from the old Midland Hotel in North Belfast. I got some work done to restore the old photographs to improve their quality and along with the autographed sheet, got this made into a framed collage as a gift for my Dad. The photos are shown below.
I hope that sharing these images brings back memories to those who were at the championship play-off or the victory parade and also provides an opportunity for people like myself who were reared on these stories, to get a sense of the occasion.“
The next 3 images are at Solitude after the league and clean sweep clinching 3-1 Play off win against Portadown on 17 May, 1962.