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Halford's trip down Memory Lane

24 January 2013

Bernard's back at Boundary Park

Sunday's FA Cup with Budweiser, fourth-round tie against Liverpool will evoke special memories for Bernard Halford.

It will be 51 years to the exact date that Liverpool last visited Boundary Park in the competition.

And that day Bernard, a fresh-faced 19-year-old, was assistant secretary to Frank Buckley as the pair were responsible for the game's admin.

Bernard, who returned to Boundary Park this week, recalled some of the finer points from the fixture which attracted a crowd of nearly 42,000.

He said: "We didn't have all-ticket games in those days and I remember counting the gate money on the table in the boardroom and from memory the takings were £7,644.

"In those days the players earned £20/£25 per week along with £4 for a win and £2 for a draw.

"The players were on a crowd bonus which worked out at £31 per man which was a lot of money and more than their weekly wage."

Bernard saw snatches of the cup tie from the steps at the top of the tunnel which was his normal vantage point on matchday.

He says Latics were unlucky to lose 2-1 in a tie remembered for two controversial goals.

Liverpool took the lead through a goal from Liverpool legend Ian St John which Bernard described as being identical to the one scored by Geoff Hurst for England in the World Cup final.

"The ball struck the underside if the bar and bounced down with the linesman saying it had crossed the line," he said.

Bernard also recalled that not long before, when the game was goalless, Latics had a goal controversially chalked out for offside.

"Bert Lister cut in from the left and scored only for offside to be given against Peter Phoenix, and Liverpool got away with that one," he continued.

All the goals came in the final 17 minutes of the match, St John scoring both of the goals  for Liverpool whose side included greats like Ron Yeats, Peter Thompson and Ian Callaghan. John Colquhoun replied for Latics.

Bernard (pictured outside Boundary Park) left Latics to become secretary at Manchester City. Though retired from that post, he is still actively involved as a Life President of the club.

Failsworth-based Bernard remains a massive fan of Latics and will be at the game on Sunday along with his wife Karen.

He first watched Latics in 1947 and says his family links stretch back even further as his father first started watching the team in 1905.

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