Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Two responses to the interview with former Labour Councllor Martin McMulkin


Interview with Martin McMulkin

Lifelong trade unionist and socialist Martin McMulkin was, until he retired, the Unite convenor at Jost in Bolton for many years.

In 2019 he became a Labour councillor in Bolton but he was unwilling to simply facilitate cuts in local services.



Really interesting interview with Martin McMulkin .. mirrors pretty much what is happening in Sunderland .. only worse here. Most Sundays I get a home cooked dinner delivered from a big ex mining family who held out during the strike .. and are still bitter against scabs .. yet such is their disillusionment with the towns Labour group they and former militant shipyard/industrial workers will be voting Tory/anyone but Labour, in May .. desperate situation. But all is not lost; I agree with Martin McMulkin .. fighting progressive Independent Cllr's can reconnect with the disillusioned and left behind and outwit corrupt government.

Former seafarer. 


Mark, Individual martyrs are people with courage, principle and
commitment. In 1972 "WE" (me in CP) got a Labour Conf policy condemning
the Housing Finance Act. ClayCross and London Boro Camden with partial
support from one or two other Councils interpreted the policy of non
implementation. A strong mass movement had proceeded the actions, with
communities in the respective areas supporting their Council's (note
not individual Cllrs) actions in refusing to put up rents. 

Though the
National L.P. refused to support or endorse the 2 Councils actions,
which was disgraceful, nevertheless, it was mass action, it was not
putting responsibility on an individual. For us to gain change, it’s not
for as many individuals to stand up, but rather collective Party and
mass action. This has to be worked for, note the Anti Poll Tax campaign.
Yes, then individuals did stand up, with jailing's, but then we had
mass support for those individuals and the campaign throughout the
country.  Those individuals actions complementing the protest movement
outside the jails caused and created change. 

In 72 the CP from the East
Midlands mobilised for the election in Clay Cross to give maximum
support. The five Skinner Bros (David -  I did an interview with, for
the CP) paid a very heavy price, all Cllrs surcharged, bankrupt, unable
to stand for Cllr again, etc. I note you want our Cllrs to stand up and
refuse implementing the Tory Cuts. Of course, this should be our aim and
campaign. Before asking Cllrs to individually take the stand, we must
first mobilise the movement, so their subsequent action is meaningful.

Of course where individuals with personal principles, do take action
now, to not implement the cuts, we need to support their individual
action. But I would stongly argue that just as important, at the same
time,  is the need for the mass campaign. History teaches us that though
its full of individuals, where real socialist change occurs, it comes
from heightened workers consciousness which gives rise to mass movements. 

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Peterloo 1819: Halifax 1842 podcast

Most people know of Peterloo 1819 when eighteen people died after cavalry charged into a crowd of around 60,000 people who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

Far fewer know of similar tragic events in Halifax in August 1842.

This was when, at the very least, five local people were slaughtered and dozens badly injured – by the military and special constables – whilst they were participating in a nationwide general strike that combined demands for better pay with an extension to those allowed to vote. 

Listen in to this 8 minute podcast to find out more:- 


Brief report on Manchester Kill The Bill event on Saturday 27 March 2021


Note - all photographs are courtesy of Mark Harvey of ID8 photography and are not to be reproduced without written permission. 

Over 350 people today (Saturday 27 March 2021) attended the Kill the (Police) Bill event in Manchester that was called by persons unknown. Most of those who assembled in St Peters square, location of the famous Peterloo massacre in 1819 when, at least, 15 demonstrators were butchered by cavalry who charged into a crowd of 60,000 who had gathered to demand parliamentary reform, were well under 30. There were two labour movement banners – one UNISON and one USDAW. Later 7 striking bus workers at GNW who are members of Unite arrived but chose not to take up an offer to speak. This seemed more a case of inexperience that anything else.

As the crowd assembled outside Manchester’s Central Library, the opening speaker stressed the need for people to maintain suitable social distancing and, in general most did. There were a number of speakers and many in the crowd responded with warm applause to a series of points on, amongst other topics, racism, sexism and police violence.

The Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had a number of officers sitting in vans close to the unofficial rally but did not intervene. The event took place with Legal Observers present. There was a convivial atmosphere and it was clear that those who had turned up felt it was a worthwhile experience.

After an hour or so the crowd moved off to hold an impromptu march through Manchester and demonstrators took to the roads and on a number of occasions blocked off, by sitting down, traffic, which was very light, and a main tram junction. The amount of disruption was minimal. Amongst the chants was ‘whose streets, our streets’ (and they certainly were as there was very few people around) and, to the tune of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’, ‘Oh Johnson’s a wanker.’ The crowd swelled to around 500 at one point.

The march proceeded to a mural of George Floyd and where the crowd took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time that one of four American police officers who arrested him knelt on the African American man’s neck and killed him in Minneapolis in May last year.

The crowd then proceeded back through Manchester City Centre and I myself left at 4pm  when the event was still going on and at which point there had been no arrests or antagonism between demonstrators or GMP officers.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

An interview with a NUM activist about the 1984/5 strike and the Battle of Orgreave


As of March 2021, Richard Horsfield is a Unite trade union tutor who for many years was the Unite senior steward/convenor at Wavin near Holmfirth.

On leaving school in 1979, Richard worked for the National Coal Board and was active in the National Union of Mineworkers for over a decade during which he experienced the 1984/85 miners’ strike and the brutality of the police at the Orgeave coking works. This is Richard’s short story of his time as a coal miner.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Is there an alternative for councillors when it comes to making cuts to jobs and services?


Is there an alternative for councillors when it comes to making cuts to jobs and services?


Lifelong trade unionist and socialist Martin McMulkin was, until he retired, the Unite convenor at Jost in Bolton for many years.

In 2019 he became a Labour councillor in Bolton but he was unwilling to simply facilitate cuts in local services.

Length - 7 minutes 

Charlie Clutterbuck interview on what next for food and farming and those that work the land after Brexit?

Under the section on this website on video and documentaries I have launched a series of podcasts and interviews and this will become a regular practice and which in time I will migrate to a separate site. This will allow listeners to leave comments etc 


 In this half hour interview Charlie Clutterbuck, author of the 2017 book BITTERSWEET BREXIT – the future of food, farming, land and labour, seeks to examine how his predictions in it are working out following Britain’s exit from the EU.

The labour and trade movement activist explains the massive forthcoming changes in farming that will put out of business many small farmers, recalls why the EU sought to develop farming policies that ended European countries dependence on US food imports, touches on the massive imbalance in land ownership at home and how the pouring into the UK of a lot of cheaper, poorly produced food will further raise obesity levels and put further pressure on the NHS and social services.

Clutterbuck notes that it is a US company, Tate and Lyle, that was the first to benefit from the Government’s removal of tariffs on imports, literally handing millions from British taxpayers to American shareholders. Money that could have been used to subsidise better paid jobs in land-based food producing occupations that would boost incomes in rural communities.

As a soil scientist, Clutterbuck investigates the Government’s plans for those that work on the land and finds a total absence of any detail. How ideas for greening the land in which big grants may be used to lever in private finance for projects that might possibly provide an initial job creation boost through rewilding and tree planting projects are not going to revive rural communities.

The interview ends with Clutterbuck exploring how to create a direct link using food credits between producers of high-quality food and the poorest in society.

The interview was conducted by Mark Metcalf

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Core values - a core participant at the undercover policing inquiry is aiming to understand why she was targeted


Core values

A core participant at the undercover policing inquiry is aiming to understand why she was targeted





Celia Stubbs, whose partner Blair Peach was killed by police 42 years ago, hopes her appearance at the Undercover Policing Inquiry will help her discover why she was spied upon for decades.


Stubbs, 81, and still active politically by supporting refugees and asylum seekers, is among tens of thousands of political activists that members of the London Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) highlighted for attention from 1968 onwards. Targets included women, with whom officers sometimes had relationships and children.


Stubbs believes there can be no justification for her being spied upon by eight SDS members. She knows the proper name of one, Mark Jenner, originally from Birkenhead, who took the cover name of Mark Cassidy. She knew him when he joined a group in Hackney that supported victims of police brutality and criminality.


On 23 April 1979, Peach, Stubbs and friends went to Southall to protest against a public rally at the Town Hall by the National Front in the lead-up to the general election when Margaret Thatcher came to power. Southall residents, including many Asians, intended holding a peaceful protest. Ealing Borough Council, which had given permission for the National Front meeting to go ahead, then ignored a petition of 10,000 residents calling for it to be cancelled.


The National Front held its rallies in towns such as Blackburn, Leicester and Bradford where there was a large Asian community and similarly, the Southall meeting was a “deliberate provocation” said Stubbs.


Some 3,000 MP officers, including 94 on horseback, were charged with maintaining the peace. But when they began removing 3,000 sit-down protestors, the atmosphere became ugly, with some members of the crowd throwing missiles.


When the National Front meeting began, members of the Special Patrol Group were among police who tried to clear the area of demonstrators. The SPG was a specialist group that had gained notoriety following the Red Lion square disorders in 1974 at which student Kevin Gately was killed by a blow to the head by an unidentified assailant. According to the Stubbs: “The SPG had a reputation for clearing demonstrations by employing excessive force.”


Peach was heading out of the area when six officers from SPG Unit 1 got out of their van at the corner of Beachcroft and Orchard avenues. They were led by Inspector Alan Murray.


The officers were using riot shields and had their truncheons drawn. According to 14 eye-witnesses who gave evidence to the subsequent inquest, one of the officers struck Peach, a teacher, on the head. He died the following day.


Commander John Cass of the Metropolitan Police’s Complaints Bureau began an investigation that including taking statements from SPG members. Cass interviewed more than 400 people. A search of SPG officers’ lockers found numerous weapons that were unauthorised.


“At the inquest, which we wanted to be held in front of a jury, we requested a copy of the Cass Report but the judge was very hostile, especially to Asian witnesses. This was refused and a verdict of misadventure was given when we wanted one of unlawful killing,” said Stubbs, who began long-term campaigning to establish the truth and gain justice for her partner.


In 2010, the Cass Report was released. “It states what we always believed – the fatal blow was struck by a police officer from Unit 1 of the Special Patrol Group based at Barnes police station, and it is likely that it was the first officer out of the police van,” said Stubbs. “Deliberate untruths told by officers obstructing the police inquiry were laid bare. The deceit and lies these officers told is a major factor as to why no policeman was prosecuted for Blair's death.”


There remains no prosecution. Murray has denied he struck the fatal blow.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Stubbs, a social worker in Islington who worked closely “with dedicated police officers” in protecting children from abuse, was a member of Hackney Community Defence Association/Colin Roach Centre (CRC). The organisation successfully supported local residents who suffered violence at the hands of the police and also exposed, thanks to World in Action and Panorama investigations, criminal activity such as drug dealing by the police. It also helped Sarah Ewin, whose husband David was shot dead in February 1995 by PC Patrick Hodgson, who became the first police officer to be charged with murder for an offence allegedly committed while on duty. He was acquitted on the third occasion.


In 1995, Cassidy, real name Jenner, joined the CRC and Stubbs met him often at meetings and events. It has subsequently been confirmed that Cassidy was a SDS member. When he disappeared in 2000, he left behind Alison (not her real name), who had assumed she was his long-term partner.


Thanks largely to Alison and other women in similar situations, Theresa May, then home secretary, ordered in 2015 a public inquiry into undercover policing, who spied on thousands of people, including the parents of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. This inquiry, which the police have sought to have held behind closed doors, has progressed slowly. Stubbs will be a witness next month.


“I was really shocked and angry when I was informed three years ago that the police had a file stretching over 20 years on me and I could to apply for core participant status (CP) at the inquiry,” said Stubbs. “Eight officers filed reports but I don’t know who seven are.


“There is no justification.  It must be because of my relationship to Blair. It ties in with the bigger cover-up from the inquest when we were not allowed to see the Cass Report.


“If we had, then I feel the only inquest verdict possible was unlawful killing, leading to prosecutions. You could say it was a state killing,” states Stubbs.


She attended part of the first stage of the Inquiry in November last year and believes there are parallels with the inquest into Peach’s death back in 1980.


“Sir John Mitting, the inquiry chair, was quite hostile to non-state core participants and their barristers, refusing a request to ask three questions of police officers, some of whom appeared to have memory blanks, and allowing just one question. It felt that core participants were on trial rather than being witnesses who are overwhelmingly victims in this situation.”


Despite these concerns Stubbs hopes to “hear why they kept records on me and what they did with this information. I can only do that if I appear as a witness. I also feel there should be an attempt to hold the SDS as a whole accountable.”


The author of this article himself has core participants status at the inquiry

Unite podcast series features Josh, who successfully organised zero hours contract workers at Sheffield University

Go to:- 


Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Unite the union podcast series gets underway



It is only a small beginning but the podcast series based on edited extracts of longer interviews with Unite activists, past and present, has kicked off this week with pieces by Frank Robson and Alysson Daykin and covering subjects such as the 1980 Truckers’ Strike, organising truck drivers behind the Iron Curtain, the despair of New Labour, the Poll Tax and the Miners’ strike.


There are many others set to go online shortly. What this represents is a fantastic opportunity to take the struggles, some successful and others not, of the past to the minds of people, especially the young,  today and get them interested in joining and becoming active in the trade union movement.


The next interview that will go up this week is one with Josh, who successfully organised a group of young workers’ on zero hours contracts and in doing so they together won much better terms and conditions.


It is hoped to develop the series such that it can be incorporated into some parts of the Unite Education Programme.


Clearly there is massive potential with this work especially as more interviews are conducted in the future.


Here is the link and please let others know.



Tuesday, 16 March 2021




Fewer facilities and rising costs are blocks BAME and working[1]class kids hit hardest

Big Issue North 28 January


For 150 years being paid to play football has given working-class young men such as Fergus Suter, the star of Julian Fellowes drama The English Game, and Marcus Rashford the chance to lead rewarding lives. Now experts are warning these chances are diminishing because of fewer facilities and the rising costs of playing sport.

At 23 years of age Macauley Musgrave from Penrith wants to make football his career. After undertaking FA coaching courses, he trained local sides and also teams at the Cumbria Football Academy. While he works part time at a supermarket, he is aiming for qualifications that will allow him to coach young people up to 16 and become an assistant coach at professional clubs.

But until he began coaching, Musgrave was “unaware of how few decent facilities there are”, he said. Double booked “At my first session the pitch was double booked. The council owns Frenchfield Sports Centre, which has grass pitches. For young people, few of whom live near grass areas, getting there means a mile walk as it is outside Penrith. Large demand means you can’t just turn up and play with mates. There are no floodlights, ruling out playing on dark nights. “Penrith Rugby Union Club has floodlights for its artificial pitch but it costs £75 an hour for a quarter of a pitch. Unless junior football clubs find alternative income sources, and that is difficult, then many children from poorer backgrounds are from my experience missing out as they cannot afford the fees the clubs must charge to recoup their costs from hiring pitches.”

Across the Pennines in Halifax some local junior clubs have been reporting difficulties in finding publicly owned pitches to play on. “We have hired a private grass pitch this season,” said Ian, coach of St Columba’s under 13 team, which plays on Sunday mornings. “For many years we used a council pitch facility but last season it was not getting cut or marked up before games and one of the goalposts was dangerous and needed replacing.”

As well as a shortage of facilities, others say young people do not get enough time to play sport. Tony Gavin a retired headteacher at a specialist sports school in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, believes former education secretary Michael Gove’s decision to scrap the Schools Sports Partnership (SSP), which guaranteed three hours of quality and varied sports, had reduced young people’s chances to learn activities that could keep them fit into adulthood.

 In 2018, the Youth Sports Trust reported that 38 per cent of English secondary schools had cut timetabled physical education for 14-16 years since 2012. Gavin contends that as a result fewer state schools now have football teams in competitive leagues. “Schools are judged on results,” said Gavin. “Young people in years 10 and 11 rarely get two hours sport each week because PE lessons get dropped to facilitate additional mathematics and English.”

With most facilities out of bounds lockdown has currently slashed young people’s opportunities to play sport. Yet according to official statistics physical activity had been rising among young people. Government guidelines recommend that young people should get one hour, equally split between in and out of school, of daily physical activity and Sport England reported that “active children are happier, more resilient and more trusting of others”.

 Sport England statistics suggest that for 2018-19 57.2 per cent of children were doing 30 minutes or more physical activity outside school, up 4.6 percentage points on 2017-18. There had also been a 3.9 per cent drop in the total number doing under 30 minutes daily physical activity. Asian and black children are those most likely to do less than 30 minutes activity daily.

Roy Massey who played football professionally for Rotherham United, Leyton Orient and Colchester United, went on to be assistant head coach at the Arsenal Academy, where he helped bring through big stars such as Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi. He said youngsters from poorer backgrounds still faced problems even after getting signed up to a professional football academy. “I became aware of the additional problems faced by working-class youngsters to make the grade in professional football,” said Massey. “Marcus Rashford is clearly one of a number of role models but you do wonder how many prospective good players from poorer backgrounds don’t make it. “It is a big commitment as there is a lot of travelling and some families don’t have cars or time, often due to work commitments, to transport them to and from training.”

 The government claims Sport England will have invested over £190 million in physical activity for young people in 2017-2021, including the £40 million Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do physical activity together. It says it is supporting grassroots football, investing £18 million a year in facilities. Its partnership with the Football Association and the Premier League brings a combined £70 million for new facilities delivered by the Football Foundation.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want every child to get an active start in life… Ofsted has made clear that PE is part of a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. PE is the only foundation subject on the national curriculum at all 4 key stages. It is up to schools to decide what opportunities to offer to pupils to be active, including team sports.”


Monday, 15 March 2021

Bert Whalley of Stalybridge Celtic and Manchester United will have a PFA plaque going up in his honour in 2021


As reproduced in Tameside Reporter and Gary James’ blog


Bert Whalley information for PFA plaque unveiling at Stalybridge Celtic in the summer of 2021, provisional date is Saturday 7 August 2021 and followed by a special tribute match

Bert Whalley: 1912- 1958

Further details from Mark Metcalf, who is responsible for the project on behalf of the PFA as well as two further projects in 2021 that will see plaques unveiled to Joe Mercer and Stan Cullis in Ellesmere Port.


07392 852561

Plaque unveiling – more details soon.

Born in Ashton-Under-Lyne on 6 August 1912, Herbert (Bert) Whalley played as a central defender for Stalybridge Celtic in the Cheshire League during the second half of the 1933/34 season. Following which he moved in May 1934 to Second Division Manchester United where he remained as a player and coach until his tragic death at Munich on 6 February 1958.


Stalybridge Celtic (SC)


After three SC reserve games, Whalley made his first team debut for the club on Saturday 16 December 1933 in the Cheshire County League home fixture at Bower Fold against strugglers Sandwich Ramblers. He replaced at centre half Bliss, who had injured his ankle, in 3-0 victory. ‘Looker-On’ in the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter (ALR) felt that despite ‘the conditions not being the best on which to judge his true merits, he gave a really polished display, exhibiting some delightfully tricky footwork.’


The new man had originally played for Ferguson-Pailin, where he worked, in the Manchester Amateur Alliance League. He had also recently signed for Third Division North side Stockport County, whose reserves also played in the Cheshire League. This move had been blocked by new rules that an amateur, as Whalley was, signed to one club in the CL could not be signed by another club in the same league. County were forced to withdraw Whalley’s signing on forms.


Whalley remained in the SC first team for the match at Bower Fold  on 23 December 1933 and Prescot Cables were beaten 3-1. According to the ALR he played ‘impressively’ in a deserved victory.


Playing away to Mossley, SC grabbed a point with a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw. There was praise for Whalley in the ALR. “He is not as skilful with his head as his feet, but he tackles well and never gets flurried.”


League champions Macclesfield were heavily beaten 6-3 when Stalybridge Celtic visited them on New Year’s Day 1934. The ALR commented: ‘to a man, the team.. was excellent ..each played his part splendidly… Whalley again deputised for Bliss at centre-half with credit.’ (Monday 1st January)


The victorious team had though been beaten two days earlier, 2-1 at Northwich Victoria. Whalley was expected to drop out of the side as Bliss’s ankle injury was now sufficiently recovered but late in the week he contracted tonsilitis and was confined to bed. As such ‘Whalley appeared for the fourth successive game at centre-half, and again gave a promising display, supplying his forwards with clever passes.’   Prince in the home goal produced a series of great saves that included a penalty stop from Prior.


On Saturday 6 January, Whalley’s side beat Congleton Town 3-1 at home and he had a fine game, especially in the first half, being ‘conspicuous with pretty and effective work which was much appreciated by the spectators.’ (ALR) Prior scored twice from the penalty spot.


The following Saturday, Whalley, although reported as not well, was at Bower Fold to play in a 3-2 victory against Witton Albion. In a lengthy match report his name did not appear once.


However, Stalybridge Celtic then suffered a shock defeat 4-3 at home to amateur side ICI (Alkali) in the first round of the Cheshire Senior Cup. Whalley’s place at centre-half was taken by Bliss. ICI of the Manchester League were more used to playing the Celtic reserves.


When SC beat Winsford 5-2 away on 10 February 1934, Whalley was back at centre half and came in for praise as, ‘resourceful.. tackling determinedly when he and he and his partners, Suttie and Kellard, spent much time helping Mountney and Thornley.’(ALR)  (the full-backs) Staffs Sentinel reporter noted ‘Parkin and Whalley were dangerous on the rare occasions when Celtic attacked, but Robinson made two wonderful saves.’


A month later on 10 March 1934,  Celtic were beaten 3-0 at Runcorn but Whalley was noted by the paper in a brief report as ‘relieving the pressure’ in the first period. The following weekend Whalley was part of the Celtic XI that fell behind at home to Nantwich only to later dominate their opponents to win 10-3. 




In mid April, Chester Reserves beat Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 and according to the Liverpool Echo reporter ‘Whalley’s generalship was the feature of the Celtic’s team work.’ His side of Travis, Thornley, Mountney, Suttie, Whalley, Kellard, Prior, Scullion, Parkin, Hornby, Murphy was beaten 4-2 in the penultimate game of the season away to Crewe Alexandra reserves. 



The following weekend saw a heavy 6-3 defeat at home to Tranmere Rovers with Mayers at centre-half struggling to contain the Rovers centre-forward Spencer who notched three. Midway through the second period, Suttie took over at centre-half.



Against Chester at home, the half-backs were reported as ‘delightfully skilful, both in attack and defence’ and the visitors left beaten 2-0.


There was a crowd of over 3,000 to witness a 3-3 draw at Hyde United, who recovered to grab a point after falling two goals behind. Whalley was praised for his efforts.


At home to Nantwich, SC fell behind to a side they had beaten 16-2 the previous season at Bower Field. A shock though was not on the cards as Whalley’s side soon equalised and went on to win 10-3 with Hornby grabbing three and Allen, leading the attack for the first time, scoring four.


It was reported that ‘Whalley gave a magnificent display. Celtic’s centre-half plays the third back game to perfection, while in attack he exerts a commanding and forceful influence.’


Away to Prescot Cables, Whalley’s team drew 2-2 and he ‘never allowed Harris, Prescot’s centre-forward any scope, while his passes were so perfect that Prescot were continually chasing the shadow.’ Playing before a crowd close to 2,000, Prescot grabbed a point with two late efforts.


Hyde deservedly beat Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 on the last day of March 1934. On a hard ground at Bower Fold they dealt more easily with a bouncing ball than their opponents. A late Whalley header might have reduced the arrears but it was a day to forget for the home side who ended the day in seventh place in the Cheshire County League.


Stalybridge drew 1-1 at home to Mossley on Good Friday with the home goal coming after a good run by Whalley saw the centre half then find Prior who crossed for Murphy to turn the ball into the net from close range.


On Tuesday 16 April 1934, Stalybridge Celtic played their last home league match of the 1933-34 season and drew 1-1 with Wigan Athletic. It was probably a game the home side should have won in a match where the ALR felt ‘Whalley was inclined to over-dribble at times but when he discarded this policy he was at his best.’


Stalybridge were beaten 4-3 at home to Macclesfield in the Cheshire League Challenge Cup. The winner in extra-time, which because of the emerging darkness had been cut to five minutes each way by the referee, Mr Sergeant, came at the very end of the additional time that had been played and following which the official dashed off to the dressing room as he sounded the whistle. With many home fans believing there was still a minute or so remaining this incensed a fair number who made a rush after Mr Sergeant. The arrival of police officers prevented any serious disturbance. The defeat came despite Celtic having led 3-1 at one point. Whalley played in a half back line-up that included Suttie to his right and Kellard to his left.


There was better fortune in the Ashton Challenge Cup as Celtic beat Hurst 3-2 in a midweek semi-final fixture with the winner coming on 86 minutes. The winning side’s strength was the half-back line with ‘Whalley putting an effective check on Halliday.’ (ALR)


A 3-1 defeat at Buxton was reported as being the result of the away forwards missing a number of chances whilst the ALR contended that ‘Celtic’s half-back line was their best department.’


Hyde United had overcome Ashton National away to reach the Ashton Challenge Cup Final against Stalybridge Celtic that was played on National’s ground.


Prior to the final, Celtic, winning 2-1 at the interval, were beaten 4-2 at Crewe Alexandra. There was, again, praise for the half-back line up ‘which has been one of the strongest and most consistent departments in the team since Whalley was brought into the side.’


The Ashton Challenge Cup kicked off at 6.45 on Friday 11 May. Hyde had won the trophy in the previous three seasons and started the match as slight favourites.


The crowd was a large one but they saw a poor game in which Hyde just squeezed home by two goals to one with Keers at outside left, who had earlier scored the equalising goal, netting the winner on the 84th minute. Whilst Whalley was good in defence he was rarely able to get forward to shine in attack. When the Hyde captain, Dennis Izon, was presented with the cup, there were large cheers and scenes of great enthusiasm amongst the Hyde players and their supporters.


The Reporter of May 12, 1934 that ‘Whalley, who had played as an amateur for most of the season… before signing as a professional for Celtic several weeks ago… signed professional forms for Manchester United on Monday,’ which would be 7 May.


Whalley, aged 20, 5’ 10” tall and weighing 11st 7llbs, had joined Celtic at the start of the 1933-34 season but after only playing a few reserve games he left to join Ferguson Pailin’s team, where he was employed.


When he returned to Celtic reserves he was then also signed for Stockport County as an amateur. This resulted in the Cheshire League passing a resolution barring any player from the league playing with the reserves in another League. Whalley was allowed to remain at Celtic and his break came when Bliss, Celtic’s centre-half, was injured and when the reserve player stepped up a level he was an immediate success.


Whalley was reported as being a keen cricketer, playing for the Trafalgar square first XI in the Glossop and District League.


Also leaving Bower Field was Ronald Hornby, who had joined Celtic in November 1933. The clever inside-left had made 34 consecutive appearances for the club and scored 13 goals. Hornby had joined Burnley.


It was to be eighteen months before Bert Whalley made his first team debut for his new club.

He was selected by manager Scott Duncan for the Old Trafford side’s Second Division fixture  against Doncaster Rovers at home on 30 November 1934. The match ended in a 0-0 draw before a crowd of 23,569.


Bert Whalley’s Manchester United debut side was Langford, Griffiths, Porter, Whalley, Voce, McKay, Cape, Mutch, Bamford, Rowley and Manley 


In a playing career cut short by WWII, during which played for United and Bolton Wanderers in unofficial wartime competitions, and injury, Whalley went on to make 32 League and 6 FA Cup appearances for Manchester United.  His final game for Manchester United was at home to Blackburn Rovers in Division One on 19 April 1947. This resulted in a 4-0 victory before a 46,196 crowd. With Old Trafford out of use due to war damage this game was played at Maine Road, Manchester City’s ground at the time. Whalley was by now the longest serving professional at Old Trafford and in 1946-47 he led the reserves to the Central League championship. The Manchester Evening News of 18 March 1947 said of him; “The experience of Bert Whalley is a real asset to Manchester United…. signed from Stalybridge Celtic in 1934. His transfer cost nothing, but he has turned out as an invaluable utility player – as pivot, wing-half and even full-back.”

His final first team game side was Jack Crompton, Johnny Carey, John Aston senior, Jack Warner, Whalley, Henry Cockburn, Jimmy Delaney, Johnny Morris, Jimmy Hanlon, Stan Pearson, Jack Rowley 





Later in 1947, Whalley, who according to Jimmy Murphy, manager Matt Busby’s assistant, always describe described himself as “just an honest trier”, was coaching some schoolboys at Stockport County when a miskicked ball hit him in the eye. The player did not complain until on the way to a reserve match at Newcastle United, he confessed that he was having trouble with his vision.


On visiting a Tyneside hospital, he refused to be kept in and returned to Manchester for treatment. On Christmas Eve 1947, Whalley was as depressed as anyone as he faced losing his sight in one eye and the end of his football career. It was then that Matt Busby showed one of the reasons why he was a great manager by demonstrating loyalty. Busby, who had become manager at United in 1945, told Whalley that when left hospital he had just the job. In August 1948, Whalley replaced Arthur Gale as the man in charge of Manchester United’s ‘A’ side, the third team at the club.


Manchester United had ended the 1946-47 season as runners-up in Division One but nevertheless Matt Busby took seriously the comment of Jimmy Murphy, who had managed the successful Central League side that season, when he told him there was not one reserve who could strengthen the first team. Busby replied; “in that case we will have to find our own youngsters.”


That remark led, after a time, to great players such as Duncan Edwards, Dennis Violet, Bobby Charlton and later George Best. Getting these players was no fluke and in addition to Murphy the two key men were Joe Armstrong, the Manchester United chief scout, who was a shrewd judge of a schoolboy, and Bert Whalley, one of the best coaches in England. Armstrong oversaw a small group of scouts that covered Britain and Ireland and when a youngster came to Old Trafford consideration as a member of the ground staff, he was assessed by Whalley and Murphy, who ultimately had the final say.


With Murphy, by now assistant manager to Busby, occupied with the Wales national team at the time, Bert Whalley, by now the chief coach, accompanied the first team to Belgrade for European tie with Partizan Belgrade in February 1958. On the return flight he, along with many players he’d worked with over the years. was tragically killed at Munich on 6 February 1958.



John Doherty - a member of the Manchester United side that won the title in 1955/56


“What a lovely man. It was a pleasure to have known Bert and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single soul say a wrong word about him…. it was clear that he had been a useful performer in his time, a stylish central defender who was comfortable on the ball and invariably had time to move it on without panicking. 


“He was not big for a centre-half, standing perhaps two inches under 6ft, and certainly he didn’t go around kicking people, but he carried authority because he had a certain presence about him…


“The hierarchy when I arrived was Matt Busby at the top, with Jimmy Murphy and Bert doing most of the coaching and sharing an office until Bert died at Munich.


“He was terrific to all the young players, always ready with a kind work to lift our spirits. A Methodist lay-preacher, he was a quiet man, in contrast to Jimmy, who was more fire-and-brimstone in his approach, likely to singe the hair on the back of the neck. 


“Bert offered a buffer zone where we could recover our equilibrium after feeling the Murphy wrath, although he was nobody’s fool and people couldn’t take advantage of his good nature.


…looking back, I loved them both.” 



Taken from The Insider’s Guide to Manchester United: Candid Profiles of every Red Devil form Rowley to Rooney 

John Doherty with Ivan Ponting


Bert Whalley is listed at number 1 in this book. 


Bert Whalley’s funeral was held on Thursday 13 February 1958. Thousands lined the route to Dukinfield Crematorium for what was the longest funeral procession for many years in Ashton. Crowds of people gathered at factory entrances, having been given time away from their work benches. Shop assistants lined the pavements and school children looked on.

The cortege of 50 cars stopped briefly a few yards from the Trafalgar Square Methodist Church where Bert worked voluntarily for many years at the youth club. James Scullion, who originally signed the player for SC, was amongst those at the crematorium. Jimmy Murphy was present as was Sandy Busby, representing his father Matt, plus Henry Cockburn and John Aston senior. Stalybridge Celtic were represented by J Turner, R Peace and ex-manager Ernest Ollershaw.  There were floral tributes from a number of football clubs including Manchester City, who had lost of one their own at Munich in Frank Swift.

Family members listed at the funeral include

Mrs W Whalley

Mr and Mrs R Whalley

Mr and Mrs D Whalley