I’m often asked – which is my very favourite football team? Of course, the trouble is, as every football fan will tell you, we all have our one and only club that is closest to our hearts. Usually, but not always, that is our home team club. The club that we would have first stood in all weathers on the terraces as a young supporter (in my case) complete with 1950’s style football rattle, team scarf and bobble hat. That would have to mean that I am required to choose from three specific clubs – I say three teams for the following reasons:
My father, grandfather and most of my uncles on the Knighton side of the family were all season ticket holders at the old Baseball Ground they being fanatical Derby County supporters. But, just to complicate matters, my mother’s side (the Layton’s) were mainly Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday supporters. Therefore, as a young boy, I would often go to one home game at Derby one Saturday and then when Derby were playing away from home I would go down to the City Ground to watch Nottingham Forest. The third team in the trio was of course as I mention above Sheffield Wednesday. This is because my family on my mother’s side have a 120-year association with the Wednesday via my great grandfather, Willie Layton.
Willie was a Victoria/Edwardian professional football player with Wednesday for fifteen years from 1894 – 1910. He played 361 games for the great Wednesday team of the turn of the last century. Willie Layton is listed in the club’s definitive hall of fame as one of the greatest 150 Sheffield Wednesday players of all time. My great grandfather was a First and Second Division Championship Winner with the club. He was also a player in the 1907 FA Cup Final win over Everton 2 -1 in front of over 84000 spectators at Crystal Palace. So, as you can imagine – the entire family were always (and still do!!) keep a careful eye on the Sheff Wed results, and, we would travel to Hillsborough whenever we could in between times. Indeed, I have been to several Home matches at Hillsborough this current season.
So, real footie fans will understand why I find it very difficult to choose my favourite team. Then again, of course, there are my associations with Coventry City FC, (went straight from school aged 16 years as a junior ‘ground-staff ’ full-time Apprentice pro player to that great cathedral city) Manchester United (a club director from 1989-1992 of perhaps the greatest football name in the world, and, not forgetting (how could we) little old Carlisle United AFC (owner and club chairman from 1992-2000). So, then, there’s a lot to consider when faced with the big question – which is my favourite club of all time?
The simple fact of the matter is that all those clubs hold a very special place in my heart and I really do love them all – but for very different reasons. It would take many pages here to go into great detail in respect of the reasons why each club is so special. And, yes, you’ve guessed it – to find out why each club is so special to me in their respective ways – you’ll just have to buy the forthcoming book! Sorry about that!! I really didn’t plan that this blog should be a plug for the book but I’ve already been told off by the writers and the publishers for revealing too much about the core of the book in these occasional blogs. So I’d better watch it. For what it’s worth – the reader does get to know which is my very favourite football club of all time and the very club that is, when I’m forced to actually chose , it being in an assumed life or death situation, the one from the many that is the club that is absolutely closest to my heart.
In the meantime, to all followers of all and any football club – may you enjoy the rest of the season irrespective of how your special team has faired for you this time.