A LETTER FROM ABOVE

You know by now that l have made it common knowledge that Sir Matt Busby offered and wanted Mr Tony Waddington to take charge of the mess he left behind after Manchester United achieved The Impossible Dream when after he lie in a Munich hospital bed and coming around to hear of the devastation that icy runway caused.They won the European Cup in 1968 and although that was the most glorious of dreams come true for so many different reasons it led to the breaking up if the last great United team until Sir Alex overcame his shaky beginning.Tommy Docherty might have something to say about that as his Manchester United team were, in my eyes, borderline, even with my old sparring partner the great Jimmy Greenhoff and along the way another pal Johnny Gidman oddly enough the three of us all got the cold shoulder from Don Revie at the exact same time coming home from Hungary. The shame and ongoing real regret I have is going in the first place but that only came second to my regret of turning up for my second and last cap against part-timers Cyprus where I was man marked by a waiter from a restaurant in North End Road, Fulham, or so he told me as we stood chatting while a player lie injured. I should have said, ‘Thank you, but no thank you’ and left it there with only one cap to my name, and as I always say quality is better than quantity. Three jeers for the Don!Here we are all those years on from Tony Waddington’s passing – the day l sat beside his fragile being in a Crewe hospital bed. I had lost two father’s on that day and there’s not a day goes by when l keep reminding myself, ‘If Only?’On this day the 26 May 2021 a letter from the court came through my door over a three year dispute about a radiator leaking onto my quite expensive carpet, and yes, they blamed me for it corroding, much like most of my clubs and their managers, something I have learned to live with.The marks on my carpet are nowhere as severe as the scars on my legs, abdomen and my head where l had blood clot dispersed, and no, it hasn’t sent me crazier, thank you?I mention the letter because my imagination ran away with me as l thought what would my boss, mentor and great friend have wrote to me about today’s Europa League final between Manchester United and Villarreal? I imagine it would be something like this:Dear AlanI have been gone a long time and l thank you for trying to keep me alive or bring me back, firstly, secondly in all the time l have been away is this really where Manchester United are?With them being so wealthy compared to Stoke City in our day when we topped the championship, yet still couldn’t afford to clean your training kit, l find the present situation rather odd, as we had the most unfortunate ending to our future dreams and had they not have happened l was looking at winning the European Cup, just like my good friend Brian Clough, only a short ride along the Trent.I would have Alan, and l think you know it, however as you love your music, as l do, it would be case of Simply Red once again, yet they have gone sideways much like most football played today that would have been no good in our team, I mean what would be the point of having Greenhoff?.It really is hard to inhale all of this from up here, after all the great, great players in red shirts under both Sir Matt and Sir Alex, players from Charlton, Law and your mate George, to Bryan Robson and those that followed, Cantona, Sheringham, Keane, Van Nistelrooy and our very own Jimmy G what a signing £100,000 from our friends down the road in Birmingham, to name just a few crown jewels at Old Trafford.It will not be the same Villarreal when they have overcome Bayern Munich (ouch) just the sound of their name brings shivers down this old spine.Keep going my dear friend from Chelsea and although you were so close to joining the party upstairs way back in 1997 make sure you delay it as long as humanly possible.I cherished my time as Stoke City manager at that wonderfully crowded Victoria Ground which took me along a path that was so nearly The Yellow Brick Road sprinkled with gold.I so wanted to win that First Division title for those wonderful supporters of our club, and how close we came, plus l wished l had been in the dressing room as your England manager in 1975 after l told the London Press Gang “Alan Hudson will play for the World XI before he does his country?” Someone somewhere listened.Two caps?Too bad?Too incredible!I’ve got to go Alan visiting times over, and it’s George’s 75th birthday, so have a Large Gordon’s and tonic for me, although l can’t believe l’m telling you my drink, it slipped my mind, l thought for a split second l was talking to Roland?Goodbye my friend always!Mr Anthony Waddington.Roland being the longtime bartender of Federation House opposite the Railway Station, a place Tony held court on many an occasion. And it was the only court I have ever enjoyed, as he was as comfortable as George Carmen or better than in his prime and it was one of my great, great pleasures to be there on many an occasion.