When someone says ” I will sponsor a luncheon if you can get John Giles to be the Guest Speaker” you do not think twice. You then put your thinking cap on and say “If we can get Willie Johnston down then that will fill the house, hey why not get Mick Martin to join them too”. So the luncheon evolved and over 250 sat down in the Richardson Suite to an enthralling afternoon of humour, interest and just fun being in a room full of former players from the Giles era. John joined us from Leeds in 1975 as player-manager, Sir Bert Millichip used his knowledge to bring in an untried manager and how shrewd was that decision because the following year the club was back in the first division.
Neil Bettridge of Amros Golf Promotions did all the hard work, selling tables and putting it all together. It was decided to go for a Friday in International week, so 15th November was the date set when John, Willie, Mick would join forces with Brendon Batson, Ally Robertson, Tony Brown, Asa Hartford, Len Cantello, Kevin Summerfield, Nick Cross and Mick Fudge for this most exquisite of luncheons.
MC Richard Hurst fired the questions at John who responded in the manner he is well renowned for, one of the most informative football pundits in the business. Willie joined John on the stage and his “little naughty boy” image came to the fore, the stories are well known about Willie but they become funnier each time they are recited. Mick spoke about the 2 of them and his close friendship with both.
The afternoon finished with Ally Robertson and Tony Brown presenting the “Caps” to Asa, Len, Mick, Willie & John.
250 guests left enthralled, excited, and happy having listened to and been in the company of such legends.
The luncheon was to raise funds for both the Former Players Association and the Albion Foundation, the auction went extremely well and the majority took part in the stand up bingo, so both organisations have benefitted from the generosity of the Midland businessmen and Albion supporters who attended. We are both extremely grateful and also grateful to Neil.
So now we think about 2020 and who do we get to follow that, that is going to be some act to follow!
One thing is certain you put former players together over a beer and they can talk about memories late into the night and nothing changed as it was Saturday morning before the first departed for the “sack”.