Mike Harrison R.I.P.

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Duggywerefab
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Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Duggywerefab » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:16 am

All younger than me!

We lost a stalwart Rover this week in Mike Harrison, our left winger in the 1962-68 period. Footballers were different then, you were either thin, tall, small, fat or whatever you were born with, no weights making everyone a look-alike athlete unless you include the weight of a pint or a snooker cue.

Mike H was a very solid man with thighs like tree trunks and could run like a thoroughbred. He came from Chelsea and had been an England schoolboy, a natural left winger with the sweetest left foot I had seen on a Rover up to that point. This was the era of kick and run, especially the kicking part but Mike was tough and hard to get off the ball or obstruct once on the run.

He sort of "invented" for Rovers anyway, the sweet, 60 yard cross-field pass that we now take for granted in classy players (and was jeered for going square and not "getting shut of it"). It was uncanny to see him almost lazily sweep his lefty and hit a diagonal 100% accurate pass from the Riverside 60 yards across to the Darren end. Every time. You could hear the crowd anticipate the ball landing, as it always did, right on the team mate's toe, every time! With Ferguson taking on everyone on the right, MH storming down the left and B Douglas (who?) pulling the strings in the middle, we were for a while formidable in attack (defence is another story...). We equaled the best in Everton, Spurs and United.

MH scored about 44 goals in 180 appearances (I think) and when he took a shot look out; it either went in the net with a crash or hit a house in Livesey Branch Rd!

A school mate of mine lived next door to him and said how he was humble, kind and totally not a "star", in fact a lovely man.

So RIP Mike, thanks for years in our little town and for the fab memories! RIP

Duggy

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Darth Rover
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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Darth Rover » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:04 pm

My dad remembered Mike Harrison when i mentioned him over the weekend. His memories of footballers from the 50's and 60's is fantastic but dont ask him what happened last week. He even remembers the singer Tom Jones in a chippy in Nelson after a show in the 60's.

Duggywerefab
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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Duggywerefab » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:05 am

Ey Darth, thanks for the response, I don't expect many to join in the "when I was a lad.." stuff but I thought it might be interesting for Roverites who are curious about our history. Oh and by the way, go easy on that old-farts memory thing, your Dad's wrong Tom Jones was in the Indian not the chippy!!

Thanks again though, whoever you were :)

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Gibbon » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:14 am

It’s very interesting Duggy. This stuff is before my time, but I find it fascinating reading your recollections as a supporter.

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Jim » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:31 pm

Here here Gibbon, I love reading about it. Tell me Duggy, what are your memories of Bobby Saxton? He’s a relative of mine, infact my dad had a trial for him when he was at Plymouth I believe. A family favour, he didn’t get the job obviously! 😂

My dad was an old school centre half, built like a brick shithouse. Was a really promising player but had a bad knee injury as a youth and that meant clubs wouldn’t take him on. Had trials with Barnsley and Donny too.

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Darth Rover
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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Darth Rover » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:10 pm

oh heck do you have to be classed as old or gender experienced to put a modern slant on it to remember Bobby Saxton?...i was only a teenager though!

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Rover the Top » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:37 pm

Gender experienced :lol:

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by stillgrowling » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:12 pm

Mike Harrison was a cracking left winger at a time when Rovers could compete with the best. A totally different sort of player than Duggie -one being an ace dribbler while the other relied on speed to a great extent. I also seem to remember Harrison scoring quite a few penalties in the old fashioned way - a good run up and absolutely smashing the ball into the net.
I believe the team that represented Rovers in the late fifties and early sixties could have been the best in living memory, only eclipsed by the heroics of 1995 - but that of course is a different story.

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Duggywerefab » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:44 am

Growling, couldn't agree more (the defence was always a bit generous though) and it's funny that my boyhood Rovers are still my favourite even over the 1990s team. As well as my name-sake and Ronnie Clayton, we had some of the best players in the country for 7-10 years but of course too many were allowed to move on to bigger clubs where many of them didn't progress, exceptions would be Keith Newton, Mike England and Roy Vernon but Pickering, Dobing, Dougan etc didn't improve though they probably made more money. Notice I haven't mentioned "Noddy" MacCleod, RIP, but we never knew why he was in the team, we just assumed his dad had bought the boots or kit or something. Thankfully Mike Harrison showed us what a left winger should do!

Happy days,

Duggy

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by WacoRover » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:41 am

Duggy,
I love reading your posts. For a newcomer Rover fan like me, it helps to see what the team has meant to Rovers fans over the years.

FYI, I retired in December; my wife is bringing me across the Big Pond for a trip this fall. I hope I can meet you & the others here at Roverstalk, share a pint (or three), and you can regale Rovers legends of the past with me for as long as you care to!

(I will post later when I know my trip dates. I want to make at least one at Ewood, & maybe a roadie).

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by stillgrowling » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:07 am

Duggy, my memories of Noddy McLeod vary from yours. The forward line of Douglas, Dobing, Dougan, Vernon and Mcleod is one of my favourites (although I developed a hatred for Cheyenne Dougan after you know what). Macleod was one of the few Rovers that had a decent Cup Final.
Not sure how far you go back, but before that forward line we had Mooney, Crossan, Briggs, Quigley and Langton - that was another great set of Rovers, with Kelly and Eckersley behind them and Reg Elvy in goal that made for another great team. I suppose they stick in my memory because that was the time I was first taken by an uncle to Ewood Park, and sat on the benches in front of the wall by the Riverside stand with the other small Rovers fans.
As you say, happy days.

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Re: Mike Harrison R.I.P.

Post by Duggywerefab » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:07 pm

Growling,

We'll agree to differ on Noddy, but maybe I was being a bit harsh, he was a willing lad who gave 100% and put in some great crosses!

I do remember that famous attack around and up to the you-know-what Cup Final, top class players all of them and a thrill to watch as a youngster. But I think for a season or two, Ferguson, McEvoy, Pickering, Douglas and Harrison was as good though not as successful. That's team which stuffed mighty Spurs 7-2 on an unforgettable autumn evening in 1962 (or was it 1963 I forget :) ) after they paraded the European Cup Winners Cup around Ewood. That defence including Else, Newton and England was pretty good too until a little lad from Belfast called G Best showed up one day....! He and few others, including Jimmy Hill and Bill Shankly changed football as quickly as the Beatles changed pop music and Rovers couldn't compete until Jack M came along 30 years later.

I assume you were alongside me on those low benches they let kids sit on inside the wall on the Riverside, so close to the game I could smell Roy Vernon's breath - and it wasn't Vimto!

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