Tuesday, November 25, 2008


In the 60’s I was an avid fan of Manchester City’s glory trio of Lee, Bell, and Summerbee. Manchester United had Charlton, Best, and Law, and we had Franny, Nijinsky, and Buzzer. All three played for England, all three were mavericks and all three were inspirational characters.

Franny Lee was a hustling, bustling striker who made millions in the toilet paper business and later became Chairman of Manchester City. My hero, Colin Bell, who had his leg broken in a horrific tackle by Manchester United’s Martin Buchan, had a stand named after him at the City of Manchester Stadium and is rated by most as Manchester City’s best ever player. He came from Bury, a homely club I used to watch with my Uncle Roy when I was 8 years old. Buzzer Summerbee was George Best’s best friend (in fact, Besty was Buzzer’s best man at his wedding to the beautiful Tina). I’ve just finished reading Buzzer’s autobiography, which is a great working class kind of book about football in the 60’s and 70’s.

These entertainers were paid so little but they certainly lived the good life. What struck me about the book is the inspirational quotation from Theodore Roosevelt that Summerbee claims as his life long inspiration. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Great thoughts from a great man. And how appropriate they are today when the whole world is running around blaming others, feeling depressed, without hope, and is in danger of withdrawing into its own shell. This is the time for people to have a go, to be optimistic, and enthusiastic, and to give your all. Go Teddy go!

1 comment:

Hugh said...

The quote itself is from Roosevelt's Citizen in a republic speech, I had this quote laminated and stuck to the wall of the changing rooms when I was coaching rugby at uni and I'm glad someone else took heart from it. I read it out before our final (which we won) although the guys all knew it, it still made an impact that I haven't seen since. what I love about that quote is the way that it emphasises the importance being part of something bigger than yourself and validates the idea that failure in the pursuit of a dream is OK. Rather than something to be laughed at. In NZ there is a big problem, not with potential, but our lack of enthusiasm for others achievements. Especially those which ended up failing trying something new or different. The whole "i told you so" idea is something I hate and this quote I think typifies the notion that daring to dream demands respect and is the difference between living and being alive!