Sixty years ago today, as a starry-eyed teenager, Barrie Street arrived eagerly at Blackpool Central Station to experience the frenzy of excitement and the explosion of tangerine as local fans started their journey to the FA Cup Final.
From his home in Canada, where he remains a big, albeit long distance, fan, Barrie recalls: “En route to London on May 2, 1953, I clung to my own FA Cup, which symbolised the hopes and dreams from my many Saturdays spent on Spion Kop.
“Wembley Stadium also presented a sea of tangerine, and of course the white of Bolton, as Prince Philip was introduced to the players.
“However, the elation of the final quickly changed to a sombre mood for us as Bolton took a 3-1 lead.
“Nonetheless, Stan Mortensen revived our hopes when he completed the first ever hat trick in a final in the 68th and 89th minutes. Apparently, Stan had whispered to Ernie Taylor that he was going to have a go directly on goal on the free kick which led to the third goal. You can imagine the pandemonium when Bill Perry converted Stanley Matthews’ centre in injury time for a 4-3 victory.”
Barrie says with pride: “I still possess my Wembley ticket, which cost the princely sum of 3s 6d (17.5p).”
He was born near Bloomfield Road in 1936, attended Thames Road Primary and Arnold House, the same year as Jimmy Armfield.
“I began work at the borough treasurers’ department in the town hall and while there co-founded with Stan Drake the Nalgo football team. I also played cricket for Nalgo and captained the Blackpool men’s hockey team.
“When I was hockey team captain, Blackpool FC manager Ron Suart gave me permission to train at Bloomfield Road and I used to dribble along the right wing imagining I was Stanley Matthews.”
Barrie decided teaching was to be his vocation - he is still teaching maths after 50 years - and taught for two years from 1963 at the former Claremont Secondary School, North Shore, before deciding to take a year off to visit his brother in Canada.
He says: “And that was it, for I have lived here ever since.
“When Stanley Matthews visited Vancouver on his 70th birthday, I met him and he recalled my visiting his St Annes Road home very often for his autograph.
“The next day we went jogging together - what a thrill!”
Barrie says: “In 1965 I coached the Claremont boys under-13 team and we won the Blackpool schools’ championship 3-1. Kevin Swales scored the winning goal and two of the players, Mick Prior and Paul Douglas, were outstanding.
“In fact Paul went on to play for Wolves.”
Barrie says: “I have followed Blackpool since I was 10 and in cup final year I went to every game, taking the train to Southampton for the
fifth round and getting back to the town hall shortly before 9am on Monday morning, just in time for work.”
Barrie has travelled to 50 countries, run 15 marathons and completed four Ironman Triathlons.
He works out every day and says, thankfully: “I am blessed with good health.”
*Old friends can contact Barrie at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Don’t miss The Gazette this Saturday for a special supplement celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1953 FA Cup Final