Cross Street Manchester 4-36pm May 1948
Forgive me, but this picture just fascinates me. Ok if you are not sport minded it will probably mean nothing to you, but the scene is Cross Street Manchester on a sunny May afternoon in 1948 where Manchester United are playing Blackpool at Wembley in the cup final. Now to the average Mancunian bloke who has just endured five years of war, and his working week finished 4 hours ago, a football match even though it’s a cup final would be pretty low on his priorities. Remember footballers were treated normal and would not get paid in the summer months or you might get stand down pay until August. Now the match has just reached its critical point with only 10 mins remaining and Stan Pearson has just netted United’s third in the 80th minute, its only just happened and I have a feeling whoever is up at that Guardian window has just changed the score from 2-2 to 3-2 to United, as 80 mins are showing on the makeshift scoreboard. Now what bothers me is the people that are standing on the pavement, there is not one flicker of emotion, from the bloke walking past who doesn’t seem at all interested, to the three women standing by, one who is looking up and must be commenting to her mates that another goal has just been scored and hopefully asking them “I wonder who the scorer was.” The two blokes on the left look as though they might be waiting for the pubs to re-open at 5-30pm, but might be getting inwardly excited as we are very nearly at full-time. The schoolgirls on their right look like they have been there for some time as does the young kid standing next to his Mother? Now what I would have liked to have seen is the pavement scene two minutes later when Johnny Anderson nets United’s fourth, I wonder if a fisted salute went up from anyone. I don’t think that would have been very British back then. Riveting absolutely Riveting.
Image courtesy of Manchester Guardian archives