IT was good to see that the FA rectified an oversight and got round to inviting Colin Grainger down to Wembley to be a guest at the England versus Brazil international.
He is the only survivor from the England team in their first-ever match against Brazil in 1956. The then 22-year-old Sheffield United left-winger was making his England debut and scored two goals which helped England to a 4-2 win.
There’s a nice line in The Independent about meeting Pele when he came to Sheffield in 2007.. “The match I played in is famous in Brazil and he’d seen footage of my goals,” Grainger is quoted as saying. “They never concede four in a game and rarely does one player score two against them. We had a laugh about it.”
Originally from Ryhill, near Barnsley, he played for the Blades from 1953 to 1957 and was known as the Singing Winger because of his prowess as a crooner.
He is dubbed “the Dickie Valentine of football.” in the history of Sheffield pop, Not Like A Proper Job, by Quidnunc’s former colleague, Martin Lilleker, and John Firminger.
It recounts how when “he sang with the American vocal group the Hilltoppers, who had a big hit with Only You at the Sheffield Empire Theatre in 1957. He went on to record a handful of singles for the HMV label.
“During the close season, he toured the country in variety shows, earning £100 a week. His football earnings were just £17 a week, having moved to Sunderland,”
Colin has kept on singing. Back in 2006 he brought out a CD, Our Golden Years, marking his wedding anniversary which included the popular refrain at Bramall Lane, Annie’s Song, though with John Denver’s words rather than the Greasy Chip Buttie lyrics.
Now 79, he lives at Skelmanthorpe, near Huddersfield.
QUIDNUNC’S ears pricked up last week when Russell Brand told Nicky Campbell on 5 Live how he came to interview the disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile. “When I was doing my Radio 2 show for some reason we called an Indian restaurant and takeaway in Sheffield, I believe, and were chatting to the owners who said Jimmy Savile’s in here. He always comes in here, we will put him on the line.”
Having never heard that the man from Leeds had a regular haunt in Sheffield, Quidnunc investigated and was relieved when he found the original broadcast on YouTube came from a Manchester curry house.
All northern cities are no doubt the same to the Essex motormouth.