Nothing But Blue Skies
By Timothy James Keogh
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Keoboy Publications (July 1, 2009)
Mancunian from the start, Middletonian since the Princess Royal’s first wedding day, with undeniable Sky Blue affiliations if too severely put to the test by Sky Reds of little brain, I confess to reading at one sitting Nothing but Blue Skies ISBN 9780956288103 an autobiographical romp by Tim Keogh, erstwhile Middletonian, nowadays Chaddertonian, whose life, love – indeed, very raison d’etre these 40 years past (’twould seem) has been a professional Soccer team that turns out in a blue and white strip at its home ground, which was Maine Road for many, many years and nowadays is the Greater Manchester Stadium.
Ergo, Tim Keogh writes of his unflagging support, since the tender age of 8, for the only Manchester football team (as certain Blues of my acquaintance would have it), both of Manchester City’s aforementioned grounds being located within the city’s boundaries, which the Old Trafford ground never has been as yet.
But enough of such tribalism!
Because, though Tim Keogh registers with some concern the onset of hooliganism and unwarranted inter-team animosities within “the beautiful game”, he sets before us, too, a good few touching examples of shared sporting enthusiasm, one of which sees former Man U player Denis Law receiving a rapturous welcome to the City line-up from the Blues supporters lining the terraces.
There are umpteen other great anecdotes here, too. And a couple of them relating to the author’s football heroes spring readily to mind, one happy (and so typical of the man in question); t’ other (to a child’s mind, surely) inconceivable.
Happy: “[Aged 16] I was waiting at the bus stop in my City scarf . . . when [Brian Kidd’s] car pulled up and he asked me if I needed a lift to the ground!”
Inconceivable: “Alongside the tunnel . . . [I] held out my programme and pen in the hope of an autograph or two . . . [But X, Y and Z – here the author names three Man City players of note] completely blanked me. Only Joe Corrigan . . . came over and signed my programme.”
Schoolboy (at Cardinal Langley, Middleton), adolescent (in Middleton, too), pop music freak (in Manchester), amateur cricket captain (in Higher Blackley): there’s a load of lovely stuff in Tim Keogh’s book, my very favourite anecdote harking back to the author’s playing days at the Crab Lane ground . . .
“Our wicket keeper was a 17 year old chain smoker [who even] smoked on the field during the game. As the bowler was running in he had the last . . . drag on his cigarette before handing it to me at First Slip, still alight . . .
“A north Manchester childhood and adolescence watching Manchester City in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s,” says the blurb.
Co-o-me on, yew Ble-ue-ue-s! Get this book bought! You’ll love it!
Reviewed by Bill Keeth