I spoke with Billy Sutherland this week, the Latics left back from the glorious non-league days of the 1970`s, the interview was going to be the main feature on the Manchester City Preview podcast, unfortunately due to a technical hitch, my recording equipment has decided it doesn`t want to record any more so there will be no podcast until that little issue is sorted.
So sorry folks you wont be able to listen to mine or Billy`s dulcet tones but instead you will have to read the interview transcript, so without further ado:
worbo Hi Billy thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us, I hope your well and fine
Billy Aye, I am very well thanks, I live back in Scotland now I moved to Motherwell a few years ago and I`m still working, 63 two years to retirement.
Worbo Could you tell us how you came to be at the Latics, you started at Rangers didn`t you? That must have been a big change.
Billy I was at Rangers for 5 years, I went there as a 16 year old though I never played for the first team, Ian McNeil was the manager of Wigan and he was bringing in quite a few Scottish players and he asked if I`d come down, I said yes and stayed for 7 years, and everyone was wonderful.
worbo So you enjoyed your time at the Latics then
Billy Aye, it was a fantastic period and I have some great memories, we played at Wembley against Scarborough in 1973 and although we lost it was still a special occasion and then there was the Manchester City game.
worbo I was going to ask you about the City game, I remember it well because it was the main feature on Match of the Day, we don`t get that these days.
Billy Well what you`ve got to remember is that at the time Manchester City were quite possibly the biggest club in England, they had some wonderful players, Joe Corrigan, Francis Lee, Mike Sumerbee and of course Colin Bell who scored the only goal of the game, he was a fantastic talent.
I remember them arguing amongst themselves all the match, they must have thought that all they had to do was turn up but we also had some team ourselves, Geoff Davies, Bobby Todd and the one and only Jonny King who frightened everyone.
We almost took the lead when Geoff Davies had a chance at the far post, a great header but somehow Corrigan got down and pushed it out for a corner, then Dennis Reeves our goalkeeper took a dead ball kick and has he kicked the ball his boot split, the ball feel at the feet of Colin Bell who burst forward and smashed it past Reevesie and that was it, we were unlucky
After the game their managers Malcolm Allison and Joe Mercer came into our dressing room and said how fantastic we had done and that they would be voting for us at the Football League end of season AGM when league applications were submitted.
worbo Was that the year of the pens?
Billy Aye, we had a fantastic season, gave a good account of ourselves in the FA Cup we beat Peterborough 2-1 in the second round at Springfield Park in front of over 17,000 and then went to Maine Road and almost got a draw, we won the Northern Premier League also that season and we had Joe Mercer one of the most respected figures in the game saying he was going to canvas for us, but the club gave out some pens as a gift to the members who were voting and some saw it as a bribe and we didn`t get elected, knocked us back a bit that did.
worbo Why did you leave the Latics Billy?
Billy I got injured in a FA cup game against Shrewsbury Town, dislocated my knee cap and I was never the same again, I went to Altrincham for a while but had to pack in when I was 30, still cant complain I have some great memories and both my two children were born and went to school in Wigan so they are Wiganers.
worbo Do you ever get to watch the Latics Billy?
Billy I watch them on the tele but I have only managed to get down to the ground on two occasions once was when the club invited me down at Christmas time back in 2001, I always look for their result first and I am very proud of where they have got to.
The Chairman, Mr Whelan has done a fantastic job with the club and its unbelievable how far they have come Wigan Athletic will always be a part of my life and I am honoured to have played for them.
worbo Thanks very much for your time speaking to us today Billy I really appreciate it and it is lovely to hear the stories behind the events that helped shape my youth, you are a true Latics legend and everyone speaks of you in high esteem.
Billy Thanks or the opportunity and I hope to come down soon and take in a game at the DW Stadium.
It was a fantastic experience for me speaking to Billy and I am sure some of our older supporters will join me in saying that Billy was one of the best left backs that we ever had a the club and he was certainly good enough to have played professionally.
For those of you that don`t know, Billy coupled playing for the Latics with working for Heinz at the Kitt Green factory and he used to live in Railway Street, Springfield, I have heard numerous stories and they all say the same that Billy worked hard and he played hard, a real character and a true gentleman and a Latics Legend, thanks again Billy.
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Wilson Palacios star of Honduras and now Spurs was a very popular Wigan Athletic player in his time at the club and when he left he forgot to take with him his away shirt which Vital have managed to get hold of and now offer it as a prize to Vital members.
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