Former Defender On Time In TangerineSteve Harrison came through the Blackpool FC youth ranks in the 1970s and went on to make 160 appearances for the club. Here he reflects on his time at Bloomfield Road.
What can you remember about your debut?
Bob Stokoe was the manager and I never thought that Bob fancied me as a player. It was against Middlesbrough away and Middlesbrough were flying in the league. Len Graham pulled me and said be ready for Saturday and I was only 18 so I thought I didn't have a chance. My family all came up to watch the game at Ayresome Park and we got beat 10, but I did alright. I was a local lad from Blackpool who had just made his debut for the club I love.
What would you say your favourite goal for the club was?
I scored the tenth goal in a 10-0 win over Lanerossi Vicenza in the Anglo-Italian Cup. The keeper walked off in disgust after I came on as a sub and scored. He threw his gloves off and walked off the pitch. I was over the moon at scoring the goal and everybody else just wanted the game to be over. Mickey Burns tried to claim a touch on the way.
If you could re-live one game from your career in tangerine, which one would you choose?
That’s a great question. I played at Fulham when Harry Potts was the manager and I man marked George Best. He was my hero because we used to blag a lift to Old Trafford to watch him. Harry Potts told me I was doing a great job at half-time but George tapped me on the shoulder on the way back out and said he might start doing a bit now. He went on to nutmeg me, put the ball over my head and score one. After they scored the second goal he tapped me again and said ‘that’ll do me now’. I said ‘thanks very much, George’. That was memorable.
In terms of dressing room banter, what was the best prank you witnessed?
I daren’t mention most of them! We had a team meeting when Les Shannon was manager and we had wicker skips then. I climbed in it and he didn’t know I was in there when he was talking to the team. He took it the right way and we had a laugh about it.
On reflection, what achievement are you most proud of?
I played in the Anglo-Italian Cup but I wasn’t in the team that won it. Always being in the top four or top six and vying for promotion was good, although just missing out at Sunderland one year was a major disappointment. Playing with people like Tony Green, Alan Suddick, Mickey Walsh, Paul Hart and Alan Ainscow was great, as was the camaraderie we had with some of us coming through the youth system. The theme of the club and the togetherness was an absolute joy.
I’ve been in football 45 years but the playing side of Blackpool was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had.
Best player you played with…
Tony Green, followed closely by Alan Suddick, Mickey Walsh and Alan Ainscow. Tony Green was one of the best players I’ve ever seen. He only played one season at Newcastle and he’s in the Hall of Fame. The Blackpool fans idolise him and he’s such a down to earth, ordinary fella. He was great with us young kids at the club, and today he would be a world class player. Injury prevented him from kicking on, even though he was a great player.
Derek Spence. He played with a rugby ball during training, the ball bounced off him everywhere. On a Saturday it clicked for him and he’d always do the business.
Dave Hatton, for me. I though Dave was a superb defender and he’d really help me out with my inexperience. He was a very consistent defender.
I was the slap-stick man but Suddy had quite a dry sense of humour, he dropped a few lines then disappeared.
Who did you see as most likely to become a manager in future?
I always thought Paul Hart would and I know he did. He took great pride in his defending and he used to look at teams in terms of how they set up and what they did.