Here, Mick continues to regale TNS visitors with some of his memories of playing for Latics in the non league days. I thought this would be a very good idea and provide the perfect platform to entertain, and hopefully educate, some of the newer Latics fans following our elevation into top flight football.
Wigan Athletic AFC is a proud club with a fantastic tradition. Before the pomp and the glamour of the Premier League this club was one of the greatest non league clubs in the world and had some of the finest non league players play, with a huge amount of pride and not a little skill, Mick Worswick was one of the very best.
Speaking of his arrival at Springfiedl Park, Mick says,
“It was a phone call from Les Rigby, just after he had taken over from Gordon Milne, that started it all off. He wanted to buy me from Chorley, for £200 I think it was, and make me his first signing along with my old mate Mick Taylor from Netherfield. It took me about two seconds to say yes to joining the finest non-league club in the country, and would you believe, I did not even discuss terms with Les. He just said, “don’t worry it will be okay” and of course it was okay – for the next six wonderful seasons or so”.
During a previous session of me badgering Micky to help to bring the past alive once more, I enquired as to how it felt to play with Kenny Morris and Billy Sutherland, among others. Mick answered,
“Among the players that you mentioned Bernard were Kenny Morris and Billy Sutherland, the best pair of full backs that ever played non-league football. Whenever I played out wide on the left, or the right, I always felt safe with those two behind me and with the legendary JK (he means the mercurial Johnny King – BR), being another ‘minder’ in midfield, not many opponents took the liberty of trying to kick me off the park!
“One particular incident regarding Kenny that I will never forget was during an away match at Boston when their back four had pushed our front men up to the halfway line and a ball from one of our defenders was knocked long over the top of us on it’s way towards their keeper. But no one had noticed that Kenny was coming through on a full head of steam past us all deep into the Boston half. ‘Surely he won’t keep going?’ I thought, as the odds were about 70-30 in the keepers favour. But kept on going he did and a few minutes later, after the goalie had been stretchered off to Boston Royal and Kenny had fortunately only been booked, he trotted back past us towards his right back position and muttered “well I wasn’t going all that way for ++++ all was I”
By now Micky was in full reminiscent mode and continued,
“I would imagine that the tunnel incident involving Kingy against Great Harwood is still mentioned from time to time in Wigan. Well I was coming up the tunnel at half time just behind John, and all I can say is that it was not pretty and on that note I think the incident is best put to bed. Kingy and Rogers (John – BR), as I am sure you are aware, were a bit like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, all action, on and off the pitch, never a dull moment and a million laughs along the way.”
Mick, obviously not one to forget the often unmentioned players of the time cited how one particular player and his team mates could rattle in the goals for Latics (from 1972 until the advent of Latics’ election into the Football League) from all positions on the park.
“There is one player who is maybe not as well remembered as some of the others of the time and that is Albert Jackson. He was a fabulous goal scoring centre half, he seemed to score headers from set pieces almost every game, in fact I came across a programme recently from the 1973/74 season and on 23rd February 1974 our leading scorers were Albert Jackson (18), Tony Marsden (18), John Rogers (13), and myself lagging behind on 10. What an incredible feat for a centre half! Oh and Billy Sutherland and Kenny Morris had scored half a dozen between them. Goals came from all over the park in that team.”
Mick then had to pick his two grandaughters up from school and promised more memories of those great non league days and players, and there will be more great stories in part three!
The accompanying picture shows Mick picking up his Player of the Year Award at Chorley.
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