Let’s be perfectly honest here, this man should be number one in many people’s eyes. Indeed if we’d done this poll 40 years ago he clearly would have been. The internet hadn’t been invented then though and TV cameras at a game was a rarity, let alone filming a clip of a goal on your mobile phone and then uploading it to Youtube.
Personally if I could go back in time, I’d go back and see Harry Lyon play. And then walk into the Supporters Club and buy the man a pint after the game. And I hope many other Latics fans under 40 would come and join me. Because Harry Lyon epitomises Wigan Athletic as a football club; at least the football club we were for many years.
I’ve tried to do a Harry Lyon tribute before; I even made a t-shirt about the man. However, not having seen him play means that I can never truly appreciate him as a footballer, only as a legend of Wigan Athletic.
Those who did see Harry play speak of him in unparalleled terms. However, as the last time Harry Lyon wore a Wigan Athletic shirt was 42 years ago, that gene pool is diminishing by the year.
We must never forget those players who wore the shirt of Wigan Athletic in non-league times because they fought as hard as anyone to get us where we are today….
Enough from me – over to George Chilvers, who provides a tribute on his excellent Wigan Athletic website which I simply cannot put into better words and sums up to a tee why Harry was such a loved player:
Around the country there are a number of players who can be described as a “legend”. But for Latics fans there is only one “legend” – Harry Lyon.
Harry joined Latics from Burscough in 1962, and until he left the club in 1970 when he joined Chorley he was a goalscorer extraordinaire. He holds the club record for most goals in a season when he scored 67 in 1964/5 season. In all he scored 273 goals for the club.
But his status as “legend” stems from 17 November 1965 when Latics were playing League team Doncaster Rovers at Springfield Park in the FA Cup First Round replay, after drawing 1-1 at Belle Vue. Needless to say, Harry had scored Latics’ goal.
After 19 minutes Harry was stretchered off with a leg injury that was originally thought to be broken, and Wigan looked doomed. But not with Harry Lyon in the team. Roy Race-like he appeared back on the field after being treated with two tots of whisky and a couple of tablets! With his ankle heavily strapped Harry entered the realms of folklore.
After 57 minutes he met a Wilkinson free-kick to head home off the underside of the bar. After 80 minutes another Wilkinson free-kick was controlled by Llewellyn (Doncaster players say with his hand – but folklore has no place for whingers), who flicked the ball on to Harry who buried it soundly with his injured left foot. Three minutes from time Harry completed his hat-trick when he headed home a Ryan cross, and even though the visitors scored a consolation goal right on time it was Harry who was chaired off the field at the end by the 7,113 exuberant fans.
Harry played in almost every position for Latics in his career, including on two occasions in goal when he conceded only one goal, a penalty. He was released at the end of the 1968/69 season and moved on to Chorley.
Sadly Harry died at the end of March 1984, but one of the roads built on the estate that now sits on the site of Springfield Park is fittingly named after this true hero.
THE TNS TOP 50 RUNDOWN
35. Harry Lyon
36. Roy Tunks
37. Gary Teale
38. Eamon O’Keeffe
39. Joe Hinnigan
40. Ian Kilford
41. Hugo Rodallega
42. James McCarthy
43. Mickey Worswick
44. Noel Ward
45. Simon Haworth
46. Gary Caldwell
47. Mike Pollitt
48. Bert Llewellyn
49. Bryan Griffiths
50. = Graham Barrow
50. = Maynor Figueroa
50. = Paul Jewell
50. = Graham Kavanagh
50. = Henri Camara
50. = Lee Cattermole
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