Passing Harry's Bar in Longbrook Street reminded me of the time when the building was owned by Henry Quick & Co, who were boot and shoe wholesalers.
Just before Christmas, I think it was 1972, I attended there to investigate a burglary, the thieves had entered the building though a basement area where the company kept their graveyard stock, those items that were so out of fashion that they could never be sold.
As often happens in premises attacked by burglars, the thieves had thrown the stock around looking for something valuable to steal, there were boots and shoes, and the boxes they came in, thrown everywhere, including some very old fashioned football boots.
They were not the sort of boots now favoured by the prima donnas of the modern game, these were the real thing! Made of primitive leather, steel toe caps, solid leather studs held in with three nails each, the sort of boots that won two world wars and kicked the Empire into shape.
I can imagine the gloss come over the eyes of male readers over sixty, when they recall their days playing for Friernhay at the Flower Pot fields, or remember the exploits of Digger Ebdon and Cliff Bastin and other heroes of Exeter City, who all wore boots just like these.,
When I saw these old fashioned, but brand new football boots, I thought they would be ideal to swap with the state of the art boots we had acquired for my son's Christmas present, and then wait to see his face on Christmas morning.
My son Jim, who is now a Detective Inspector in Torbay, was a Manchester City fan, and for Christmas that year he had asked for a set of Man City colours and some new football boots. At that time there were no replica kits on sale as there are today, we bought a pale blue shirt and another with black and red vertical stripes, the colours his team played in. At that time footballers were numbered from 2 to 11, we managed to recognise the goalie by his different coloured shirt!!
Jim's idol was Colin Bell their inside left who always wore number 8. We got two number 8's and I recall my wife struggling to sew them on the shirts, whilst asking why he couldn't play on the wing, 7 or 11 being much easier numbers to sew on.
This last Christmas (2004) my Grandson Tom received a Liverpool replica kit and we were able to get the boots out again! He took some convincing that they were the type worn by the Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney of their day.
Peter Hinchliffe is a retired police officer.
The 'real' football boots.
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