Nostalgia: Football prize of a lifetime for Morecambe teen
Imagine you have travelled down memory lane to a time almost 60 years ago and heard a fascinating story.
Let me introduce to you the smile that will light up the World Cup in Sweden.
It is the smile of an ordinary English boy living in an ordinary home in an ordinary Lancashire street, a boy with a pleasant round face and a healthy interest in the greatest of all games.
His name is Gordon Rush, he is 16 and lives at 43 Edward Street, Morecambe.
Now he has won “Football Monthly’s” prize trip for two people to Sweden in June 1958.
Gordon and his father, William, are booked on a flight to Stockholm on June 18 with tickets for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of soccer’s greatest international tournament.
William, a 48-year-old fitter at the ICI works in Heysham, has been a loyal Newcastle United fan for more than 30 years.
William said: “I submitted two entries of my own and finished nowhere and Gordon’s selections were entirely his own choice, no one influenced him.”
Each week Gordon joined in the Rush family pastime of studying birthday horoscopes in popular magazines.
When the knock on the door came his birthday forecast under Aquarius had told him:
“A long-awaited letter will set your mind at ease. A special trip lies in store in the near future.”
There was no doubting his shrewd forecasting and few so-called Soccer pundits were anything like as accurate.
This month Gordon will be the envy of all his school friends.
He plays at inside forward at school, does cross-country running and is a staunch Preston North End supporter.
Gordon comes from a footballing family.
His parents are “Geordies” from Newcastle and Gordon saw his first League match when he was six.
His elder brother, Peter, 18, is a member of Morecambe Football Club Auxiliary Supporters Club, in the Lancashire Combination.
Another brother, David, 12, plays football regularly at Euston Road School, Morecambe, from which Gordon won a scholarship. Gordon has never travelled abroad, never been in a plane and has visited London only once.
Soon he will be off on a wonderful trip to watch the world’s leading players in action and to see his idol, Tom Finney.
In the meantime, there are passports to get, new clothes and permission to take an unexpected holiday from school in term time.
Sadly, Gordon never got to see his idol, Tom Finney, as England drew their three group games and lost 1-0 to Russia in a play-off.
Scotland finished bottom of their group but Wales made it through to the quarter finals and lost 1-0 to eventual winners, Brazil, without their star player, John Charles, who was injured.
Northern Ireland also made it through to the quarter finals but were beset by injuries and lost to France 4-0.
Gordon and his dad would have enjoyed being in the crowd of 49,737 to see Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 in the final with goals from Vava (2), Pele (2) and Zagallo, wonderful memories and stories to tell his school friends in Morecambe on his return.
By Terry Ainsworth.