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In 1937 the players’ wage was £8/week, transfer fees had reached the dizzy heights of around £15, 000 and very few players came from overseas. Manchester City, won their first league championship; Arsenal, winners of five titles in the thirties (including a hat-trick), were third. Manchester United, had not won the league since 1911 and would not add to their two titles until the fifties. They, like some other big names, were in a period of ‘ups and downs’; promoted the previous year, they were relegated to the Second Division again, to join Newcastle, West Ham, Southampton, and Tottenham Hotspur, but bounced back the following year to be promoted with Aston Villa - as Manchester City were relegated a year after winning the First Division title - which they have won only once since. They are now expending enormous sums in an attempt to add to their total and join the ‘Big 3’. (JMC 2010)

Golf ThrillsThe week after the Cup Final the Dunlop Southport Tournament, one of the richest events of its kind in the world at that time, began at Hesketh Golf Club. Joe Ezar’s name was included on the entry list, but he ‘missed the boat’. The newspapers reported that he “had not reached the country in time to play”.

After the first qualifying round at Hesketh, played in a cold breeze and heavy sea mist, A.G. Matthews, the Roehampton pro (who had succeeded my brother George when he left for Malden), was leading with a 69. I had a 71 but, in the second round at Hillside GC, in the words of the Liverpool Daily Post, I “visited a number of hitherto undiscovered parts of the course” in my round of 76.

The tournament proper began in a gale and Abe Mitchell, aged 50 and still using his hickory-shafted clubs was the first round leader with a 71. “Steel does not act so well in the wind”, he told reporters. I played uninspired golf for the first 13 holes and, as the Times put it: “fireworks were wanted” to keep me out of the ruck, “and fireworks there were”, said the report, “for he finished in 4,3,3,3,4 to his manifest joy”. My 73 put me in third place behind Mitchell and Dick Burton, but in the improved conditions of round two I had a 76, which left me well adrift.

My partner in round three, Birkenhead born Norman Sutton had been an artisan member of my club West Cheshire, but was then attached to the Leigh Golf Club. He was a pro of some standing but, typical of those days, his job did not run to the extent of him affording a car and he had to be up at 6.30 am to make the journey from his home at Birkenhead in time to tee off at 8.50. Despite this he jumped into the lead with a 66 largely due to a hot putter. He had been an assistant to George Duncan at Wentworth and, like George, was a good footballer and played for his local team-Tranmere Rovers. He was watched by his brother Bill, who had won the English Amateur in 1929, when a member of the West Cheshire Artisan club, and was runner-up to L.G.Crawley in 1931 and would be again in 1939 to Arnold Bentley, from the Hesketh club. Bill was now a member of Mere Golf Club where George Duncan was by then the professional. (At Southport George was using the putter he had used in winning the French and Irish Opens, which had been lost for ten years!) The previous year Bill had partnered George in an exhibition match at Mere against Gene Sarazen and another amateur from the club, Bert Shaw. Two decades later his brother Norman, then pro at Exeter, beat Gene to win the 1958 World Senior Professional Championship at Wallasey.