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Gerry Young and Johnny Quinn - An Appreciation
An appreciation of two former players who helped make the author a Wednesdayite

These days all I can usefully write about Sheffield Wednesday are my own memories of 'the good old days' - I can reel off the names of the 1966 Cup Final Team like your rote learned times table from early school days, but name three of the buggers who wear the blue and white these days ? That's another matter.

Looking at photos of Gerry you pick up certain impressions; the ruggedness of his North East origins, his concentration on the game, the early pictures showing the blue and white hooped socks - I bought a pair for my first foray into school football [like all of them it was a disaster -there were bigger ones to come]. According to what I have read Gerry was a quiet guy but solid, dependable - the cliches flow. He was from a distant era - from another century, but oh how his type are fondly looked back upon as we age. Imagine a player who scores a hat trick against Roma then faces Barcelona [imagine even playing them these days).Then his positional role changes into what we youngsters [!] remember him as - central to Wednesday's defence until his retirement in the darkening days of 1970/1971. He won one cap for England, against Wales. One hundred percent trier, solid as a rock - from what I remember - God we need players like that these days.

A one club man [you might need to explain that these days] apart from a brief foray with Barnsley, ending up as chief coach under Burtenshaw and sacked with him in the even more darkening days of 1975 - what price loyalty eh? He went into partnership with the 'Mighty Quinn' in a trophy business on Middlewood Road [explain that to the 'Young Turks' who follow SWFC]. Such was the lot of retired footballers in those days - unless you really did well and became a manager, or part of the management team, or became a pub landlord.

Of course, Gerry is remembered to a degree - totally unfairly - for failing to trap that 'punt' in the Cup Final, and that's wrong. Did Vic Mobley get blamed for getting injured at Villa Park or Sam Ellis for his relative inexperience? No Gerry Young is remembered for far more than that - as part of the 'Allstars', for being good company on the golf course and more besides. Those Wednesdayites older than me will remember much more about him from the middle nineteen fifties and early sixties.

But for me Gerry Young has a personal remembrance - that Cup Final experience was the final jigsaw piece that finally sealed my fate as a Wednesdayite, something I thought I'd lost these last ten years. I sat rooring my eyes on the bench in the back yard at 24 Ben Lane but that was it - me destiny was confirmed.

As I look at him on the front cover of the Star's Cup Final Souvenir, stood on the backrow along with my first hero [Ron Springett in a plain green shirt unlike the psychedelic nightmares of today], and Johnny Fantham on the front -  I remember him with respect - admiration and fondness - as one of the class of ‘66.

He wouldn't need tattoos on his arms [not that you could see them under the sleeves of that shirt - why have retro items vanished from the club shop?] to make him stand out as a man - because Gerry Young was a man for all seasons [14 of 'em] and how he deserved that testimonial [another aspect you will need to explain].

How poignant that Johnny Quinn should pass away so soon after his team mate, and later his business partner Gerry Young. There are many older Wednesdayites who could better tell the story of ‘The Mighty Quinn’ but this is about what he meant to me. They were both part of the ‘Heroes of 1966’ – and they were heroes, the reception they received when back in Sheffield was never bettered. I can see them now in The Star’s Cup Final Souvenir edition, doing the losers lap of honour in those white shirts, and the very first team to do so. Johnny’s granddaughter Olivia posted that very image on Twitter as part of her tribute to her grandad.

I remember Johnny’s wife having a hairdressing salon in one of the big houses opposite Hillsborough Barracks and Johnny having the Sports Shop on Middlewood Rd. Johnny Quinn’s All Stars must have raised millions for charities and for that fantastic work alone Johnny deserves accolades.

Johnny, you were one of the old-school from the days of quagmire pitches and the woollen blue and white scarves that shrank. You, Gerry and the rest of the lads confirmed me a Wednesdayite and I thank you, Gerry and the lads for that Sir.

Thanks Gerry and Johnny - we will not see your like again.

 

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27.10.2020
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