When Billy was manager of Man City he brought his Man City side to play against Blackpool, I don’t remember whether it was a friendly or a league match such is my ability at remembering this amazing event. I do remember however that at that time I was a Director of Blackpool Football Club.
Manchester City FC had a pre-match meal at my hotel, which was “The Boston Hotel”. On this particular day we had requests from the Manchester City players that the chefs and waitresses had never heard of, or seen in Blackpool or The Boston. We were more into the tourism market, but needless to say we managed somehow to deal with the players demands. I must also add that it was not what they were used to and probably not to their liking either. Think how the mega rich Man City would react today.
After the game Billy stayed along with his dear wife Margaret, they were probably only staying with us out of courtesy. Billy McNeil was a gent, I probably forced him into staying the night. I used my powers of persuasion and you know what, I achieved the impossible.
My reason for telling you this particular story is that after a few drinks and with all of us showing signs of being a little bit tipsy and being late in the evening. I and my tipsy-ness had plucked up enough courage to pass a comment about Mrs McNeil, it was something that she was wearing. Margaret unashamedly wore a Scottish Football League medal on a gold belcher chain, she was wearing it on her neck a very beautiful jewellery item.
I in my Thomasso Bianco alter ego had the temerity and audacity to say to this lady that she was “showing off” wearing that “League Medal”. I know that it was the drink talking but Margaret replied in such a way that there wasn’t a place around where I could hide or Hang my head in shame. She looked me straight in the eye and replied ” I’m not showing off” I’ve got another ten of “these back at home”. Margaret wasn’t being bitchy when she said what she said, it was as we say the truth, and simply a testament to Celtic, Billy and a true “matter of fact!
I might add as a “matter of fact” that I am the only player to ever have played for Blackpool, been a Director of Blackpool and also managed them, albeit the latter was in a caretaker capacity…… so there!