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By Roger Hermiston

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Example text

Unlike Clough’s house in Valley Road, there’s no plaque on the wall at No. 20; indeed, it’s the one house on the street that seems to have lost its number plate. In Revie’s day, the little two-up, two-down council houses, built just before the First World War, would have had a uniform look; now, as private dwellings, they have different-coloured front doors, and the odd-numbered homes on the other side of the road have new porches and other embellishments at the front. But it’s easy to imagine the scene in the 1930s, because the alleyway at the back of the houses remains pretty much the same as it was then, a perfect venue for a cricket wicket or a football pitch for the children in the street.

In the last season, however, Charles had departed to Juventus for £65,000, a record transfer fee for a British player, and the team had slumped from seventh to seventeenth in the table. Revie still felt his football warranted a place in the top league, so he wasn’t prepared to dismiss Leeds’ interest – at this stage, only tentative – out of hand. The local press were intensely interested in his decision. Subeditors at the Northern Echo had already put their back page to bed; the headline in the morning would read ‘Revie’s 9am Call May Help Put Boro’ Back in Division 1’.

Sunderland had told him that they wouldn’t stand in his way, and a fee of around £12,000 had been agreed. When he was growing up in Middlesbrough, playing his football first at Archibald School then later as a developing teenager for the Boro Swifts side, Revie had no desire to look beyond his native town for a professional career. He was desperate to follow in the footsteps of the forwards he’d idolised, pestered for autographs and watched in wonder on a Saturday afternoon: Camsell, Micky Fenton, Wilf Mannion, great players with flair, imagination and personality.

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