12/06/2013 11:39, Report by Nick Coppack
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Stepney recalls '67 tour

think of blazing sunshine. It was freezing in New Zealand, though, and it rained almost the entire time we were in Australia.

There was a brilliant moment in that game in Christchurch, actually. Their goalkeeper was wearing two under-shirts because of the cold, but because we were about 6-0 up he was really worked up. As he was trying to take off one of his shirts it got stuck around his head and we scored another!

After New Zealand we travelled to Australia to play eight games, beginning in Brisbane. WD and HO Wills were a cigarette company and they sponsored us in Australia. That wouldn’t happen these days, of course. Back then, though, most of us smoked so we were happy about it – they kept our supplies up!

We visited Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast, which was good, but the memory that sticks in my mind of Queensland is a less happy one. News came through on the television that a plane, flying from Majorca, had crashed in Stockport. Shay Brennan’s wife and daughter were travelling back from Majorca that day, so we were all very worried. The waiting was horrendous and it took ages before we got the all-clear – they weren’t on that flight. We were all so relieved.

In Australia, just about everybody that came to see us was an ex-pat. Everywhere we went we came across people who had tales of watching Manchester United back in England. There wasn’t the sort of appreciation for football among the locals as there is today, although, in fairness, the Australian Soccer Federation treated us very well and there was plenty of media interest in us. Stories appeared in the papers and Paddy Crerand, who injured his knee in Sydney, did all the TV appearances. That was great: we didn’t have to do any publicity!

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