In the 60’s I was an avid fan of Manchester City’s glory trio of Lee, Bell, and Summerbee. Manchester United had Charlton, Best, and Law, and we had Franny, Nijinsky, and Buzzer. All three played for England, all three were mavericks and all three were inspirational characters.

Franny Lee was a hustling, bustling striker who made millions in the toilet paper business and later became Chairman of Manchester City. My hero, Colin Bell, who had his leg broken in a horrific tackle by Manchester United’s Martin Buchan, had a stand named after him at the City of Manchester Stadium and is rated by most as Manchester City’s best ever player. He came from Bury, a homely club I used to watch with my Uncle Roy when I was 8 years old. Buzzer Summerbee was George Best’s best friend (in fact, Besty was Buzzer’s best man at his wedding to the beautiful Tina). I’ve just finished reading Buzzer’s autobiography, which is a great working class kind of book about football in the 60’s and 70’s.

These entertainers were paid so little but they certainly lived the good life. What struck me about the book is the inspirational quotation from Theodore Roosevelt that Summerbee claims as his life long inspiration. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Great thoughts from a great man. And how appropriate they are today when the whole world is running around blaming others, feeling depressed, without hope, and is in danger of withdrawing into its own shell. This is the time for people to have a go, to be optimistic, and enthusiastic, and to give your all. Go Teddy go!

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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