Trevor Christie was born on February 28th, 1959. near Newcastle. He played for a host of clubs especially in the East Midlands area making a name for himself as a powerful centre forward who scored goals. His rise to first team football in the old First Division came at Leicester City as Trevor explains..
" A scout by the name of Bob Farrington sent me down to Leicester for trials at 13. I signed schoolboy forms at 14, became an apprentice at 16 and became a professional just before my 18th birthday and was a first team player at 19. I made my debut for Leicester City against Wolves in a 1-0 win. The goal was scored by Mark Goodwin who I also played with at Notts County and Walsall. In that season, 1977-8, Frank Mc Lintock was manager."
"Early in my first team career we were playing Coventry City. Billy Hughes was preparing to take a corner and their centre half Jim Holton put his hands down my shorts and squeezed my knackers. I was in absolute agony rolling over on the floor, with Billy laughing his head off. As I got up Jim came over and said, 'Welcome to the big time!' Leicester got relegated at the end of that season and Jock Wallace replaced him. I had a good pre season and ended up top scorer that season with 8. The goals were shared around evenly."
"I was transferred to Notts County and had a good five or so years there. Don Masson gave me some good advice and asked me if I'd got a pension. A pension at that age?! But I'm glad I did start one. I scored 21 goals in 1980-1 and 25 goals in 1983-4 even though we got relegated and I was second only to Ian Rush that season. Notts County tried to sell me to Coventry City and I went to speak to Bobby Gould but I decided not to sign for them. Joe Harvey rang me one Sunday and said, 'Do you not want to come to Newcastle?' I was more than happy to have done so but Notts kept putting my transfer fee up. That was when Arthur Cox was manager at Newcastle and when he signed me for Derby he told me the full story. Each time I scored they upped the asking price for me and priced me out of joining the club I had supported as a lad."
"Nottingham Forest came in for me so I made the short trip over the water to the City Ground under Brian Clough. For Forest I scored 7 goals in 21 games in total. Around the December time I got injured and young Nigel Clough took my place.. Nige took his opportunity, played really well so much so it became impossible for his dad to drop him."
" Next came a move to Derby County who had slipped into the Third Division. So I went from the first to the third but I was happy to put pen to paper for Arthur Cox and to get regular first team football again. When I played the game as a centre forward I expected a hit from a centre half and gave it back. Playing for Derby against Doncaster at the old Baseball Ground someone wacked me. I seized my chance. I hit him that hard with my elbow he said,' You've knocked my bastard tooth out.' When I looked it had dislodged in my elbow! So I gave it back to him! My elbow became infected because of it and I had to have treatment." Trevor scored from the penalty spot against Rotherham United at the Basement Ground that took Derby up to the Second Division at the end of 1985-6.
"There was an offer to join Manchester City and I signed for them under Billy Mc Neil. It was a very good move for me financially and I scored 3 goals in 9 games for them keeping up my average of a goal every 3 games which was more of less my ratio throughout my career. Billy left to join Aston Villa and ew manager Jimmy Frizzell replaced him but he took me to one side and told me to start looking for another club as I wasn't in his plans. I was never one to stagnate so I rang up Notts County and asked them if there was any way they could have me back but they simply said we can't afford you."
"Tommy Coakley, who had just taken over at Walsall got in touch and we arranged to meet at the Fradley Arms pub on the A38. I had heard about him and Terry Ramsden and I knew Gerry Sweeney from his playing days with Bristol City. I had a good pay off from Manchester City and let's just say Terry Ramsden didn't let me down either. There were one or two calls between Tommy and Terry. Terry said to Tommy 'Get him in' so again in my career I'd switched from the 1st to the 3rd division. I had a bit of doubt in my mind going from the 1st to the 3rd again."
"I settled in well at Walsall and they were smashing lads. We all knew what we were capable of, Tom and Gerry would bring that out of you. If ever you lost a bit of faith they would soon bring it back. I hit it off with Dave (Kelly) right away. I used to say to him if you get kicked you'll know they're not coping with you. Try to worry them. Even though he was 20 /21 he could look after himself."
"He had a great career. and was a smashing lad and super strike partner to have buzzing around you. He made my job as a target man easy! It took a while for some of the Walsall fans to accept me though. I remember early in my time there I took a penalty at the Hillary Street End. Before I ran up to take it some 'fan' shouted out 'miss it, you twat.' I scored and I went up to where he was shouting and I gave him a right mouthful back. It was industrial language I used.. I got reported for it and a local newspaper picked up on it. I was given a slap on the wrist by Tommy."
"Tommy was a lovely bloke. Perhaps almost too nice to be a football manager. Gerry was a super fit man for his age, he used to play in the five a sides and in training he wouldn't ask you to do anything he couldn't do himself, he ran with us for miles in pre-season. I would say that Walsall lads were one of the best set I ever played with and we socialised well too, Kenny, Rico, Willie etc. Forbesy never seemed to be with out a pack of four cans! We would have some fun with Freddie Barber in training. If any of us chipped him and pulled his leg he'd have a paddy, throw the gloves down and say OK you can have a go! Tommy used to love it and his shoulders would go up and down!"
Trevor has fond memories of the Watford FA Cup games in 1986-7 . He scored form the spot in game one at Fellows Park and a brace in the first replay. "I notched two goals that night and the one was the best right foot volley I ever hit! Reesy headed it down to me and I hit it. It was an amazing game to play in and I remember the Walsall fans going absolutely wild at the end when we won the toss for home advantage for the second replay! I was up against Steve Simms with whom I roomed with for two years from my Leicester days. Watford had some great players in their team including John Barnes." Trevor went on to score19 goals in all competitions in his first season for Saddlers.
"It was around the time of the Watford games that Terry Ramsden asked us all if anyone fancied a day out at Cheltenham for the Gold Cup. 10 or 12 of us went and a bus came to pick us up and we played cards and drank beer on board! When we arrived there he had left tickets for us and Terry invited us to his personal marquee. It was amazing inside. There was the best buffet spread I ever saw. A bar in another corner, a Ladbrook's in another and a big tv screen in another corner. Everything you needed in that marquee, without ever needing to leave it really! Afterwards he said, 'You're in no rush to get back are you lads?' We weren't and he invited us back to his hotel and there were his minders and his entourage and he handed us a magnum of champagne. I got injured and needed an achilles operation that kept me out for the first few months of the season and had to do a lot of cycling and swimming in my recovery." He came back as a substitute in October against Sunderland and almost scored the winner. In 1987-8 a group of fans, Paul Russell and his mates, sponsored him in the programme under the moniker 'Trevor Christie's Moustache Fan Club'! That season Trevor notched 11 goals including the goal against his former club Notts County in the play off semi at Fellows Park and a goal in the play off final away leg against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
"There was a lady, Jan I think her name was, who looked after us at Fellows Park after training. She's put on a spread and we'd give her a few quid now and then. During my time there Tommy Coakley informed me that Joe Jordan, the Bristol City player / manager wanted to sign me. They were old pals from their time as players at Morton. That meant a lot that someone like him was interested in me. After the promotion the club took us on a break to Portugal. The management put a lot of trust in us as we took over the running of the players bar. There was hardly anyone in there before we took charge. It was dying a death. But after we took it on more and more got interested, the wives and girl friends of the players started using it. We ran it well. There was always two players on the bar on a rota. We made a right profit from it and I think we blew it all on that trip to Portugal. I don't think we were sober for a minute over there!"
"Tommy losing his job was a disgrace. Every week he was told by Barrie Blower that it was going to be a must win game to save his job. He was nothing more than a arsehole. The club were run by people who knew nothing about football. Tommy was shat on from a high height. After Tommy was sacked there were a few tears shed by us players. Blower called for a meeting and asked if anyone wasn't happy to to speak up now. I was the first to put my hand up right away and had my say. Shakey, Forbesy and Freddie followed suit and we were transfer listed. They tried to load me off to Doncaster but I wasn't interested."
Barrie Blower was quoted in the local press as saying, "It is because they all want career moves and do not want to drop back into the Third Division." Meanwhile Mansfield Town's manager Ian Greaves was quoted as saying, "If Christie goes on the list I will be very interested. He is in our price bracket and is a classic centre forward who will do the job for us." Meanwhile 'TC' gave his thoughts on Tommy Coakley's replacement. "John Barnwell came in and I knew we wouldn't see eye to eye. He'd take part in training. He reminded me of Mr Sugden, the childish PE teacher from the film Kes. He'd come on dribbling with a ball under his arm and a running commentary! He was a joke."
"I eventually joined Mansfield. I was voted Player Of The Season and was presented with a television before the last game of the season against Crewe. I was preparing for my career after football and I wanted to join the police force. I had applied and passed my exam to join, I was just waiting to under go the physical stuff which, being a footballer, would have been easy enough. There was an incident between me and Dale Jasper for which referee David Elleray sent us off. I asked why and he replied 'Incitement'. I couldn't believe it. As we walked up the tunnel I hit him and there was blood everywhere. I was pinned up against the wall by a copper who said, 'Why did you do that for, you daft bastard, we wanted you in our police team next season.' I had been stitched up. It led to a court case and the FA were involved. I had a letter from the Chief Constable saying there's no way in for me after this incident."
"After Mansfield I continued my playing career at Kettering Town, VS Rugby and Hucknall Town. I had 16 years in sales then 11 years ago I finally got to wear a uniform when I became a prison officer. I was told once by someone I was the subject of a question in a pub quiz - who is the only player to have played for the five East Midland clubs? Fame at last! A question in a pub quiz! Gary Mills is one who played for all 4 major clubs but he never played for Mansfield."
Trevor is looking forward to a visit to the Railway Club when he can and I'm sure he would have other stories from his time at Fellows Park to reminisce with with the fans and meet up with some of his boozing buddies who played with him during his time with us.
TC pre match v. Doncaster April 9th 1988. Former players in the background who were paraded on the pitch for our Centenary celebrations.