BILL Cooper has a unique place in the history of Vauxhall Motors – he was the first player to score a goal for the club!
Aged 23, Bill was one of the youngest members of the first ever Vauxhall team back in 1963. The centre-forward grabbed Motors’ only goal as they lost their first game 5-1 to Heath Rovers.
Now aged 69 and living in Ellesmere Port, Bill has been in touch to help identify most of the original squad members on the team picture we printed in the Pioneer last month.
“I remember most of them,” he said. “Brian Margerison, he was a really good goalkeeper. He played for Ellesmere Port Town at one stage as well, when they were a big team.
“Louis Manzini was an Italian working at the plant. Back then you heard about foreign footballers having all this flair, but he was the first person any of us met who did all the back heels and flicks.”
Bill was approached by Fred Ward, who was forming the team, in the canteen at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port.
“He came up and said he’d heard I played a bit of football,” said Bill. “I said yes and he asked me to go to training.
“It was a great group and I would love to have a reunion with the surviving members, some of them I haven’t seen for a long time.”
Recalling Motors’ maiden campaign in the Ellesmere Port League, Bill said: “We won nothing in that first season. In the second season they won the league but I left halfway through.
“I only spent 18 months working at Vauxhall’s. The work didn’t suit me, it was very repetitive.
“When I left I went on to play for Great Sutton. But I was great mates with Ernie Huxley, he really had the gift of the gab.”
From their humble beginnings in the early 1960s, Motors have gradually climbed the non-league pyramid and now play in Blue Square North – just two rungs below Football League level.