FOR almost 100 years pictures of young workers playing football have sat forgotten and gathering dust in attics.

The Ellesmere Port Shop Lads were often seen having a kick around down back alleys and playing games on the fields near the shops where they worked.

Now after a football fanatic salvaged a pair of dusty photographs from the trash, memories of the successful team could soon be brought back to life.

Grandfather-of-two Roy Cordell, of Ambleside Road, Whitby, discovered the black-and-white photographs when his friend was moving house earlier this year.

As a life-long football fan, Roy, 77, could not bear to see the photographs reduced to trash and saved them, before launching a mission to find out who the boys proudly sporting the stripped shirts were.

Taken in 1913 the photograph shows players from the Ellesmere Port Shop Lads team who played between 1912-13.

And the second photograph is even more of a mystery to Roy, who found them both together with no names, labels or dates to help him identify the players.

Roy’s own history with football is the driving force behind his passion to find the truth about the young team, having rubbed shoulders with Everton and Liverpool Legends such as Dave Hickson, Bill Shankly and Joe Mercer.

Before a tragic accident in 1960 where he was kneed in the kidney during a game, splitting it in two, Roy was about to be signed into a life-changing career at Everton Football Club.

But after an extensive operation, Roy, who had been a star player at Ellesmere Port School, Ellesmere Port Town, and for the Cheshire TA, it was clear that Roy had played his last ever match.

“Now I only ever play football with the grandchildren and I still seem to hurt myself then. I remember when I came out of hospital I couldn’t go into the crowds to watch football so they let me sit with the reserves.

“We do not know who any of the boys are, they have to be people from Ellesmere Port. They would have practiced on a Wednesday when all the shops closed.”

Roy and his wife Pam, who have been married for 53 years, are appealing for anyone who might recognise one of the boys to come forwards and help them piece the team back together.

“It would be really nice to know who they are and to try and find out what happened in their lives.”