When PE City football club celebrated the 50th anniversary of their National Football League title win recently, avid fan Pravin Nagar was unable to attend.
Nagar, 69, who had undergone knee replacement surgery and was recovering from the surgery at the time of the event, invited Weekend Post to his Malabar home earlier this week to show off his impressive collection of artefacts about the club’s “golden years” between 1965 and 1968.
Nagar, an avid PE City and football fan, showed off his collection of almost 500 items, including newspaper clippings, player trading cards, magazines, match programmes and three encyclopaedias made using exam pads and bound by shoe glue.
Nagar, 15 at the time, said he had started supporting City when players visited his father’s shoe repair store, National Shoe Repairs in Ivy Street, Central, to have their boots repaired.
“I cannot tell you when or why I started collecting these things, I was just enjoying soccer, ” he explained. Nagar recalled some of the star names of that team, including the likes of Terry Mancini, George Scott and Alan Redpath.
He spoke fondly of the Friday night matches he would attend with his friends when they would cycle to games at the Crusader Ground at St George’s Park.
“It was just such a wonderful time in our lives. “The uncle who sold peanuts was at every match, he was like a part of the furniture, much like we [my friends and I] were. We had a lot of fun in those days,” he recalled.
When the squad acquired a sponsorship from the then Ford Motor Company and recruited young British players to bolster the squad’s appeal, greener pastures were in sight. In 1965 they finished fifth and then second in 1966.
City became National Football League champions in 1967, under the guidance of Matt Crowe, after enduring some turbulent years preceding that momentous achievement.
Asked about the night City clinched the league, he said: “Members of my family had gathered at our home, and we listened to live commentary over the radio. It’s difficult to describe how I felt on the night, it was just such a proud moment.”
Nagar says he is now ready to part with his beloved collection, hoping that someone will come forward to whom it will be of more value.
“I don’t want to see it being disposed of. It is of no value in my household anymore, because my sons never grew up in this era,” Nagar said.
Victoria Park Sports Club manager Eddie Falconer, who spent 23 years at the club as a player, said there was great passion in Nagar’s collecting.
He said he would welcome the collection at the club.