Louis Rocca tales: signing Harry Worrall

Harry Worrall was a young player in action for Windsford in a Cheshire League game. Rocca had sent trusted associate Ted Connor to watch him and report back. Connor did so, and told Rocca of Worrall’s talent. Rocca had watched him once before and with Connor’s report backing him up, decided to go and bring him to Manchester United. But half of the clubs in the country wanted Harry Worrall, or were looking at him, at least.

Rocca went to Winsford the following Wednesday. They had a game at 3PM. Arriving at the family home, Rocca was told by Harry’s father that he was out at his job as a bricklayer. Worrall arrived home for lunch at 1:30 with just over an hour until kick off and encouraged by Rocca, he pitched into steak, chips, bread, butter and then rice pudding. As he’d started his lunch, Rocca writes “I couldn’t believe my luck” and then said, “Go on Harry, that’s the stuff to feed on, you’ll show them all to play!”

Worrall went on to eat the “largest meal” that Rocca had “ever seen a lad eat”.

10 minutes into the game, stuffed full of a Rocca-inspired lunch, Worrall had hardly touched the ball and every scout but Rocca and one other had left.

Only the scout from Liverpool remained, having been convinced of his quality previously, like Rocca and Connor. Rocca now just need to beat one man to Worrall’s signature rather than 10. The price, too, was driven down by only two clubs being interested rather than many.

Louis Rocca: the trailer out

The trailer for Series 1 (influential individuals), Episode 1 is out.

Louis Rocca is the subject of our first episode. Here’s why he’s important in brief:

  • Claims he re-named the club from Newton Heath to Manchester United
  • Served the club for 55 years as teaboy, kitman, groundsman, chief scout, manager
  • Helped to bring Sir Matt Busby to the club as manager
  • Helped to found the Manchester United Junior Athletic Club (MUJAC), the predecessor to the ‘academy’

Joining your host Harry Robinson on this episode will be guests Tony Rea (author of Manchester’s Ancoats: Little Italy) and Paddy Barclay (author of Sir Matt Busby: the definitive biography and former football correspondent of the Times, Independent, Guardian and Telegraph).

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