Club News

City DNA #22: Eddie Large

After today's sad news that lifelong City fan and half of the comedy duo Little & Large has passed away, here is another look at the recent City DNA we featured on the much-loved TV star...

At his peak, Eddie Large was one half a comedy duo that appeared on prime time TV for more than a decade.

And it was during those peak years that Eddie became a regular fixture on the first-team bench at Manchester City… it is a long story…

Eddie was born in 1941 as Edward Hugh McGinnis in Glasgow. By the age of nine, Eddie, a talented footballer, had moved with his family to Manchester and Maine Road - literally opposite his new Moss Side house - became his second home.

Though he wasn’t destined to make it as a player, his lifelong love of City was now firmly in his DNA and before long, his accent took on a more familiar Mancunian twang.

Eddie had another talent outside of football and, if he wouldn’t be able to entertain people with a football, he certainly could as a singer.

READ: City DNA #20: Hyde Road

WATCH: City DNA #18: King of the Kippax

He would appear in some tough venues around the city until one fateful night while performing in the Stonemasons Arms in Wythenshawe, he teamed up with guitarist Cyril Meed who, with large bottle lens glasses and a slight frame, became the butt of one or two of Eddie’s jokes who was then invited on stage as Cyril challenged him to do better.

The pair bounced off each other, the audience loved it and Little and Large were born as a comedy act, honing their show at Bernard Manning’s Embassy Club in Harpurhey among other local venues.

The pair mixed singing and comedy, along with Eddie’s range of impressions and in 1971, they struck gold when they won talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’ – an early version of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ - and became household names almost overnight.

Soon it became known he was a huge Blue and he would sometimes play golf with Joe Mercer and attended games whenever he could.

After being commissioned for a series on ITV, the pair then switched to the BBC, where their Little and Large Show regularly attracted 15 million viewers on Saturday evenings.

Eddie Large would always tell anyone who was willing to listen about his love of City, but when John Bond arrived as manager in October 1980, Eddie was invited to sit on the bench for home games.

He would sit outside the dugout with the subs and several backroom staff when filming allowed.

The Kippax would often shout, “Eddie, Eddie give us a wave!”, which, of course, he always would. He may have been a major TV star with almost unheard-of privileges at a top football club, but he was a City fan just like everyone else.

In 1981, Eddie was invited into the dugout at Villa Park as City took on Ipswich Town in the semi-final of the FA Cup, and he would later explain how he’d almost knocked himself unconscious jumping up as Paul Power scored the extra time winner, only to crack his head on the low, concrete dugout roof.

John Bond considered Eddie to be something of a lucky mascot, and again invited him to sit with the management team at Wembley for the final against Spurs, which ended 1-1.

Commitments elsewhere meant he missed the replay – and Bond’s superstition was proved correct as City lost 3-2.

Though he continued to appear at Maine Road on the bench, gradually, his appearances became fewer and when Bond quit his post, Eddie’s days as a lucky mascot were numbered, though with City’s steady demise during the 1980s, he felt it probably wasn’t right for him to be on the bench with the team doing poorly - particularly after sitting next to stand-in manager John Benson as the Blues lost their top flight status against Luton Town in May 1983.

READ: City DNA #12: Mike Doyle - the man who bled sky blue

WATCH: City DNA #3: The Laundry Room

The Little and Large Show ran until 1991 and, on doctor’s advice, Eddie was forced to quit showbusiness after having heart problems confirmed.

In 2003, he underwent a heart transplant and made a full recovery, later occasionally popping up on TV quiz shows such as Pointless Celebrities and The Weakest Link.

Eddie’s love of City never diminished and he came along to see his beloved Blues whenever his health allowed.

That he was allowed to sit next to the manager on matchdays for several years is proof enough of how the link between Eddie and Manchester City ensured he entered the Club's DNA.

On 2 April, 2020, Eddie sadly passed away aged 78. He was a warm, engaging and genuine man who adored his family.

He leaves behind his wife Patsy, three children and three grandchildren.

He will be sadly missed...