One of the most admired and respected figures to have emerged from Manchester’s musical scene, the Wythenshawe-born musician has enjoyed a long and hugely successful career with a number of bands, most notably The Cult.
Aside from his acclaimed musical back-story however, Duffy has also carried a lifelong passion for City, having followed the Club through both our ups and downs for more than 50 years from his days growing up in south Manchester.
Along the way, Duffy has built up a veritable treasure trove of prized City-centric memorabilia including vintage team shirts, books, programmes, season tickets and pennants to name but a few.
WATCH: Kevin De Bruyne | Mini Me
However, having decamped to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago, Billy has now reluctantly decided it’s time his Aladdin’s Cave of City memorabilia - along with a vast collection of treasured musical artifacts – went to new homes.
That’s why he has decided to hold a special auction at the end of this month where fans and collectors will be able to bid for what is a unique assortment of rare and prized items.
Wythenshawe-born Duffy admits saying goodbye to a collection he has painstakingly spent a lifetime accruing will be a wrench.
But he believes it’s the right thing to do – especially if his City memorabilia finds its way to fellow passionate supporters.
“A couple of years ago I moved to a new house in Los Angeles where I have been living and I found a load of City and music memorabilia there,” Duffy explains.
“And I sort of got the idea that for years it had all just been sitting around in boxes, getting a bit stale so what could I do to get kind of get it back out with the fans and the collectors.
“Then I gathered all the memorabilia I’d had in Cheshire for years since the 1980s and I just thought it was time to let it go.
“With my website we digitally archive a lot of stuff, so I don’t really need the material things anymore. So now I’m simplifying it and putting it out there and hopefully giving it a new lease of life instead of it just sitting in boxes.“And I’d much rather the collectors out there, who cherish everything, get the chance to own it.
“The stuff in the collection goes as far back as 1968 back to when I first went to games with my sister-in-law.
“There’s a lot of stuff from late 60s when I was a little kid. I think I’ve got a Man City lamp which is quite rare.
“There’s all sorts of stuff. I’ve got old season tickets… rosettes, pennants, programmes, shirts, some of it is incredible and the football stuff is just part of the bigger picture. The vast majority is music related stuff, so the City material is just one part of it.
“I feel bad about it in some ways, but it has just been sitting around and, hopefully, there are some City maniacs who really want to collect stuff.”
The auction itself takes place on the October 25th, the day after the Cult play the Manchester Apollo, and will be held at Omega Auctions, the Newton-le-Willows based auction house which specialises in music memorabilia sales.
The collection also charts Duffy’s life in music, from early days collecting Mott The Hoople tickets and posters, his friendship with Steven Morrissey, a defining experience seeing The Sex Pistols at the infamous ‘I was there’ gig in Manchester, July 1976, through to The Cult’s huge successes of the 1980s and beyond.
As well as making offers in person, people will also be able to bid for items online as well as over the phone.
And part of the money raised from the sale will also go to help support a charity close to Duffy’s heart.
“A percentage of the proceeds will go to a cancer charity set up by Mike Peters of the Alarm called Love, Hope, Strength, which I’m a supporter of,” Billy added.
“Mike and I have a lot of banter and he’s actually an intelligent United supporter so we can have an intellectual discussion about football and it’s a fantastic cause
“I suppose it is a little bit like selling the family silver.
“There is a bit of guilt there but, like I say, the stuff has been sat in boxes for 30 years and it should be enjoyed and experienced.
“I’ve got the memories and as I get older simplicity of lifestyle is really important. This is part of that process.
“I just hope that the items go to homes and people who cherish them for what they are.”
More details about the auction are available here
Pictures: Mick Peek