Mens Team

Clive Wilson: Moss Side’s finest

Clive Wilson: Moss Side’s finest
Clive Euclid Aklana Wilson was signed from the highly regarded local Manchester team Moss Side Amateurs in 1979.

City had an excellent reputation for signing local youngsters and with Maine Road bang in the middle of Moss Side, many of the talented youngsters were plucked from the predominantly black community.

Alex Williams, Dave Bennett, Gary Bennett, Roger Palmer and Clive Wilson were the cream of the crop and Wilson, with his superb technical ability became a firm favourite on the Kippax in the early 1980s.

He impressed in the youth team and was a key member of the team that reached the 1978/79 FA Youth Cup final where the Blues won 2-0 on aggregate over two legs to Millwall.

He was then promoted to the reserves with other members of the team such as Nicky Reid, Tommy Caton, Alex Williams and Steve Kinsey also progressing to the second string.

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Wilson had to wait until December 1981 to make his full league debut. He replaced Bobby McDonald at left-back as the Blues took on Wolves at Maine Road and made a confident debut, playing his part in the 2-1 win that took City to the top of the league.

He was out of the side for next three months before replacing McDonald again, this time at Middlesbrough and then he played in midfield at home to Liverpool.

Despite his cool head and silky skills, the relegation trauma of the 1982/83 season meant he wasn’t used at all by City who instead loaned him to Chester where he made 21 starts for the Sealand Road outfit.

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Following the resignation of John Bond and the sacking of John Benson, new boss Billy McNeill used Wilson just 11 times during the 83/84 Division Two campaign.

It was a mystery why this talented young footballer was continually being overlooked, but things were about to change.

The next two seasons saw Wilson used 51 times, more often than not on midfield and the City fans loved the way he played his football – he was a cultured, tidy and skilful player.

He couldn’t be ruffled and for a lightly built lad, he was made of strong stuff, but even so, it wasn’t until Jimmy Frizzell took over as manager that Wilson finally won a regular place in the side.

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He was an ever present during 1986/87 and after finally achieving his goal of winning his shirt, cash-strapped City sold Wilson to Chelsea for £250,000 to raise the money needed to buy Paul Stewart from Blackpool.

An agreement was struck that Wilson remained at City for the final two months of the season as City battled against relegation, ultimately, in vain.

Wilson went on to enjoy a very successful career with Chelsea, QPR and Spurs before retiring with Cambridge United aged 38.

Quiet, popular and unassuming, Clive Wilson was always afforded a warm welcome on his returns to Maine Road. It was just a pity a succession of managers failed to spot what a gem they had in their midst.

He could have been a great asset during a very turbulent time for the club.

Illustration: Ben Wild

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