MANY readers have asked us when the magnificent Warrington Guardian photograph of Alex Murphy, Bobby Charlton and Parry Gordon that we published last month was taken.

Well, after a little bit of detective work, we have the answer.

The picture was taken on Wednesday, December 15, 1971 at the Social Club under the main wooden stand at Wilderspool Stadium. The place was packed.

The occasion was the presentation of a testimonial cheque to the popular scrum-half Parry Gordon by Ossie Davies, the Warrington chairman.

Parry received the then club record sum of £1,500 which would equate to about £50,000 in today’s prices.

Bobby Charlton and his wife Norma, who lived in Lymm at the time, called in to the Social Club to congratulate him.

Alex Murphy, six months into his reign as Warrington’s player-coach, was also in attendance with his wife, Alice.

Two days later, the Warrington Guardian published a photograph of Sir Bobby shaking hands with Parry. Also pictured are the trainer Tommy Lomax, Mrs Murphy, Mrs Charlton, Mrs Valerie Gordon and Ossie Davies.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington Guardian cutting from 1971Warrington Guardian cutting from 1971 (Image: Contributed)

The more relaxed picture of Murphy, Charlton and Gordon – taken at the same time – was not used, which is a pity. It is a much more informal picture, showing the mutual respect and friendship between three top-class sportsmen in their prime.

Charlton, then aged 34, had won the World Cup with England in 1966 and the European Cup with Manchester United in 1968. He had also been one of England’s leading lights at the 1970 Mexico World Cup.

Murphy, then aged 32, had dazzled for Great Britain against Australia and won the Challenge Cup at Wembley with St Helens in 1961 and 1966 and with Leigh in 1971.

Gordon, aged 26, was halfway through a remarkable career that would yield 167 tries in 543 appearances. This was one of his favourite photographs and was displayed in the hallway of his home in Wigan.