The first ever issue of The Sun newspaper, from September 15 1964, has a couple of Stockport related stories.
One of the stories will be familiar to every modern-day Stockport resident: Stockport County losing 1-0 at home to Hartlepools Utd (as it was called until 1968), although County had won the previous week in a game that had seen nine goals scored. The scorer of the Hartlepools goal was Ambie Fogarty, who’d transferred from Sunderland for £10,000 and played international football for the Republic of Ireland.
The other story is altogether more curious: fifty members of the Manchester Bullfighting Club training in a field near Rochdale.
The training is serious, the shouts are in Spanish, the bullfighters carry a cloak and sword, sherry is drunk from a goatskin flask – the only thing missing is the bull.
Instead, the bullfighters, including Mrs Ethel Cook of Heaton Norris, Stockport face a “bull” consisting of a bicycle front wheel, half a frame, handles for the manipulator and a rubber cushion to take the barbed shafts driven into the bull’s shoulders.
The Sun quotes Ethel Cook as joking “I don’t know what we’d do if a real bull appeared. Some of us would run like mad.”
If anyone knows what became of the Manchester Bullfighting Club, or of any of the members (in addition to Ethel Cook, a Carole Cooke is also mentioned – and appears in the photo. Carole was 20 in 1964, so would now be 68).