When Colin Collindridge turned 98 recently, a football-themed birthday cake seemed entirely appropriate.
The pensioner, who describes himself as a Blade through-and-through, is Sheffield United’s oldest surviving player, originally signing for the team in December 1938.
Colin went on to make 232 appearances for the Blades, in a career that lost most of its years to the war. He eventually left United to join Nottingham Forest in 1950.
He played in the team that was promoted in 1938/39 alongside people such as Jock Dodds and Jimmy Hagan and was also in the team that topped Division 1 when the League was abandoned due to the outbreak of the second world war.
“I was stationed with the RAF during the war,” Colin told The Star a few years ago.
“Our job was putting the bombs on Lancasters at Syerston and there was one instance, when I was sat on the plane deck with my pal at the time, where he noticed a great 4,000 pounder had dropped off.
“I’ve never been so frightened. Fortunately it didn’t explode because, if it had, then I don’t suppose I’d be talking about it now.”
Colin was also a Wartime Football League North winner with Sheffield United club and scored a brace against Sheffield Wednesday in the only Sheffield derby played off the mainland, when the clubs met on the Isle of Man in an exhibition game in 1948.
“Sheffield was a very tough place then,” Colin added, referring to his football days.
“But Sheffielders were good, honest people. We could all look after ourselves and people used to tell me that I was fair to my opponents. You didn’t swear in public but what they didn’t notice was me giving them a kick when no one was watching.
“I’ve never said a bad word about Sheffield United and I never will. It’s a great place full of great people and I’m sure everyone realises that. Just how special it is.”