I AM Willie Morgan. I played for the biggest club in the world, I was the first footballer to have his own fan club, I took the No.7 shirt off George Best and I played in the best-ever Scotland side.
So what do most people ask me about? Tommy Docherty suing me. Yes, that’s right, Docherty sued Granada TV and me for libel and it nearly broke me – financially and mentally.
I had been invited to appear on Kick Off, which was a football chat show broadcast in the north west on Granada on Friday nights. So in I went and Gerald Sinstadt asked who was the best manager I had worked for.
I said I had played for the best and worst, the best being Sir Matt Busby and the worst being Docherty. I said Docherty was the worst manager there had ever been.
A couple of weeks later I got a letter from Granada’s solicitors telling me solicitors acting on behalf of Docherty intended to sue for libel.
We treated it as a bit of a joke and expected it to all go away. But it went on and on as letters passed to and from
solicitor to solicitor. At no point did I see Docherty or have any direct communication with him.
We had to collect testimonials from the likes of Denis Law, Paddy Crerand, Jim Holton, Lou Macari and other people connected to the club. They all gave their honest opinion about Docherty and his managerial style.
We eventually got a date for the court case at the Old Bailey and I had to go down to see my barrister, John Wilpshire.
As part of my defence, I was making 29 allegations against Docherty in order to prove my case.
My QC was deadly serious when he said to me: “These accusations are serious. If you lose, and there is a very good chance you might, it could be very expensive. You’ll be wiped out and probably lose your house.
“However, I am fully confident that as soon as his team see the evidence we have, and the statements we will produce, they’ll drop it.”
So you can imagine my surprise when, two weeks later, I was called back down to London to see Wilpshire. His face told me all I needed to know even before he spoke. On the first morning of the trial he told me: “I am going to question Mr Docherty and every time he lies, I want you to give a little tug on my gown.”
After half-an-hour the gown had nearly been pulled off it had been tugged so many times.
Docherty was laughing, cracking gags, spinning yarns like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Next my QC went over Docherty’s evidence, pointing out all the inaccuracies and contradictions.
He was brilliant and I could see the colour drain from Docherty’s face. This went on for about two hours then my barrister suddenly looked at Tommy and, after hearing his contradictory account regarding his treatment of Denis Law, said: “You told a pack of lies to the jury about this, didn’t you?”
Docherty seemed to shrug his shoulders and said: “Yes, it turned out this way, yes.”
It was incredible. On the third day, Docherty’s barrister said his client was dropping the case.
The ordeal is one of the worst times in my life and the stress on my family was incredible. But it was worth it in the end.
The Willie Morgan show is exclusive to Football CFB. You can ask Willie questions by getting in touch with us via twitter @FootballCFB or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org