Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mick McManus

Growing up in the 1970s, Saturday afternoons were often spent watching wrestling on TV. The sport was massive, populated by larger than life characters with outlandish costumes. Mick McManus's nicknames were "The Man You Love to Hate" and the "Rugged South London Tough Guy", a diminutive London Irish fighter (he was five feet six) not averse to bending the rules.

Although TV wrestling became increasingly theatrical (everyone knew it was fixed - but who cared it as long as it was entertaining), McManus had been a serious fighter, winning his first British championship in 1948.

McManus was born Michael Matthews on 11 January 1928 in New Cross. According to a discussion at Downham Online, he was a member of the New Cross Tramways Swimming Club and was trained at the John Ruskin Amateur Wrestling Club - not sure where that was, but guessing Camberwell.

Evidently he also liked to sing country and western in his spare time - in that Downham Online discussion, somebody recalls hearing him sing in a pub 'next to and underneath Lewisham Odeon in the 70s'.

There is also New Cross folklore that at some point in the 60s or 70s he ran the Goldsmiths Tavern/New Cross House . Anybody know any more about this or have any tales of his SE London connections?
Here's a classic from 1976, Mick McManus vs. Kung Fu - note that on screen he listed as 'Mick McManus, New Cross'.

Update: 22 May 2013: Mick McManus died today, aged 93. Several obituaries recall that he was also known as 'the Dulwich Destroyer', not a very credible name for a hard man really.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RIP mick