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Linnets Legends - Peter Duff

Some of the players we have looked at in the series so far have become Linnets Legends almost on the back of one season or even one great game. Not so Peter Duff. Born in Manchester in 1950, he was a stalwart of the Runcorn defence from 1970 right through to 1981. He had started his playing career as a youngster with Manchester City, having been spotted playing with Xaverian College by City’s chief scout, Harry Goodwin. He played in the Central League team with Stan Bowles, Willie Donachie and Joe Corrigan. He moved to Runcorn while studying at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. In 1976, when Stan Storton’s team won the Northern Premier League, Duff was chosen as the player of the season, no mean feat in a team that included Bailey, Wilson, Whitbread and Finnigan! And Duff was still around when the Linnets won the NPL again under John Williams in 1981!

The Weekly News produced a special pull – out to commemorate the winning of the NPL in 1980/81 and Duff’s defensive partner at that time was Ben Seddon. “He’s a great player to play with” said Seddon. “I’m naturally a ball winner but, whenever I lose it, I can guarantee that Peter will be behind and ready to mop up”

It was quite a coincidence that Duff was granted two testimonials during his time at Canal Street and on each occasion the team won the League title! (Come back, Peter!) His array of medals was impressive. In eleven years at the club he won 2 league titles (and one runners-up), 2 Senior Cup medals (and 2 runners-up), 3 Challenge Cup medals (and one runners-up) and a Challenge Shield winners medal! Quite a collection. And not to mention the heartache of 3 FA Trophy semi-final defeats in the 1970s!

Duff was eventually replaced in the heart of the defence by Elfyn Edwards. Peter Duff was a quiet, unassuming man who dedicated his football career to Runcorn FC. I was fortunate enough to play with Peter on odd occasions as we were both studying in Wolverhampton at the same time but on different courses. Wednesday afternoons were traditionally the days when colleges and universities played their fixtures and I turned out regularly in those days. Peter would turn up for a game from time to time but I was sworn to secrecy not to tell the manager that he was playing! Needless to say he only went through the motions and left the rest of us to do the running around!

So, of all the Runcorn players we have so far looked at, perhaps Peter is the one whose loyalty and devotion to the club, as well as his medals tally, quite rightly earn him the title of Linnets Legend.

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