RIP Ian Mellor - played one, won one for Alty before starring for City and later signing for Brian Clough!

Tributes have been pouring in following the death of Ian Mellor, a flying winger for Manchester City, Norwich, Brighton, Chester, Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City.

But it is a little-known fact that Ian, known as Spider, made a solitary appearance for Altrincham at the start of his career.

Ian, who was 74 and lived in Sale, played for the Robins in a 2-1 victory at Buxton in the North West Floodlit League on October 15th, 1969. Club legend Jackie Swindells scored Alty’s goals that night.

Mellor was signed by manager Freddie Pye as part of a brief loan deal that also saw goalkeeper Ronnie Healey move from Maine Road. 

Spider was an amateur then and, shortly after, he was recalled by City and signed professional forms for the club.

Mellor made his City debut in a 1-1 draw with Coventry City in March 1971, and four days later, he scored in a European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final against Gornik Zabrze.

Ian died of amyloidosis, a disease that can affect elite male athletes in later life. His late City team-mate Colin Bell was also diagnosed with the illness.

*What a catch - Sheffield Wednesday manager and keen angler Jack Charlton with new signing Ian Mellor.

Ian earned his nickname because of his wiry frame. In fact, his lanky legs gave him such an inferiority complex as a teenager that he skipped school rather than play in representative matches when there would be a small crowd on the touchline.

He attended Sale Moor Secondary School, which boasted 10 of the 11 players in the Altrincham and Sale Schoolboys team in the mid-60s. Ian was a postman after leaving school.

In 1974, he was Brian Clough’s record signing at £40,000 for Brighton, though he never made an appearance for the controversial manager, who resigned to join Leeds United.

Some 10 years after his Alty appearance, Mellor led the Chester attack on the day a certain Ian Rush made his Football League debut for the Seals.

One of Ian Mellor’s last acts was to write his autobiography, to be released soon. All proceeds will go to charity and details will be announced in due course.

*This personal tribute was written and kindly submitted to us by a friend of Ian's, football journalist and author Andy Buckley.

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