BOB PAISLEY was born in a pit terrace in Hetton-le-Hole 100 years ago last Wednesday. Liverpool pushed the commemorative boat out, ferry across the Mersey. Save for a mayoral mention before the town council meeting, Hetton did nothing.

Reckoned the most successful manager in English football history – and a truly lovely man – Paisley was still a brickie when in Bishop Auckland’s 1939 FA Amateur Cup winning side, so highly regarded at Kingsway that they’d send a Rolls Royce taxi to collect him.

Signed immediately afterwards by Liverpool but claimed subsequently by the Desert Rats, his success rate in nine years as manager even eclipsed Bill Shankly’s.

A Paisley-related day on the club’s television channel included programmes like “Paisley: the greatest” and “Paisley: tribute to a genius". Before the Anfield match against Wolves on January 19, home fans formed a “Paisley 100” mosaic.

Speakers at a tribute evening on Thursday included former players Jimmy Case, Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy, born a few miles away at Penshaw, whose mum worked in the Hetton fish shop to which Bob would return on home visits.

Wouldn’t it be lovely, she’d tell him, if their Alan could play for him one day. Sadly, she didn’t live to see it.

We’ve not been able to get hold of Kennedy, the man the Kop called Barney Rubble, but a few years ago he told the column why his relationship with the manager had been so special.

“I was the only person in the dressing room who understood a word he said.”

HUGH McILVANNEY, the exalted sports journalist who died last week, well understood Bob Paisley, too. “The profundities were often passed on obliquely, in muttered, unfinished asides in the idiom and accent of those North-East coalfields,” he wrote. “but the substance was unmistakeable. “Bob was unalterably humble but anyone who did not feel humble in his presence was no judge of a man.”

RETIRED Darlington newsagent Alan Cooper recalls McIlvanney, then writing for The Observer, turning up for the Darlington v Arsenal FA Cup third round tie on January 9 1965, 19,717 shoehorned into Feethams.

The Gunners won 2-0. “Quite comfortable, really,” says Alan, “the match dominated by the two Georges, Armstrong and Eastham, wonderful players both of them.”

And Hugh McIlvanney? “Brilliant writer, no doubt about it, but like all of them, biased towards the big boys down south.” McIlvanney was from Kilmarnock.

ON September 1 last year we revealed that Sir Ian Botham’s 11-bedroom, Grade II listed house in Ravensworth, between Richmond and the A66, was for sale for £2.3m.

Last week the Daily Mail ran a piece about how a difficult market – “Britain’s worst housing slump for 20 years” – was affecting the fortunes of the famous.

Roy Keane’s pad has been reduced from £9.5m to £6.45m, Rio Ferdinand’s from £4.5m to £3m and Noel Gallagher’s from £11.5m to £8.95m.

We checked on Park House, Ravensworth, home to the Botham family for almost 30 years. “This property is no longer on the market,” says the agent’s website – presumably not the same as saying it’s been sold.

Sir Ian may be not out after all.

STILL with English cricketers, Don Clarke spots on the ECB Twitter feed Steve Harmison’s observations after presenting Ben Stokes with his 50th cap last week.

Harmison recalled being told by Durham director of cricket Geoff Cook about the chubby, cheeky kid from Cumbria who might be the next special one.

Then he saw young Stokes in the nets and at once rang his mate Freddie Flintoff. “Where were you in New Zealand 17 years ago. There’s a 16-year-old kid in the corner of our dressing room in a manky shirt and picking his nose.

“He’s just bowled for an hour with no socks on and then been hitting the ball with tremendous power.”

Ben Stokes was born in Christchurch, New Zealand.

FRATERNALLY but anonymously annotated, the column two weeks ago on former Newton Aycliffe police inspector Gordon Bacon OBE has been returned whence it came.

Gordon, now leading a cricket tour in the Caribbean, had been awarded an honorary MAS by Durham University after many years humanitarian relief work around the world. Prof John Williams, we reported, termed his a “global citizen.”

The returned cutting advises that, on the same day, both Global Citizen and Global Wonder won their respective races at 3-1 – a 15-1 double and about the odds on an England victory.

LAST week’s column noted Stanhope Town’s 29-0 win over Red Well Rangers of Barnard Castle, wondered if a North-East football match had ever ended more decisively.

It had, and just a few months earlier – Jarrow Reserves had a 30-1 defeat at Sunderland Town End in the Wearside League development division last September. The week previously they’d lost 24-0 to the same side.

John Topping, who’s chairman of Jarrow FC – “chairman through marriage,” he says – reckons the youngsters continue to hold heads high. Last week they only lost 10-2.

EN route to the station from Durham FA, we look in on former Darlington FC chairman and celebrity safe-breaker George Reynolds. Now running an e-cig business in Chester-le-Street. Still wearing his magic hat, he’s surrounded by leaflets promoting everything from the JWs to Christmas parties at Sunderland dogs. The lad’s now 83 and recovered from his recent scary car crash. No news yet, but you know what they say about no smoke. George has plans….

….and finally

The US sports team formed in Chicago in 1926 and originally known as the Savoy Big Five – last week’s column – were the Harlem Globetrotters. Eric Smallwood in Middlesbrough was first with the answer.

Terry Simpson in Darlington today asks after how many points the serve changes in a game of table tennis. Eric will likely know that one, too – for the rest, normal service resumes next week.