WHEN we were but bit bairns, nineteenhundred- andfood- rationing, you could still get Chix penny bubblegum from Bushby's shop, across the road from Timothy Hackworth Junior Mixed and Infants.

In truth, we were forever blowing bubbly, and not a Hammers fan among the lot of us.

The gum was pale pink, ponged fit to burst and wasn't the main attraction at all. The pretty pennyworth was the cards which came with it - famous footballers, two series of 24.

Stan Matthews was thus immortalised, of course, and Finney the Preston Plumber and Bert Trautmann, though it was for breaking his neck in the Cup final that the great German became even better remembered.

Ivor Broadis was number 46, which is not to say he was 46th but rather one among equals.

"Has probably been the subject of more transfers than any other player," said the biography beneath his inchoate image, but in those days they'd never heard of Budgie Burridge.

The boy from the bubblegum packet will be 85 next Tuesday, followed a distinguished playing career with 45 years in the press box, reckons himself the fourth oldest former England international still alive.

Bert Williams, perhaps the first goalkeeper to be nicknamed The Cat, will be 88 next month. Tom Finney himself and Gil Merrick, another goalkeeper, were born earlier in 1922.

Ivor - £12 a week with Sunderland and with Newcastle United, £25 a match with England - regards the modern game with almost imperceptible acceptance.

"People say the money's obscene, but I don't begrudge them it.

"The only people I object to are the agents. When I was playing, the only agent was Dick Tracey."

The balance of power has changed, too. "The clubs had the power and the chairmen used it as a weapon. We were employees with a contract that expired every June 30 and they never let us forget it. Now it's the players who have the power, and if there's all this money from Sky that's not a bad thing."

He remains the Football League's youngest ever player/manager -Trimdon lad Paul Ward may be next - the first to transfer himself, and the first Englishman to score twice in a game in the World Cup finals.

Though a native east Londoner and with enduring accent to underline it, he has spent almost all his adult life in Carlisle, has lived in the same semi since 1955, driven the same car for 16 years and still clocked just 64,000 miles.

"Until after the war I'd never been so far north in my life, I thought I'd need a dog team to get up here," recalls Ivor, whose wife died 13 years ago.

"The pace of life is just so much slower here. Even in 1946, it was all hurry and scurry in London."

He still plays golf twice a week, bowls on Mondays, has a supportive son and daughter nearby.

For the first time since the war, however, he hasn't once seen Carlisle United play this season . . .

IVAN Arthur Broadis was born on the Isle of Dogs, became a wartime RAF navigator, completed 500 flying hours on Wellingtons and Lancasters but was never on a bombing mission.

He vividly recalls, however, how they were in Italy when news of the Japanese surrender arrived. "Next day we flew hundreds of troops back to England, some of whom hadn't had leave for five years.

"I was navigator, so I kept passing round notes telling them where we were. It was very emotional when we came over the white cliffs of Dover and you could see all the bonfires down below. I have very fond memories of that."

During the war he'd guested as an amateur for Man United, and for Tottenham in the London League.

"Things were so different. I remember the Spurs secretary, a dour Scotsman, telling me one week that my expenses would be half-a-crown short because I'd been overpaid by that much the week previously.

He said he didn't want me being a professional for 2/6d."

It was also at White Hart Lane that someone misread his signature on a form. "Ivan"

became Ivor, and stuck.

Truces signed, he was posted to Crosby-on-Eden, near Carlisle, where United heard of the high-flyer's proximity and, when he was just 23, offered him the player/manager's position.

"I'd not played Football League but I'd played with good players and talked to good players. I believed I was qualified and I could tell the workers from the shirkers, the ones who were just playing out their time," he says and immediately moved to buy Jackie Connor, a centre forward from Ipswich Town.

"Scott Duncan, the Ipswich manager, said he'd cost £300 so I told Scott to give him his boots and put him on a train.

When I told the chairman he asked me who was paying the £300, because he wasn't. I said I'd be out of the door if he didn't." Connor came.

Further illuminating the Brunton Park budget, he'd also asked the directors to put a lamp on top of the stand.

"We'd quite a few part-time players who trained Tuesday and Thursday nights, a lot of it running round the ash track in the dark.

"I thought someone was going to break his leg.

"There were 12 directors, all what you might call very elderly, and one said it would cost them a fortune in smashed light bulbs because the players would all want to hit it.

"I told him I spent all my time trying to get them to hit an area eight yards by eight feet. If they could hit a light bulb, we'd sell them for thousands."

The chairman was an old Carlisle publican called Billy Blythe. Good journalist, he still spells out the surname.

Ivor joined Sunderland in 1949, the fee said to have been £18,000, though he's wary of the line about the manager transferring himself.

"Four clubs were interested but only Bill Murray, the Sunderland manager, came to see me.

"That's why I joined and in some ways they were the best club I ever played for, but it was the board which agreed the fee."

Alongside the likes of Len Shackleton and Trevor Ford, he scored 27 goals in 84 appearances before moving to Manchester City for a reputed £25,000, won his first England cap and wrote his first column, for the Manchester Evening News.

"Tom Henry, the editor, offered me five guineas a time which was very good in those days.

"After the first column he increased it to six guineas, I still have the letter."

The first cap had been equally unexpected. "We hadn't a phone and we were at home one morning in Carlisle when a policeman came to the door to tell me Stan Mortensen had been injured, I'd been picked against Austria on the Wednesday and to report to Hendon Hall.

"I still see the policeman, John Brown they call him, around Carlisle. He reminds me about it every time."

When subsequently he moved to Newcastle, black and white and redolent all over, the team already included the imposing likes of Bobby Mitchell, Len White, Frank Brennan and Ivor Allchurch.

And still they underachieved?

"No we didn't. We were certainly a lot better than the side they have today."

He returned to Carlisle, joined Queen of the South, was 39 when offered full-time terms by Hearts but - "even the referees were beating me for pace" - decided that his future lay in the inky trade.

As with being player/manager of Carlisle United, he had no formal qualifications. "I'd played good football, written my columns, had a good schooling in London.

"Now they'll employ anyone to cover football. They call them journalists, but it's just cheap labour."

For 18 years he worked on the sports desk of one or other of the Newcastle papers until someone suggested he should live east of the Pennines. "I'd never moved for football," he says. "I certainly wasn't going to for journalism."

INSTEAD he joined his son Mike, already an established freelance, covering Carlisle United and, latterly, Gretna.

Dignified, decent, but distinctly of the old school - "My daughter understands the Internet, I don't" - he was stopped outside Hampden Park when heading towards Gretna's Scottish Cup semi-final for being in possession of an offensive weapon, viz a vacuum flask. He'd four ham sandwiches, too.

"Someone passing told the polis that I'd played at Hampden, against Scotland. He let me in on condition that I didn't drink the tea."

This season, however, he's stayed away from Carlisle. Nor will he be there when a book called Cult Heroes of Carlisle United is launched this weekend, though the names of Broadis, Hughie McIlmoyle and Stan Bowles are on the posters.

"The club have never even asked me," he insists.

There's also a bit of a story to that, of course, but as so often happens when dog meets dog, there's a request to remain off the record and there'll be no backbiting here.

Instead he plays his golf - "I really feel it the next day, it's the legs, you know" - enjoys the clubhouse, watches his football on television.

The house is comfortable, a bit old-fashioned, few mementoes of a celebrated career.

The front room has a little trophy cabinet ("mostly golf"), his ironing board ("mostly golf") and an overflowing table, which is his office.

For his 85th birthday he'll enjoy a family meal, a glass of something, a little reflection.

"I really haven't any regrets.

I'm just glad I discovered Carlisle."