Private Bone (alias Ted Lune) reveals: how I won t’cup for Bolton

The Army Game welcomes a new member of the troop

Autumn leaves are falling in the sleepy little backwoods village of Nether Hopping. Just down the main street, turn right, turn left, left, right … and you’re there, at that vital cog in the British military machine — the Nether Hopping surplus ordnance depot.

The Army Game troops report back for duty this week.

Most of the regulars will be on parade: Sergeant-Major Snudge (Bill Fraser), Corporal Springer (Michael Medwin), “Cupcake” Cook (Norman Rossington) and “Excused Boots” (Alfie Bass).

But two newcomers are on the postings-in list on the guardroom notice board: A new CO, Major Geoffrey Gervaise Duckworth (C. B. Poultney), still living out his Army life as a cavalry subaltern, and Private BONE (Ted Lune) …

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From the TVTimes for week commencing 14 September 1958

A TOP-SECRET signal was flashed from Whitehall to the Commanding Officer, Nether Hopping: “Am posting Private Bone to you forthwith. Documents revealing him to be a psychopathic scrounger and pathological liar to follow.”

I intercepted that short-wave message … and immediately chartered a helicopter to fly me to Nether Hopping to get Bone’s story.

Lancashire-born Bone is a brilliant old campaigner and strategist who has fought his way — single-handed — out of NAAFI queues all over the world. He is also an internationally-known authority on the game — he would call it The Art — of football.

Bone revealed to me a shattering now-it-can-be-told story that will shake Britain — the true story of how Bolton Wanderers really won the FA Cup last season.

Over to Private Bone, alias comedian Ted Lune …

“Ask any football fan who led t’Wanderers to victory in t’Cup game last season, and he’ll tell you: ‘Nat Lofthouse.’

“And he’ll be wrong. It wasn’t Nat at all.


“Only the 11 men of Bolton Wanderers knew the truth until today. Now I can reveal it.

“It was me that led t’Wanderers on to the Wembley turf that historic Saturday in May, 1958.

“And this is how it happened … The Friday night before t’Final. I got a telegram from me Mam in Bolton.

“My hand shook as I tore it open. Perhaps she’d wangled me a Cup Final ticket after all. But, no. It was this message:

“‘Coome ome, lad, T’Wanderers need thee.’

“I knew what was expected of me. It had happened just this way before. Somebody had dropped out of the team at the last minute.

“A panic-stations conference in the plush Bolton board-room and the decision was made. Send for Bone.

“I talked it over with the lads in the billet. Should I go? I’d nothing else on that day. And it was a great chance.

“I’d played plenty of League games when they’d been short of first-team payers. But this — The Football Match of The Year.

“‘Take it, Bone,’ said the lads. ‘We’ll be cheering for you.’

“So I went home and collected my things. No 9 shirt … size 10 boots.

“Thousands of folk in that packed Wembley Stadium never guessed, millions of viewers watching on TV couldn’t have known—that the chap who went to Bolton Wanderers’ rescue in their Hour of Need was ME.

“For the first time, pictures tell the true story …”

Before I wrote this amazing story, I sought the approval of the highest-up brass-hats I could find in Whitehall.

This is their report: “Our records show that on May 3, 1958, the day of the FA Cup Final at Wembley, Private Bone was under close arrest in his unit’s guardroom.

“He was awaiting court martial, accused of being absent without leave the weekend before.

“Military Police picked him up in Bolton — trying to sell five-shilling Cup Final tickets at black market prices.”

Footnote: The Bolton Wanderers players who co-operated in this TV TIMES reconstruction of Bone’s story were: Nat Lofthouse, Roy Hartle, Ray Parry, Dennis Stevens, Brian Edwards, Tommy Banks, John Higgins and Eddie Hopkinson.


Pictures of five of the stars of The Army Game

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