There might have been a slight chance of a chummy slap on the shoulders from Jimmy Frizzell or a quick photo shoot in the broom cupboard with a bic and a couple of sheets of strategically placed A4. If you were really unlucky you might get an immediate bit of elite coaching from the passing Stuart Pearce or even a state-of-the-moment racing tip from Alan Ball. You would do well not to try and engage Mel Machin in optimistic new season conversation, though.
Among the fans, there was no daily scramble to gather sense from the minutiae of the Gazzetto dello Sport's coverage of Torino's pay rebel centre forward or sweaty hours spent trying to get Google to produce a reliable translation of A Bola's tightly sprung rumour mill. The Daily Express would tell you in the morning: it would be either on or off.
It was a bright new phase for the club that would see Paul Sugrue, Dave Wiffill, John Ryan and a number of other luminaries arrive to help the smooth transition from erstwhile trophy candidates to rampaging relegation fodder.
There were near misses aplenty in the years that followed, as City's pulling powers diminished faster than Mr Halford's hairline. Even Middlesbrough's pocket dynamo Stan Cummins, not destined to achieve ever-lasting fame, but nevertheless an integral part of a deeply embarrassing game at Maine Road for newly promoted Sunderland in 1979, decided the lure of Crystal Palace too much to resist. This far City's stock had tumbled.
|Graham Baker gets the Bernard Halford Treatment.|
|Bargain signing Gordon Dalziel has to make do with Derek Parlane and a Tartan teddy bear, as Bernard is out shopping.|
|Derek Parlane gets the Jimmy Frizzell/Bernard Halford/bic/strategically placed A4 treatment: very nearly a full house.|
City make a big splash for John Deehan, Andy Dibble, Bryan Gayle, Wayne Biggins and Nigel Gleghorn. Be still, our beating hearts.
FAKE NEWS: Three that got away: Pat Jennings, Joe Jordan and Kevin Drinkell.
|Ben Thatcher offers his innocent face to the snappers as named shirts become a feature|