G: Gold - Gordienko
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Radcliffe's Mickey Gold's first contact with professional wrestling, we were once told, was when he was just five years old. That was just after the war and mum and dad took their young son along to the Belle Vue stadium to watch the likes of Jack Pye, Man Mountain Benny and Bert Assirati. Fifteen years later he was stepping into the ring himself. Mickey took up weight lifting and trained at the Manchester YMCA where he met a number of young wrestlers who encouraged him to learn a few moves.
Those few moves increased until Mickey made up his mind that he too wanted to be a professional wrestler. In 1961 he turned professional, initially for the independent promoters, and could be seen throughout the north and midlands swapping holds with established matmen such as Billy Graham, Fred Woolley, and Pete Lindberg. In March, 1962 he had gained enough experience to be signed up by Arthur Wright to work for Wryton Promotions and the other Joint Promotions members. He made his television debut in June, 1964, losing to Alan Dennison. Mickey Gold was to remain a northern favourite for the best part of two decades, and we note that he had the distinction of being the last opponent for Ivan Penzecoff in November, 1978. Mickey Gold passed away on 1st April, 2010.
At the time of his death Eddie Rose told Wrestling Heritage:
"I've known Micky Gold for overt 40 years and worked with him on many occasions. We are both Mancunians and became good friends during our wrestling careers.
Jack Cassidy (as only Cassidy could) used to bill me as "The Jewish Lightweight Champion" for years. Not only was I not Jewish but also a long way off being a lightweight (always over 13 stone). This, however, brought me in to contact with Micky more often as we were frequently billed as the Jewish Tag Team Champions. Micky always said "Leave all the talking to me!" whenever we worked on a Jewish charity show.
He ran the Lord Lyon on Claremont Road in Moss Side, perhaps the nearest pub to Manchester City's old ground at Maine Road and only a cock's-stride from Roy St Clair at the Welcome on the other side of Wilmslow Road. Good beer and good people at the Lord Lyon. Ian 'Mad Dog' Wilson, Mark Wayne, Roy Fortuna and me used to pop in quite often for a Sunday lunchtime pint and a gossip with the landlord.
There was always a self-mocking smile on Micky's face and he always gently "took the Micky", too. I saw him last at one of the Ellesmere Port Reunions and he hadn't changed since the mid-60s at venues around the North West. Used to vie with me for being the oldest working wrestler but he knew he was older than me despite the Grecian 2000!
He was a great talker (Three Bouts Micky he was dubbed by colleagues) but an interesting and amusing one all the same. Good to work with, too. Very experienced and more skillful than often given credit for.
I know he enjoyed his retirement in Spain and It's sad that you've gone, mate. You enriched my time in wrestling."
Golden Ace (Leeds)
The Golden Ace remembered by most readers is Wigan's John Naylor, a splendid wrestler and one of the country's finest in the 1970s and 1980s. But we all know that little in life is new, and the name Golden Ace certainly wasn't an original. We were reminded of this by Heritage member Peter. He told us of an article he had read, written by another Heritage member, John Lister, in the Fighting Spirit magazine. John reported an incident in Harrogate when John Naylor was approached by a man claiming to be the original Golden Ace.
This got Ron Historyo into gear, and he discovered that this original Golden Ace was Laurence Arthur Chappell, with a date of birth registered as December, 1898. He was the son of John Richard Chappell, a councillor in Leeds and owner of a sizeable painting and decorating firm. Eventually Laurence took over the family business.
Prior to wrestling Laurence was a physical culturalist and winner of many championships, including the Curl record for the British Amateur Weight Lifting Association.
We first come across Golden Ace in a contest at Leith, reported in the Motherwell Times of the 29th May, 1936. It was reported that Golden Ace "Had a refined Eastern face and seemed very much out of place in this game." The eastern look came from Leeds and, out of place or not, the Golden Ace defeated Strip Tracey by two falls to nil. By 1938 he is described as "One of the best developed men in the ring," Opponents in the years to follow included The Red Devil, Jack Pye, Francis Gregory and Whipper Watson. We have found reports of the Golden Ace defeating Francis Cregory, Rex Gable, Vic Hessle and Charlie Green; indications that here was a man of some distinction.
Golden Ace Laurence Chappell disappears from our wrestling radar in February 1946. We are pleased to grant him his place in wrestling history that he felt he was being denied the night he confronted John Naylor.
A birth name of Norman Johnson was not in the spirit of All-In wrestling, hence the entrance of The Golden Hawk. A one time member of the Royal Air Force Norman, sorry Golden Hawk, was known as “The Gentleman Grappler,” and a regular participant of the 1930s wrestling scene from 1930 until an abrupt disappearance in 1937. Wrestling was not his only interest, Norman having played rugby and played for the R.A.F. Away from wrestling and rugby his interests included sculptor, at which he gained some recognition.
Born in Liverpool, later based in Oxford, he had a reputation as an outstanding wrestler, with his speciality Hawk Hold, and wins over top notch opponents such as Norman the Butcher, King Curtis, Dave Armstrong and Sam Rabin, and more than once challenged for the British heavyweight championship. There were certainly defeats, but these were against only the best of opponents: Atholl Oakeley, Karl Pojello, Bill Garnon, and the like.
Something of a rarity in the 1930s, a Masked Wrestler. The Golden Phantom wore a matching gold mask and tights, with a gold dressing gown just to add to the effect. His speciality move was a debilitating headlock applied with sufficient force for his opponent to collapse to the mat for the count. The name was revived by independent promoters in the 1970s
George Goldie (Also known as George Gould, Count Royle)
George Gould was born on 16th August, 1920 in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. He was born into a mining family, with both his father and grandfather being coal miners. We have no knowledge of George following in his father’s footsteps, or if he did it was for only a short time as by nineteen years of age he was working a lathe in a factory.
George took up wrestling in his teens. We came across him in three matches at Chester in the winter of 1939, his friend Bill Ogden also on each of those bills. In wrestling circles George was known as one of the “Hanley lads,” four friends who could often be seen working together, Bill Ogden, John Hall, Jack Santos and George.
The four friends would travel in Bill’s van, working all over the place for the independent promoters. George travelled and wrestled for more than twenty years, our last recorded match being in 1965, when he was forty five years old.
Admittedly not one of the biggest names in wrestling George did work at some of the biggest halls, like the Belle Vue, Manchester, against some of the biggest names that included George Kidd, Jack Dempsey and Tommy Mann. He earned himself a reputation amongst colleagues as a very hard man to wrestle. At times he pulled on a mask and wrestled as Count Royle.
During the war George got married, in 1941, and was called up to serve with the legendary Chindits, the British India 'Special Force' that served in Burma and India during 1943 and 1944
George Gould died on 30th April, 2003.
Here at Wrestling Heritage Roy Goodall is more of a mystery than any masked wrestler. He appeared on the scene in 1969, a youthful welterweight working in northern England for Morrell Beresford. Dave Barrie was a regular opponent. Was there a Les Kellett link we wonder? More experienced men Mick McMichael, Ian Gilmore, Alan Bardouille, and Peter Preston were sometimes in the opposite corner. Was Roy a fall-guy for the promising young Dave Barrie? Surely Barrie wasn't experienced enough to “carry” another novice; and in any case Goodall seemed more than capable of looking after himself. Disappeared less than two years after coming to our notice. So many questions. Such a short wrestling life. We would like to learn more.
Butcher Goodman (Also known as Arthur Betton)
We remember Butcher Goodman as a first rate wrestler with a pleasing style able to adopt a harder edge when facing the really popular youngsters like Johnny Saint, Ian St John and Earl McCready. We though, are mere fans.
Talk to the wrestlers who worked with him and you will hear a different story.
They will tell you that this Barnsley middleweight was a “wrestler’s wrestler.” That’s not a title easily bestowed, but we have been assured that it is one that is thoroughly deserved. Without Butcher, we were told by those who know, there would have been quite a few better known names who would not have made it to the top. Both inside and outside of the ring Butcher was a kind and generous man. He was one of those professionals who would give everything to make sure that his opponent, whatever his shortcomings looked really good. For Butcher it was all about entertaining the fans, and if that meant taking second place then so be it. That philosophy came, no doubt, from Butcher’s mentor, Charlie Glover, who always taught his protégés at the Junction Gymnasium that they must put the fans first. “We had some marvellous matches,” Pedro the Gypsy told us. Others have told us Butcher was a man with time for everyone, and particularly of the immense patience he had for newcomers to the business, taking the time to advise and encourage them.
Butcher turned to professional wrestling in the 1950s, and it was a career destined to last thirty years. During that time he wrestled throughout the country, mainly on the independent circuit, yet still meeting wrestling greats such as Johnny Saint, Jack Taylor, Billy Red Cloud, Gorilla Reg Ray and Eric Sands. He often travelled around the country working with the other Barnsley lads Dwight J Ingleburgh, Pedro and Karl Von Kramer. Notable tag partners included Reg Ray and Karl Von Kramer, billed collectively as The Toffs. Butcher continued wrestling well into the 1980s, with our last recorded bout for him in October, 1983. He may not be the most readily remembered of our past stars, but he id definitely a wrestler whose memory should be treasured.
Terry Goodrum (Also known as Sandor Kovacs, Billy Red Lyons)
Norfolk's Terry Goodrum came onto the wrestling scene in the 1970s, and by all accounts those in his presence certainly knew about it, because this man had the tactics to enrage the fans. Goodrum went by various names including Sandor Kovacs and Don Kovacs. Terry was also a promoter during the 1980s.
Doncaster Rugby League prop forward George Goodyear wrestled professionally for the independent promoters in the 1960s.
The powerful Canadian, born in Winnipeg in 1928, was one of the most highly respected wrestlers in the world. On both sides of the Atlantic he was renowned for skill, strength and athletic ability. An orthodox wrestler without any frills, George is now acknowledged as one of the finest modern day heavyweights to grace British rings. He lived in Britain for a few years in the 1960s, and travelled all around the world to wrestle. Although there was nothing in his performance to suggest it, there was always a suspicion that Gordienko considered wrestling to be a mere means to engage in his first love, which was an appreciation of the art, particularly painting. That was why he moved from Canada to Italy, and is the reason often cited for the man failing to stay in any one place long enough to achieve long term success. He travelled the world throughout his long career, seeking out galleries and find new subjects to paint himself. He was an artist of some renown, and his work was often featured in exhibitions around the world. When asked about his ambitions the answer always lay outside the world of wrestling and was to become an established and successful name in the world of art.
George Gordienko died on 14th May, 2002, aged 74.