Blast From The Past - 1967
Jumpers for goalposts? Small boys in the park? Not exactly, but Optimistic Owl tells it like it used to be...
It was 1966/1967 when a guy I knew only slightly approached me and asked me if I could get a side together to give his side a game on the following Sunday morning. I was certain that I could arrange this so I said yes but on checking his side out I found that it contained some cracking players. I suddenly devised a cunning plan: there were no professional games that week, probably home internationals but I wasn't certain.
Undaunted, I decided to do my recruiting in the Heart Beat club on Queens Road. The Heart Beat is where a lot of professional footballers went to and I knew some of them pretty well. First to be approached was Neil Warnock (!) who was a Chesterfield reserve at the time: he agreed to play and said that he would bring Pete Hollis (the Chesterfield reserve keeper) with him.
Two down, not bad for a start. In walked Ken Burton, who eventually succeeded Don Megson as the SWFC right back. As I had hoped, Ken agreed to play and said that he would ask around amongst the Wednesday lads. He came back in a few minutes with promises from Jack Witham and Ian Branfoot: Jack went on to play for Liverpool and Swansea and Ian ended up as the Southampton manager.
I thought that I had done pretty well but then spotted Fred McCalliog, a Wednesday reserve (the younger brother of Jim, the Wednesday and Scotland striker) who also agreed to play. Not wishing to push my luck too far I decided that six professionals might just be enough to give us the cutting edge. All I needed was four of my mates and of course myself and it was game on.
Well, all I can remember of the game is that we absolutely hammered the opposition.
Can you imagine attempting to get professionals to turn out in a parks match on a Sunday morning these days?