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Football in Walkern 50 years ago

by janet on 9 December 2012 · 0 comments

Football in Walkern 50 years ago

An article by David Adams that first appeared in the April 2009 issue of the Walkern Journal

I was most interested in the article by Lloyd Briscoe on Football in Walkern 100 years ago. In particular the fact that the team consisted of Walkern residents in the main. Nothing much had altered in 50 years as the Walkern team of 1951 still consisted of eight players from the village. Interestingly in that year there were two brothers playing. They were Vic Swain in goal and younger brother Don who played in the half back line.

By the following season a very young Terry Waldock, around 14 years of age I recall, had joined his elder brother Brian in the team. Terry was a talented player who had a trial with Tottenham Hotspur and later starred in the Hitchin team. Robin Waldock, father of Brian, Terry and Phillip, ran the team in conjunction with Jack Swain father of Vic and Don.

A couple of seasons later Brian Waldock left to do his National Service and he was replaced by another brother, Philip Waldock. So for a number of seasons there were two sets of brothers in the team.

Sid Whitehead who retired from football sometime in his late forties, always played wearing his spectacles taped to his head. Not bad for a man who played in a full back position in the days when a heavy leather ball was used. Sid never ducked heading the ball either. Later his son Nick was to join the team continuing the family involvement.

Another character was “Noah” North, I never did know his real Christian name, perhaps it really was Noah. I always understood that he was so called because he had an opinion on about everything. Noah was a coal deliveryman and always had a crew cut hair style due to the fact he had to wash it every day after work to rid it of the coal dust. Noah North and Freddie Chambers lived in Stevenage and Gerald Graves lived on a farm half way between Walkern and Stevenage. A farm long gone, lost in the expansion of Stevenage. Sadly the only surviving members of that 1951 team photo, are Malcolm Hancock, Brian Waldock, Don Swain and me.

Finally, should anyone ask, the Adams who played in the 2-0 victory over Buntingford on January 13th 1900 was no relation to myself.

Walkern Football Team, 1950s. David Adams is front row, far left

1951 Walkern Football Team

Walkern Football Team 1951. From top left: Norman Sheppard, “Noah” North, Vic Swain, Peter Clark, Sid Whitehead, Freddie Chambers. Kneeling: Malcolm Hancock, Brian Waldock, Don Swain, Gerald Graves and David Adams

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