The very first match I reported on was at Bransbury Park when Tangier hosted Leigh Park United in a Premier Division encounter.
Both teams were well placed in the league. It turned out to be a highly entertaining game with Tangier getting the edge over their opponents. I am struggling to remember the score or scorers and I have checked around but to no avail. Why I know Tangier won was because the following week in the Sports Mail, the headline for my column read “The Park have their wings clipped”.
I went to Front Lawn the following day and was confronted by Peter Harding the Leigh Park United manager who I had known for years telling me he didn’t think much of my headlines. After explaining to him I only wrote the column, not the headlines he calmed down and accepted my explanation.
As I walked away I thought is this how it is going to be every week? Thankfully there was no Twitter or Facebook to make things even worse for me, but fortunately that was it and from then on I had no problems of any sort and went on to make many good friends throughout the years.
Going back to the two sides that day I remember John Rowsell was in goal for Tangier, John Threapleton was in defence with Phil Smith and Dave Shoesmith in midfield, other players I recall were Tony Rowe and Glen Triggs, not forgetting Frank Collis who was linesman for them.
In goal for Leigh Park United was David Rock who was also a very good cricketer. Two sets of brothers, Phil and Charlie Camfield and Richard and Steve Cade. They were backed up by Nicky Burden, Jim Scullion and Jimmy Farrell.
As time went on I got to discover how well run Leigh Park United was with John Carter as secretary, who was backed up by the managers and committee of the many teams they ran from Lads League all the way up to the Premier Division side.
On a sad note I would like to pay tribute to Brian Hughes who passed away in November last year. Brian was typical of the local sportsman, even refereeing into his late sixties. He started playing for McMurdo and then went on to managing them, winning the league three times along the way.
With McMurdo on a sound footing he decided to take up refereeing moving through the ranks to become a Class One official. He got on to the County list and officiated at many Finals both as a referee and linesman. As well as refereeing he found time to be a divisional secretary for the Portsmouth and District League also serving time as Chairman.
He was awarded a 50 year long service award from the Hampshire FA for services to football. I am sure many people will be sad to learn of his passing. A truly great servant to local football.