Tough Locks Heath…Imperial Rise To Top

Locks Heath were the most westerly of the Portsmouth & District sides – being right on the border with Southampton, whose league they were to later join. 

They had been members of the Portsmouth League for many seasons. I remember playing against them in the 50s at Havant Park. They were always a tough side to play against, with many fine players.

I was always very grateful to to their secretary Brian Cosgrove for letting me use his home telephone to ring through my half-time match report. There was not a phone box near the ground and mobile phones were still many years away!

Another club man was Mike Easton, who without fail every weekend would ring through match reports win or lose. They were going great guns on the field at one time but were rocked by the death at an early age of their manager Tony Higman.

A very respected figure in local football who had brought a professional approach to their play. He had recruited good players,  such as Dave Pitt – a no-nonsense defender.

The midfield had Stuart Harbour and Chris Amos. What a player he was! He would totally control the midfield and played for the Hampshire Rep side on numerous occasions.

Barry Knight was a cultured full back. Up front Kevin Warren, Jim Clarke and Mick Beattie were always among the goals. The latter scoring the winner when they beat Paulsgrove 2-1 after extra time in the Victory Cup Final. Steve Goodenough was a competent keeper, while another key player was Martin Brightman – mentioned on my last column for his time with Crofton Rangers.


He was a key part of the midfield with Amos and Harbour. The list of names I can still remember include Steve Barnes, Kevin Parris, Micky Gisbourne and Bob Stanley. I am pleased to see Locks Heath are still going strong as a club and have gone on to improve their facilities and a higher standard of football.

Imperial were a club that for a long time were down in the lower divisions of the league. Reg and Charlie Dean ran the club when their playing days had finished.

And with a lot of hard work and good players joining them they worked their way up through the divisions to eventually achieve Premier status. The arrival of the vastly experienced Steve Brown was the signal for the upturn.

John Driscoll, Phil and Dave Ray, Graham Figgins together with the arrival of Kieron O’ Donovan from Ventora who added non stop displays from midfield, augmented by players like youngster Jamie Dean, Mick Doran and Aubrey Ford who had been between the sticks for a number of seasons.

Micky Upson and Geoff Garner were a fitting reward for the Dean Brothers who had worked so hard over the years to achieve this success.


I must say Imperial were always such a sporting side to watch and their record over the years was always exemplary.



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