A true football story.

by Maisie Walker

While cleaning out some old papers I came across a letter that I had received from the "OLD CODGERS"  ( remember them )  from the Daily Mirror some years ago in reply to a query.

To those who are not familiar with this newspaper they were a couple of men who would find the answers to most questions the public sent to them.  Hence the name  "OLD CODGERS"

To tell the story about this we go back over 27 years.  I was going every fortnight to London from the Midlands to help keep my parents clean and fed.  It was hard work trying to look after them and my own home apart from going to work at that time.

In 1978 I managed to get a British Legion flat for them about 15 minutes bus ride away from me.  As Dad was an old soldier from the first World War he was entitled to one.  I could not get them here quick enough away from Peckham in London and I was just hoping that they would settle down in their new abode.  This enabled me to get to see them at least four times a week and still be able to look after my own family.

My mother died in 1980 just three days after my parents 59th wedding anniversary but I was happy in the fact that she had settled down in the flat and had made some bingo friends.

My father was lost without her and used to watch his television quite a lot even though sometimes he very often was not aware of what was on because he had started suffering with epilepsy later on in life.

I never always got on with my mother and father like a good many more children with their parents but I had respect for them. My father was a strict disciplinarian who brought his sergeant major attitude home with him from the army.  This used to show by him running his fingers over the windowsills to see if they had been dusted or if anything was out of place.  I used to get very angry about this and a story is in my book that is on my website of something that happened one day when my father went too far.

Anyway to get back to the story.

It was just before Christmas 1981 when I had got my fathers groceries on the Saturday and was taking them to him for the weekend.

As I walked in my father was cursing at the football match that was in progess on the TV.  I started putting things away when I heard him say  "They play like a load of bloody fairies nowadays.  If they had played years ago the ball would have weighed a ton coming at them because it was all leather and we also had to wear big heavy boots to play in.  Just look at that mardy git rubbing his leg as though he has been bulldozed."

I pricked up my ears at the WE in his statement and I said  " Did you used to play football then Dad?"

He then told me that he played for Clapton Orient which later was renamed Leyton Orient as a semi -professional.  He started to reminisce and told me that Monty Garland- Wells the famous Surrey cricketer was the manager of the club because M.G.W was also an amateur soccer international.

I was fascinated listening to this because I had NO IDEA that my father had ever been connected in any way with football because he had walked with a limp ever since I was first born.  I just assumed that he had been injured during the war.

In fact whenever I saw John Thaw the brilliant actor on the TV I always thought of my father because he too threw his leg out sideways as he walked.

Dad went on to tell me that he was playing in a cup-tie against Everton and unfortunately he got into a tackle with Warney Cresswell and Warney being the biggest bloke of the two he fell on top of my father who had his leg broken in two places which never healed properly.  That was the end of my fathers career as a footballer.  He did say that Warney was one of the most decent chaps he ever met because he visited Dad in the hospital and took him some tobacco.  He said he was genuinely sorry for what happened.

This was in the days when big payouts were not heard of or over the top settlements.

They used to get 8 guineas for a cup match or equivalent to 8-40 in todays currency.  Dad said he got his 8 guinea cup tie fee for the match but that was it.

He was finished as a footballer.

As written by Maisie Walker,  2006.

RIYAN Productions