I am a lifelong football addict who also enjoys cricket. Born in Wilton near Salisbury I did not have the luxury of a home town league team. The nearest football league team was Southampton who I first saw in 1966. Once I had been to The Dell the buzz of going to a live match never left me. As well as watching Saints as often as I was allowed I also would go up to Victoria Park in Salisbury and watch the city’s team ply their trade in the Southern League.
At eighteen I left the Salisbury area to embark upon my teaching career. Teaching saw me move around the country and when I did I tended to watch the local league team wherever I was based. My career moves generally worked well football wise. I trained in Exeter and was lucky enough to watch the Grecian’s cup run to the FA Cup quarter finals; I got my first teaching post in Luton when manager David Pleat built a really strong team that held its own in the old first division; I then moved to North Wiltshire where Lou Macari, Ossie Ardiles and then Glenn Hoddle transformed Swindon Town’s fortunes; then to Southampton where I saw the best of Matt Le Tissier; and then back to Swindon.
By the time I returned to Swindon I found myself less impressed with league football. I had started to watch Swindon Supermarine in the Southern League and found I enjoyed watching them more. The reasons for this were many and varied. The club was friendly, access to the ground was easier, you could easily get a pint before the match and the football was frankly more entertaining than some of the dour matches I was paying four times as much to see at league level.
From the age of sixteen to my mid thirties I was a qualified referee. To be honest whilst I enjoyed refereeing I was never going to have the time to commit to it as I focused more on my teaching career. Additionally, I also enjoyed a pint too much to have acquired the fitness levels to have advanced up the refereeing hierarchy.
I am a member of the 92 Club having visited every Football League and Premiership league ground. In total I have visited over 150 league grounds as a result of either promotions and relegations from the league or new stadium builds. It is something I have really enjoyed doing.
My other sporting love is cricket. I am currently a member of Gloucestershire CCC and before that used to be a member at Hampshire. I tend to be a devotee of the four day game, can enjoy a 50 over match but tend to look at 20/20 as a bit too glitzy for my liking. Distinctly “old school” in that respect.