Overall, it must be said, the football team at the High School since 1968 has not really had a great deal of success. The exception to this, though, was the 1980-1981 season which was easily the most successful of the modern era. By the time the School Magazine, the Nottinghamian, was published, the team were undefeated in twelve matches. This record was extended to the very last game of the season which was a most unfortunate defeat at home by High Pavement Second XI who managed to score two goals without reply.
Here is the team photograph:
(back row) Dr.D.A.Slack, Norman Garden, Robert Crisp, Richard Mousley, Jon Bullock, Simon Derrick, John Ellis
(front row) Rob Persey, Raich Growdridge, Chris Peers, Neil McLachlan, Nick Cope, Chris Ingle
The team’s goalkeeper was Richard Mousley, whom the school magazine described as “reliable, agile, and when needed, very courageous.”
They continued with the rest of the team:
In defence Richard Townsend was the left full back, replaced occasionally by Norman Garden. Both of them were deemed to be “consistently good players, and very determined in the tackle.” On the opposite side as right full back was Nick Cope, equally determined, and occasionally over-enthusiastic in the tackle:
Alas, Richard Townsend did not attend the team photograph on that coldish but fairly bright day in the Summer Term of 1981.
The central defenders included Raich Growdridge who was both team captain and sweeper. Raich was very skilful, with total commitment and a tenacious tackle. He was always capable of lifting the side when things were going against them. Raich had a trial with Derby County’s A team during the Spring Term, and is believed to have played perhaps three games for them. I was told by the Derby coach that had he not been over 18 years of age, they would have signed him for the club:
The other central defender was Jon Bullock who was extremely commanding in defence and particularly useful when attacking at corners. He actually scored a hat-trick at Bilborough, an extremely unusual feat for a defender:
In midfield, Tim Little was hard working and consistent. He also scored some very useful and well taken goals when he moved into a more attacking role:
Rob Persey was a tireless player, and a very determined tackler who possessed a great deal of skill when coming forward into attack. He was not the strongest defensive player, however:
John Ellis played on the right, and scored a number of remarkable, even unbelievable goals, from between fifteen and thirty yards out:
Chris Peers was a fine left footed player, who could dribble well past a succession of opponents. He was a particularly skilful taker of corner kicks:
Among the forwards, Simon Derrick was perhaps rather small, but very aggressive as a centre forward, with a lot of skill on the ground:
Chris Ingle was an excellent finisher, with tremendous pace. In the author’s humble opinion, he was the fastest High School forward of the modern era, with the possible exception of Leo Fisher. Chris scored nine goals in the season, with a hat-trick against St Hugh’s College, in Tollerton:
Other players to have figured in the squad included Neil McLachlan, who occasionally lacked total commitment, but had sufficient skill to play well as a replacement both in defence, midfield or attack. A veritable “Jack of All Positions”, the Nottinghamian called him and a valuable asset to the group!
Robert Crisp, universally known as “Bert” was a skilful midfielder, who never let the side down when called upon:
Both Ken Blecher and Chris Turner also played in the team:
Overall, the side played seventeen games and won eleven of them. Five games were drawn, and there was a single defeat, by 0-2, in controversial circumstances, if I remember correctly, against High Pavement 2nd XI. It is interesting to notice how many of these schools no longer exist nowadays, thirty four years later. The team’s victories came over Brunts of Mansfield (twice), Becket(twice), Bluecoat(twice), Forest Fields 2nd XI (twice), High Pavement 2nd XI, Bramcote, Bilborough and St Hugh’s College in Tollerton. Drawn games came against Bilborough, West Bridgford, Bramcote and twice against Trent Polytechnic.
The team’s goals were scored by Ingle 9, Ellis 8, Derrick 6, Bullock 3, Little 2, Persey 2, McLachlan 1 and two own goals.
The football report in the Nottinghamian paid the fullest tribute, and rightly so, to the endless support given to High School football by Tony Slack, who was retiring at the end of this splendid season:
He in turn generously praised the team’s achievements, despite the limitations of selecting a team from a very small number of players. Set against this, however, was the players’ commitment to the game, their willingness to work for each other, and their high level of team work, which, on many occasions, enabled them to defeat opponents who were, technically, far more skilled than they.
Nowadays, these young men will be in their early fifties. It would be interesting to find out where any of them are now, perhaps with a message in the “Comments” section?