Tag Archives: Norman Garden

High School Football Team achieves Perfection on the Forest

Wednesday, January 21st 1981

On a dull, dreary, drizzly day in winter, the author stood with the football team coach, Tony Slack, watching the First XI play a well contested match against High Pavement 2nd XI. We were on the Forest, at the side of a pitch which has now been partially covered by the all-weather facilities. Look for that orange arrow:

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Suddenly, eighteen year old Norman Garden, his sleeves rolled up in determined fashion, won the ball with a strong, vigorous tackle at the edge of his own penalty area:

NORMAN GARDENxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

He came forward with the ball at his feet and set off thoughtfully towards the opposition goal. Looking up, he sent a long, curving, arcing pass out to young Bert Crisp on the left wing. Bert trapped the ball, then ran forward ten yards or so, and looked across at the attacking possibilities:

BERT CRISP the one
Five yards outside the penalty area stood Chris Ingle, the team’s centre forward. He was in his usual pose, apparently disinterested, lacking commitment, without any apparent desire for hard physical involvement, a young man who only came alive when he saw the whites of an opposing goalkeeper’s eyes:

CHRIS INGLE ONE WWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Chris began to move. He accelerated slowly but purposefully from his standing start as he crossed the white line of the penalty area. Bert Crisp instinctively knew what to do. He clipped in a wickedly curving centre, about four or five feet above the ground. It was timed to arrive at the penalty spot at exactly the same time as the deadly centre forward. Chris Ingle, as the ball flew in front of him, launched himself full length over the cloying mud.
He met the ball hard with his forehead, catching it a blow which rocketed it towards the top corner of the net. “Goal!!” we teachers both yelled in our minds. But it was not quite over. The opposing goalkeeper soared backwards and with a despairing left hand just managed to flick out at the ball. He diverted it upwards, and it flew onto the crossbar and behind the goal for a corner.

Chris Ingle got up and wiped the mud from his hands down the front of his white shirt. Tony Slack turned to me and said, “You wouldn’t see anything better than that in the First Division.” And he was right.

And, in case you missed it, here’s that fabulous save again…

banks defesa

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Filed under Football, History, Humour, Nottingham, Personal, The High School

The only trophy the High School Football Team ever won

In late March 1981,  the school’s footballers won the Nottinghamshire Schools’ Football Association Seven-a-Side competition. This was the first time that a High School football team had ever won a cup at any level. Here is the squad:

six-a-side BETTER BEST BESTxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The competition was organised into a number of groups, and in their initial group, the High School won two games, and lost just one, to Worksop College ‘B’ team. The High School therefore qualified for the next stage of the competition as the best losers.
This next stage was the semi-final, where they beat Worksop College ‘A’ team by one goal to nil. They therefore went forward to the Final, strangely enough, against Worksop College ‘B’ team. This ‘B’ team was the very same one which had already beaten the High School in the group stages.
In this game, the score was 0-0 at full time, and two periods of extra time did not produce any goals either. As there was no winner as yet, therefore, penalty kicks would be needed to decide the contest. The first five kicks were successful by each side, and the score was 5-5. Everybody would have to try again. The first Worksop player, though, then missed his second kick, leaving the High School needing just one goal to win the cup.
Norman Garden, who had come on as a half time replacement, took the kick, arguably the most important in a minimum of 110 years football at the High School.

NORMAN GARDENxxxxxxxxxxYESY EYS

By his own admission, head down, he took approximate aim. The ball hit both the post and the crossbar but screamed into the back of the net for the winning goal. The High School were the victors by the unusually high score of 6-5.
The team was coached, as always, by Tony Slack:

TONY SLACKKK WWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Team members were Raich Growdridge as captain, Simon Derrick, John Ellis, Norman Garden, Chris Ingle, Tim Little, Neil McLachlan, Richard Mousley and Chris Peers.

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This remains the High School’s only ever official trophy:

ta cup

Strangely enough, the cup was never contested again, and despite various attempts by High School teachers to surrender it back to the relevant authorities, nobody ever came forward to take responsibility for it. As far as is known, the magnificent cup, at least twenty pounds of almost pure, locally mined Worksop silver, still remains somewhere deep in the bowels of the School, locked away for safe keeping by Tony Hatcher, the school caretaker at the time:

tony hatcher

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The High School’s best football season of the Modern Era

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:

first eleven DAS BETTER Bxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(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.”

MOUSLEY 750 WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

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:

RACIH GROWDRIDGE 750 WWWWWWWWWyes yes yeas

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:

JONNN BULLOCKxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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:

TIM LITTLE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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:

ROB PERSEWY. 750 jpg XWWWWWW (2)

John Ellis played on the right, and scored a number of remarkable, even unbelievable goals, from between fifteen and thirty yards out:

JOHNNN ELLIS xxxxxxxx

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:

CHRIS PEERS WWWWWWWWWWWWW

Among the forwards,  Simon Derrick  was perhaps rather small, but very aggressive as a centre forward, with a lot of skill on the ground:

SIMONNNN DERRICK WWWWWWW

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:

CHRIS INGLE ONE WWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

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!

NEIL MACxxxxxxxx33333333xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Robert Crisp, universally known as “Bert” was a skilful midfielder, who never let the side down when called upon:

BERT CRISP WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

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:

TONY SLACKKKxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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?

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