I was so busy at the time that I didn’t take many photographs of the Radlet & Rowlyng teams. However, I know that a lot of photos were taken by parents over the years. If you have any, please e-mail me and I’ll include them here. The photos I did take are all on this web-page.
So, being true Brits, we formed a Committee! At an inaugural meeting at Colin’s house in Fowler Street (ha! - not on the Estate at all!) in October of that year, we appointed a chairman, secretary, treasurer and team captain. We planned events to raise money for kit and footballs. Our name, Radlet Rangers - Radlet because a number of the future team lived in Radlet Close; Rangers because - hmmmmm....... I think it was because it sounded better than Rovers, Athletic, or United, but I’m not sure! We had a team, of sorts , ranging in age from 12 up to 17. David Eele, Francis Marshall, Leslie Harlow and Kelvin Hasler all lived in Radlet Close - other friends, like Malcolm Buchanan, David Jackson, Graham Smith, Terry Norman & Frank Munns made up the number.
Frank Munns & Terry Norman (Radlet Rangers)(I must have missed out several of you - sorry!) We practised a bit, talked a lot and bought our sky blue and white kit - and a ball or two. Terry’s dad, Jim, was our Chairman and valued "encourager-in-chief"!
Our team on that great day? F. Munns, K. Hasler, T. Norman, M. Buchanan, C. Matthews (Capt.), F. Marshall, R. Poole, G. Smith, T. Ling, D. Jackson, & A. Vowles. Terry’s future wife Caroline found us a referee for that momentous occasion - her dad! I still remember Mr Collier’s welly boots! I soon retired gracefully from the playing side, took over as Secretary, became a team selector and helped build Radlet into a Club.
David Eele hiding behind a trophy!
Colin Matthews, Alan Vowles, Terry Ling (& Caroline!)
Radlet Rangers took the field in our first League encounter on Sunday September 13th 1964 - against Asquith Youth Club.The team that day was: David Solman, John Westcott, Francis Marshall, Kelvin Hasler, Bern Marshall, Frank Munns, Keith Windsor, Graham Smith, Alan Vowles, Dave Bellringer & Malcolm Buchanan. We won, 6-2.
Radlet Rangers - September 13th 1964
v. Asquith Youth Club
Back row (left to right) Francis Marshall, David Bellringer, David Solman, Bernard Marshall, John Westcott
Front row (left to right) Keith Windsor, Malcolm Buchanan, Graham Smith, Alan Vowles, Frank Munns, Kelvin Hasler
This was really the high point of that first season! It wasn’t proving easy as we suffered bad luck with injuries (2 players broke legs) and cup draws (every time we were drawn against the best teams - and lost!). The season ended and we faced the possible break-up of our team.
David Dodd, Jim Dodd & Alan Vowles
Preceeding a friendly match between the Rangers & the Colts
In addition, Dave was in the local school (Priorswood Secondary) team and had influence on his fellow team-mates there. Jim knew a number of good older (adult) players who were looking to play regular football on a Sunday. That summer, Jim Dodd joined Jim Ling as joint-Chairmen and David Dodd brought along almost the entire school team! Radlet was buzzing, folks.
An "embryonic" Radlet Colts
v. Radlet Rangers - April 1965
Back row (left to right) Bobby Foyle, Mike Berryman, Robert Allen, Roy Holland, Philip Bargery, John Scott
Front row (left to right) Geoff Andrews, Neil Perkins, David Dodd, Les Harlow, Chris Mitchell
Radlet Rangers - April 1965
(v. Radlet Colts)
Back row (left to right) Alan Foyle, Terry Norman, David Solman, Francis Marshall, Rodney Windsor, Terry Pavey
Front row (left to right) Keith Windsor, Graham Smith, Alan Vowles, Robert Acott, Brian Stone
The United’s fine season culminated in a first Cup Final for a Radlet team - the squad was: Richard Woodman, John Westcott (Captain), Bobby Mann, Alan Foyle, Pete Rose, Terry Norman, Keith Windsor, Graham Smith, Dave Burnett, Chris Mason, Nigel Roost, Brian Stone, Kelvin Hasler, Ron Beaman and David Forward We lost 1-0 to Cheddon Athletic.The Rangers team over the following seasons included Michael (Micky) Rice (sorry I forgot you, Mike!!), Francis Marshall, Colin Matthews, Terry Ling, Alan Vowles, David Eele, Jim Dodd, Phil Chard, Rod Corkett, Kevin Horrell, Norman Hewson, Dutchy Holland, Bob Wiley, George Thomson & Mick Cleverly. I know I’m missing some here - again, sorry!
Radlet Colts (average age 14, and at that time the youngest ever team to play in the Youth League) took some dreadful hammerings though - coming up against youths who, to all intents and purposes, were men - 18 year olds. But their spirit and dedication were a joy to behold, and success with their school team went a long way to persuade them that their turn would soon come on a Sunday. I loved that team to bits - as did their many followers - parents, siblings, first girl-friends and dozens of young kids from the Estate who couldn’t wait for Sunday afternoons (many of whom went on, themselves, to play for Radlet & Rowlyng).The Colts squad was: Mike Berryman, Roy Holland , John Lang, John Scott, Dennis Hocking, Geoff Andrews, Philip Bargery, David Dodd, Terry Pavey, Neil Perkins, Nicky Palmer, Chris Mitchell, Dennis Boobier, Robert Allen, Leslie Harlow and Jim Andrews.
Radlet Colts - in their first league season, 1965/66
Back row (left to right) Dennis Hocking, Philip Bargery, Roy Holland, Mike Berryman, Terry Pavey, John Lang
Front row (left to right) Neil Perkins, Nicky Palmer, David Dodd, John Scott, Geoff Andrews
When they were plunged into competitive soccer at such a young age (14 was young back then), eyebrows were raised. It was the general opinion that because they were so young, the beatings they were bound to receive would do them no good at all. They did suffer, but unquestionably, the ability was there for all to see. The local followers made a point of watching the team each week, referees loved to officiate in their games and I, like so many others, was won over by their unspoilt, happy demeanour. The experience they were gaining was to hold them in good stead and prepare them for the success that was to come. It was just a matter of time - and it came quicker than we thought.
Radlet Colts - the Championship-winning Team, 1967/8Radlet Colts’ time had come! 1967/8. The League and Subsidiary League was won with a 100% winning record. Progress in the County Youth Shield competition saw us in a semi-final battle against the feared and fearsome Hartcliffe Boys’ Club, Bristol. A certain away defeat for Radlet? No, a fabulous 6-4 triumph in front of a coachload of ecstatic supporters. On 5th May 1968, Radlet Colts met Westhill (Bath) in the Final. Jimmy Guest & Roy Sully had joined the team by then with Francis Marshall & Nigel Roost coming in to boost the squad. We drew 2-2 but lost the replay 6-1. United had been replaced by Radlet Juniors that season with players Dave Yarde, Brian Smith, John Rees, Graham Gardner, David Forward, Guy Lowton, Roy Holland, Mike Yard, John Scott, Paul Harper, Gary Critchard and Clive Gardner among those representing the team.
The final season for Radlet Colts was 1968/9. With more or less the same squad, the success of the previous season was maintained locally, but not in the County Shield. Radlet Juniors had been formed in 1967/8, and this team, another very young outfit, after a dreadful start, ended the following season in a relatively satisfactory state.The squad over those two seasons included: Dave Yarde, Brian Smith, John Rees, Graham Gardner, Dave Forward, Roy Holland, Mike Yard, John Scott, Dennis Hocking, Paul Harper, Gary Critchard, Peter Bage, Clive Gardner, David Collins, Guy Lowton, Dennis Boobier, Kevin O’Sullivan, Nigel Gardner, Robert Acott, Graham Yarde and Chris Southby.
Radlet Youth - April 26th 1970
v. Albion Youth at Taunton Green Playing Fields
Back row (left to right) Peter Chard, Alan Manley, Glyn Cooper, Martin Rayson, Steve Lawton, Shane Fox, Kevin Marchent
Front row (left to right) Steve Mockridge, Peter Hart, Chris Winter, Chris Wright, Terry Stuckey
There is a sub-plot here, running parallel with Radlet Youth. We had always been closely associated with the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys’ Club - training there, meeting there, and using the notice-boards there as a means to announce Radlet teams, fixtures, events etc. But, in 1969/70, the Boys’ Club now had a football team of their own, run by a Mr Neale (very unsuccessfully it has to be said). As that season got underway, I was told that Radlet’s tenure at the Club was interfering with their team and it had to stop.Events were conspiring to influence the future. Radlet Youth were challenging for honours at the top of the table, the Boys’ Club team were losing each week and then, mid-season, the Leader and trainer, Mr Neale left. Would the team have to fold? It just happened that Radlet Youth were without a fixture the following Sunday, and I agreed to take charge for that one match. It was against Monkton Juniors (a really good outfit fresh from a great win over Army team Junior Leaders) at Hamilton Gault Playing Fields.
I got permission from referee Chris Dryden and the Monkton manager to shout, coach and encourage the team. At halftime it was 2-2, and I shut up! The team, winless all year, were on their own. I watched in amazement as they all played out of their skin and was absolutely elated when Stuart Ling crashed home a great winning goal in the second half. I shared in their joy and promised that they wouldn’t be left high and dry even though I had to get back to Radlet Youth. Suffice to say, they enlisted a dad or two and survived the season - winning more matches.Radlet Youth were to be crowned League Champions later that year - the squad:
Radlet Youth - the last Radlet team.
League Champions - 1969/70
Back row (left to right) Steve Lawton, Peter Chard, Martin Rayson, Kevin Marchent, Alan Manley, Keith Garland, Gerry Chard
Front row (left to right) Chris Wright, Terry Stuckey, Rod Troake, Glyn Cooper, Nigel Gardner, Shane Fox
The most comfortable, acceptable way forward was to change the image of the Boys’ Club’s football section. At meetings over the spring/summer of 1970, Radlet FC and the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys’ Club amalgamated and became Rowlyng F.C., with myself in overall charge of the football section. It was not greeted with great enthusiasm in all quarters and we lost some players, but it was the course that we all decided was best for the future. Again circumstances conspired to change things a year later, but in September 1970, Rowlyng made its debut in the League with three teams. Rowlyng United captained by Graham Gardner in the Under-18 Section and the Juniors & Youth in the two divisions of the Under-16 Section.Players in the two Under-16 teams were:
The team repeated the County-wide success of Radlet Colts a few years earlier when it reached the Final of the prestigious Somerset County Youth Shield, eventually losing a close fought encounter with Peasedown Youths at the Bridgwater Town Ground. A few days later, United were to triumph over Junior Leaders in the Taunton Sunday Youth League U-18 Cup Final. The team that day was: T. Beale, P. Mitchell, B. Harris, S. Charnock, G. Lowton, J. Rees, S. Fox, R. Troake, G. Gardner, N. Gardner and S. Mason.The summer of 1971 saw the Boys’ Club enter young teams in a Summer 5-a-side League held at Priorswood Secondary School, featuring a number of lads who were not regular Sunday League players. It was intended that this would lead on to my forming yet another squad for Sunday winter action. However, my future role at the Club was to take a major change of direction due to unforeseen circumstances during that hot 1971 summer.
After a participating in a 2-week SABC camping holiday to France and Spain with a number of players, members and Club officials, I was to return to Taunton to be greeted with an ultimately successful interview for the post of over-all Leadership of the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys’ Club. From General Football Manager, I was now Leader of the entire Club and with it came many extra responsibilities. This meant that I had to pass over many of the responsibilities of the Football Section to others at that time, to enable me to concentrate on general club activities and to attend a number of weekend courses to become a qualified youth leader. So began 20 wonderful years in that position and throughout that time, football was to continue to play a major role in Club (and my) life.With the occasional "gap", Rowlyng F.C. were to be members of the Taunton Sunday League from 1970 until the mid-90’s with varying degrees of success (and failure!). Regular visits were made to both Holland and France (Oostvoorne and Lisieux) to play in International Tournaments and many long-lasting friendships were forged which have stood the test of time. Teams from these towns also spent time here in Taunton playing against Rowlyng . Unfortunately, very few photos are in my possession of these Rowlyng teams and I don’t have records of all of the hundreds of players who represented the Club over those 30+ years. I do, though, have some and will mention them shortly.
Well, I beg to differ here. I have the fondest memories of Radlet Colts in 1967/8, that little 1969 Boys’ Club team and the 1978/9 Rowlyng U-15’s - and my heart bursts with pride recalling the 1982/3/4 Rowlyng U-12’s (much more is to come about them!!!) but, you know, there was one team I’ll always remember more than others.They were full of great characters, intelligent, loyal Club members who came to the Boys’ Club night after night, joined in all the fund-raising, building the Club itself into a happy, lovely place to be if you were a newly-hatched teenager! And they won precisely nothing whilst playing their unique style of football! The 1972/3 Under-14’s. After a year in the job as Leader I returned to take charge of this team on a Sunday. I loved every minute of that season with the following players:
Graham Rowe, Guy Beale (Guy went on to be a star referee and a distinctive Premier League linesman - sorry, Referees Assistant!), Barry Radford, Tony Moore, David Fiander, Stewart Hammill, Peter Joyce (who now owns a Bar/Restaurant in the lovely South of France - lucky chap!), Mike Downey (now a successful film producer), David Massingham, Brian Chidgey (who was a massive Dr Hook fan - like me!), Stephen Palmer, Kevin Pavey, Colin Barnes (such a pleasant little lad, I recall), Adrian Pavey, Dale Jones, Peter Butler and Mark Stevens.As I said, they won nothing but playing was what it was all about - and enjoying it so much. Thanks to you all for making that season or two so special for me, lads, wherever you all are now.
Gary Maddock's 1975/6 Rowlyng team which included several of the earlier 1972/3 Under-14's - Stewart Hamill,
Graham Rowe, Barry Radford, Mark Stevens, Brian Chidgey, Peter Joyce & Stephen Palmer
Glenn Plumridge, Paul Sanders, Colin Merrick (manager of Wellington FC), Simon Gosling, Paul Davey, Gary Russell (Capt), Kevin Salter, Marc Fielding, Andy Stewart, David Ivey, Philip Plumridge, Andy Margetts, Nicky Cappell, Colin Thomas & Ian Ward.Another Rowlyng U-13 team a little later on in the late 70’s/early 80’s had these boys as it’s playing squad:
Jason Alba, Damon Butler, Ian Carp, Graham Chapman, Darren Comer, Ian Fielding, Nigel Frounks, Peter Greenslade, Robert Greenslade, Steven Hallett, Gavin Kyte, Michael Leavy, Stephen Northcott, Neil Rogers, Darren Pope, Mark Sampson, Robert Sloman, Paul Smith, Paul Smith (yes 2 of them!), Neil Stone, Shaun Sturgess, Richard Thomas, Neil Warren and Alex Yard.For those I have missed, I apologise, but the old brain cells are dying off at an alarming rate these days!!
Team Manager, Alan Rogers & his wife
It was my delight to take control of Rowlyng U-15’s in the 1978/9 season. Again, comprising of mainly regular attenders at the thrice-weekly Boys’ Club nights, they were unique in several respects. For starters, the team received the attention of the local press by fielding two sets of twins every week! Then, they had the reputation of being very difficult to control on the field. Not true, actually! They were a physically big team (most of them, but not little Shaun Cleverly) and weren’t afraid to mix it when it was necessary. Some referees found it too much of a challenge - the good referees had no trouble at all though (like Pier-Luigi Collina in the 21st century!).Village team, Porlock, were the big guns - also extremely tough and intimidating! And unbeaten at home in seasons. We arrived at the village, expected to lie down and submit meekly to Porlock’s tactics and to permit them to retain that proud unbeaten record. No way, Jose!!! It was one of my most enjoyable moments in the entire life of Rowlyng to be able to take off my two star players with 10 minutes to go (while vociferously making it clear that it was done to protect them from possible physical injury - and that WAS true). Why was it so memorable? We were winning 8-0!!!!!!! Didn’t they squeal, but we had fought fire with fire, faced up to the challenge and took their record. That was, psychologically, the turning point for the team that season. The whole league was stunned by the result and Rowlyng were now unbeatable in most opponents eyes. We completed the season going many games undefeated, culminating in an unforgettable Cup Final victory over a talented Wellington team at SCAT.
Michael Jackson (not that one - this one was a tough, masculine lad!), Mark Vickery, Paul Murphy, Shaun Cleverly, Colin Merrick, Andy Stewart (Capt), Nigel Graham, John Lee, Brian Lee, Kevin Murphy, Graham Derrick, Neil Robertson, Peter Mercieca, Sean Paterson, Steve Guy-Gibbons and Tim Grabham.This is another of the teams that live fondly in my memory, none more so than because that Cup Final victory came just days after the death of my mother - and captain, Andy Stewart and his team did so much to cheer me up and console me at that sad time. It is poignant to recall that Andy (a wonderfully loyal boy who played for the club - his only Club - for many barren years without a prayer of winning a medal, and progressed to captain this Rowlyng team to cup final glory) lost a brother, Jimmy, to a road accident earlier that decade. One of my saddest memories - Jim wasn’t a footballer, but a delightful Boys Club member who participated in trips abroad and whose death upset and stunned us all so very much. God bless you, Jimmy.
In the 1970’s, Clive Gardner made his debut for us as a 10 year-old in an U-18 league. His first match saw him head one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in our level of football. Clive grew into a strapping, tall lad who was much liked by all - members and adults alike - at the Club. I’ll always remember him on one of the Club’s many visits abroad - this time to Bredene, near Ostende in Belgium, where he was, at 15 more like a dad to a group of young kids from a Primary School in Wales who were staying in the same apartments as us. Clive joined Swindon Town for a while, but didn’t make that final jump to the 1st team and returned home to Taunton.Roy Sully became a prolific scorer for Taunton Town, and Mike Berryman too progressed to that level. There were also others who looked for all the world to have a chance, but never took that chance. A shame really, but I guess it was to be expected.
However, a major superstar could - and should - have emerged, and but for injury, would have, of that I am absolutely certain.
At the end of the 1982/3 season when I was manager of Rowlyng U-12’s (more about them shortly), I was asked to select a "pick of the league" representative team to play against another similar league in Somerset. I tried to select the best players from each of the League’s teams and I chose Hung from Victoria Colts. I can’t remember the result of that match, but I know Hung played his part. What I do remember though is the consequence of that selection.The 1982/3 season was a most enjoyable one for Rowlyng Under-12’s. The squad that season was:
Ashley Dingle, Martin Faulkner, Stephen Rose, David Cleverly (a prolific top goal-scorer), Trevor Faulkner, Justin Puddy, Jason Tanton, Lee Skinner, Perry Harris, Danny Taylor, Spencer Cox, Neil Everett, Andrew Baker, Troy Tuck, Paul Davis, Jason Richards, Michael Bird & Alan Thomas.The team had a successful campaign and finished in a healthy position in the League, improving greatly as the season progressed. I was very proud of them all and enjoyed their company immensely - they were a delightful group of lads. We looked forward to the next season with hope and expectation but with no realistic chance of actually winning anything.
Rowlyng Under-12's - 1983/4
Back Row (L to R) BRETT BAKER, JAMIE ROSE, STEVEN TANNER, HUNG DANG, PERRY HARRIS, ASHLEY DINGLE, ANDREW PARSONS, NICKY HEDGES
Front Row (L to R) NEIL EVERETT, CRAIG JONES, JASON THOMPSON, RICHARD GEORGE, DAVID CLEVERLY, PAUL DAVIS, STUART BOSWELL, NICKY MASON-WALSHAW, MATTHEW MASON-WALSHAW
The summer of 1983 was a scorcher and we really didn’t want to do a lot of pre-season training as it was just too hot (honestly - it was the UK, not Vietnam!). So, we waited until August before arranging a session or two to see if we remembered how to kick a ball and what goalposts looked like! I remember now the look on the faces of the lads who had turned up, when through the door walked Hung and Ty Dang. In his inimitable, polite way, he asked if he could be considered for a place in the squad. What!!! This was the best young player in Taunton - probably in Somerset - and he would certainly make just a little bit of a difference to our team! - why we might even be in the top 2 or 3.Of course it made a difference! Rowlyng U-12’s started the 1983/4 season at home to the Bridgwater favourites, Victoria Park Rangers at Priorswood Playing Fields on Sunday 11th September 1983. The squad that I selected from was:
Ashley Dingle, Richard George, Perry Harris (Capt), Jason Thompson, Neil Everett, Hung Dang, Jamie Rose, Craig Jones, David Cleverly, Nicky Mason-Walshaw, Matthew Mason-Walshaw, Paul Davis, Brett Baker, Nicky Hedges, Stuart Boswell, Andrew Parsons, Paul Dunning, James Dunn and Steven Tanner.
Hung DangVictoria Park Rangers were a feared outfit. We won 9-1 with David Cleverly & Hung scoring 4 apiece. Game on! The season progressed with some astonishing results and was settling down to a four-horse race between Hulan, Galmington, Twyford Spartans (Tiverton) and Rowlyng. As I have said, Hung had played in the league the previous season in a largely unsuccessful team, but now this exceptionally gifted young boy was beginning to make his mark. Consequently, because of his background - and of much greater relevance, because of his powerful physical appearance - questions were asked about his qualifications to play in the Under-12 section. This was totally due to our team being successful and challenging the order of things at the top of the table. Hung was of the correct age and was leading our Club to what was to be a Championship-winning season.
Rowlyng U-12's versus Victoria Park Rangers
11th September 1983 (Hung's debut for Rowlyng)
Led by their loyal, enthusiastic and intense skipper, Perry Harris, Rowlyng U-12’s reached the Cup Final and lost it, but then, on the final day of the season on 17th April 1984, beat Galmington at Priorswood Playing Fields by 3 goals to 1 to win the league title. Hung’s hat-trick settled it and one of the goals will live in the memory as the greatest ever scored by a Rowlyng player. It was similar to Beckham’s half-way line goal - but scored without the aid of any gale-force wind, in his own half, by a 12 year-old!
Rowlyng Under-12's - 1983/4If you think that this is the end of the Hung Dang story then you would be greatly mistaken, for what happened over the next 3 or 4 years, even today, seems like something out of a "Roy of the Rovers" magazine!
Dave Jones took over the managing of the team for the following season. He was so impressed with Hung’s remarkable skills, as was his games teacher at school, Sukhjinder Rye. Consequently, Hung - along with 10,000 other young lads - entered a soccer skills competition supervised by Sir Bobby Charlton. I can still recall taking a phone call at the Club from a breathless and overjoyed Dave Jones. He had accompanied Hung to Old Trafford for that competition’s final, and in front of over 40,000 people during a Manchester United game, our own Hung Dang had won.
Hung Dang with Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Robson presents Hung with his England International Cap in July 1988The Vietnamese boat-boy from Mo Cai was now national news. Dave, his son Craig, and I accompanied Hung to London to appear on a Saturday morning BBC TV programme (the one with Mike Reed & Sarah Green) - where we met and talked with the likes of Leo Sayer, pop group A-ha & John Craven amongst others. Then we were whisked by taxi to White Hart Lane to be feted by Tottenham Hotspur (Hung had hinted that he’d like to play one day for Spurs) in their restaurant and then in the stands to watch Spurs play (and get stuffed 3-0!). We had also joined Sir Bobby at a prestigious Sports Club on the banks of the Thames where dozens of national sporting personalities had congregated for the launch of some sports initiative. Rugby internationals, cricket stars, soccer supremos, Sir Bobby Charlton - and Hung Dang! The National ITN News sent a reporter and cameraman and Hung was interviewed. I still have the videotape of that evening’s News broadcast. On the train journey home to Taunton, a fellow lady-passenger recognised Hung from newspapers articles and made a special point of approaching him to say "well done". It was all so remarkable and made Dave & I feel so proud.
On reflection, I wonder what our young hero thought. Was the significance of all this lost on him - was his all-too-apparent nervousness (at times, almost panic) the true indication of what he was going through? Probably yes. If he reads this perhaps he could tell me.Hung signed school-boy forms for Tottenham Hotspur and had played his last game for Rowlyng F.C. He was selected to attend the fledgling English F.A. National School of Excellence at Lilleshall - where 15 or so of the best players in England attended. To our delight, on his visits back to Taunton, Hung always came to the Boys’ Club to say hello and play a game or two of 5-a-side or table-tennis (he played that game really well!).
The Boys’ Club was visited by Rob Hughes of the Sunday Times who was preparing a big article on the Vietnamese lads here in the U.K. who were highly rated in football. The article duly appeared in the paper’s Sunday Magazine on Easter Sunday 1986, highlighting Hung’s success both as a footballer and as a bright, dedicated scholar. This shy, unassuming boy was a model student who within three years of arriving here had won a competition open to 4000 Somerset school children with a project on the English Civil War! He had visited France with his school and Holland with Rowlyng. He was a County champion at high jump and the 100 metres. He was a fine rugby player . And an extremely likeable person to boot!He was achieving much at the National School of Excellence, but was missing his family so very much . Taking into consideration all he had been through in 8 or so years then that was not at all surprising - looking back now, I’m amazed that he coped as well as he did. His family meant everything to him and there he was - a 15 year-old - in a "boarding school" miles from home. What did he achieve while at Lilleshall? Well, he played for England Schoolboys and was a "hero" at Wembley!
On Saturday 8th August 1987, Hung Dang lined up for England Under-16’s at Wembley against Denmark. Also in the team that day were future Premier League players Andy Cole (ex-Man U.) and Ian Walker (ex-Spurs). England won 2-1 - oh yes, Hung scored both the goals! Goes without saying doesn’t it? This match preceeded the Football League Centenary Classic game between the Football League (mananged by Sir Bobby Robson) and the Rest of the World (managed by Terry Venables).On the pitch that day were the likes of Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Andoni Zubizarreta, Paulo Futre, Gary Lineker, Peter Shilton, Paul McGrath, Kenny Sansom, Liam Brady, Bryan Robson, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Norman Whiteside. Hung Dang was there too. Amazing.
Match Programme - England versus Denmark (Under-16 International) at Wembley - 8th August 1987
Hung signed this Programme for me
How far Hung would have progressed will never be known. For now comes the poignant end to the story. Hung Dang suffered a stress fracture to his spine that necessitated a major and delicate operation which, together with his love for his family back in Taunton, put an immediate stop to his further progress at Tottenham.Hung came home to recuperate and never returned to London. Weeks after that operation, he walked the half-mile or so from his house to the Boys’ Club to say hello to us all. He walked through the door (the same door as he had entered with his brother years earlier), his face creased in pain and gleaming with sweat from all the effort. His renown great determination had inspired him to make that walk - perhaps as difficult a journey as that he had made as a 7 year old. That was our "hero".
Hung recovered well enough to play for a number of clubs at a local level in Somerset. He lives locally.
Rowlyng Under-12's - 1983/4The Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys’ Club and Rowlyng F.C. were so proud of him and, on a personal level, I treasure the autograph this wonderful young man signed for me in the match programme (shown on this webpage) for that International back in the summer of 1987, when he was just 16 years of age.
Everything was revolving around the football teams - and there were plenty of teams during that decade, encompassing an age range from 9 up to - well there was actually a men’s team, run by Colin Reed, comprising of "old boys" who had reached the age where they were too old to play youth football anymore!
Alan Rogers with his Rowlyng teamThe arrival of the 80’s was witness to Alan Rogers’ tenure at the helm. He was to prove a very successful manager, and in 1982/3, his Rowlyng's Under-16 team won the Taunton Sunday Youth League title, were runners-up in that season's K.O. Cup and heroically reached the Final of the Somerset County Youth Shield, losing to Bristol City's youth team in a hard-fought match. The team also triumphed in an International Tournament in Holland, not even conceding a goal on their way past teams from Holland, Germany, Belgium and the U.K. The team, that highly successful season, included the following players:
Thanks to Steve Hooper for this photo of the 1983 Rowlyng Under-16's, taken at the Taunton Town Football Ground.
Steve captained the team.
Steve Hooper also kept this cutting from the 1st May 1983 edition of the Somerset County Gazette.
Another of Steve Hooper's memorabilia. He's pleased to recall that Rowlyng won the match 1-0 - and he scored the goal!!! Great stuff, Steve.
The 1983/4 season saw Dave Northcott, ably assisted by the late John Cook (a man who was always so very full of hope, anticipation and optimism, I recall) lead our Under-14 squad to a very respectable position in the league. We were all impressed at how the team recovered from a hugely disappointing start to that year's campaign to go on an extremely successful run of results during the mid and latter part of the season.Again, there were some really outstanding young men in this team - they live in the memory as pleasant, friendly lads who were a great credit to themselves and the Club on the field and off it. They made it a very happy time indeed for all of us at the Club in Selworthy Road.
The team played 25 matches that season, with Mark Whitehouse (the Captain), Colin Reed & Danny Taylor involved in every game. Co-incidentally, all three scored 22 goals each that season. Wayne Sturgess & Andrew Williams missed just one match and Stephen Rose only two. Also playing in the majority of the matches were Adam Chorley, Mark Cook, Andrew Emery, Adrian Holcombe, Paul Harris, Andy Frounks, Matthew George & Jason Tanton. Jason Singh and Steve Coombes were often substitutes.The majority of the squad were joined by Gary Griffiths, Nigel Frounks, Robert Dingle, Lee Jones and Simon Safe when it moved up to the Under-16 League for the following (1984/5) season.
Dave Northcott's Rowlyng, "On Tour" in Holland
David's greatest success in those few years was to take his Under-12 squad to a well-earned Cup Final against Bridgwater outfit, Victoria Park Rangers in April 1985. Considering the team finished just three places off the bottom of the League that year and VPR were only two points from being Champions, then the 2-1 defeat was a wonderful effort. The Rowlyng squad that year included Adrian Lock, Mark Fellows, Jamie Rose, Nicky Devey, Jason Lewis, Jamie Yarde, Matthew Hollands, Paul Davis, Darren Penny, Jonathan Rose, Matthew Mason-Walshaw, James Symons, Andrew Foster and Matthew Bernard.
Dave Yarde's youngest Rowlyng team
Rowlyng Under-12's - 14th April 1985
Taunton Sunday Youth League Cup Final at Taunton Town Ground, Wordsworth Drive.
Back row (l to r:)Adrian Lock, Mark Fellows, Jamie Rose, Nicky Devey, Jason Lewis, Jamie Yarde, Matthew Hollands, Paul Davis.
Front row: Darren Penny, Jonathan Rose, Matthew Mason-Walshaw, James Symons, Andrew Foster, Matthew Bernard
Some exceptionally good footballers and extremely pleasant lads represented Rowlyng during this period, and I dearly wish that I had the paperwork and a sharp enough memory to recall them all. Unfortunately, I haven’t on either count, so all I can do is to give due mention to those who do come to mind. This is the time where I could do with help - so please get in touch with names and your recollections so that I can amend and add to this section.
Two more Rowlyng teams in the 1980'sIf we couldn’t be the best in the League, then we aimed to ensure that we competed and enjoyed the experience. Great, if success came along, but for the majority of that decade we were one of the Clubs which competed every season to ensure that there was a league for the best to go on and win. The likes of Peter Rose, Ken Lee, Taff Palmer, Don Taylor, Dave Jones, Tony Emery, John Portt, Adrian Davidge, Ray Honiecombe, John Cook etc. all gave up hours of their leisure time to help run teams. (Oh heck - have I missed anyone -sorry!) They may not have won trophies, but they can look back with pride to the fact that they were there for the lads who wanted to play football, and they deserve the highest praise for their work at the Club.
During an International Tournament in Lisieux, France (10th to 16th May 1983)
Back row (l to r) Darren Harris, Andrew Bolton, Simon Safe, Angelo Stone, Mark Whitehouse, Colin Reed, Jonathan Whitlock;
Front row (l to r) Andrew Frounks, Steve Lentell, Nigel Frounks (Capt.), Adrian Holcombe, Paul Harris, Jason Singh.
Another fine Rowlyng squad!
And so we come to the late-80’s and early-90’s and what was to prove to be the "swan-song" for Rowlyng Football Club. Once again may I say a big "sorry" if there are gaps which appear obvious to some here. I was nearing the time when it was necessary for me to move on in life. The Club I had been so involved for nearly 30 years, and the Somerset Youth Service in general, were changing so rapidly and were going down a path that I was uncomfortable with. In addition, work commitments in my local government career meant, from the late summer of 1991, I couldn’t spend as much time at the Club as in the past. And, to be honest controversially perhaps, I was somewhat unhappy with the attitude - and quality - of a number of people who were now in a position of authority at the Club itself. Some of that conflict was my fault, but a lot wasn’t, and the "Thatcher Generation" and its’ selfish attitudes certainly permeated the concrete walls of the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys’ Club. All this meant that I am now having some difficulty recalling the final years in as much detail as I would like.I do recall one of the youngest of all the teams to represent Rowlyng though! The Under-11’s of 1988/9. Decked out in the Club colours that Rowlyng had become synonymous with over the years - sky blue & white - this was to prove to be one of the last teams we managed, and I’m delighted to say that they rank up there with the very best. Not in their results, not even in their ability, but as a total joy to be associated with. When we look back to the earliest days of Radlet F.C., youth football involved youths aged 18! Now we were providing regular, competitive football for 10 and 11 year olds. This was in direct conflict with the way things were done in Europe, where youngsters of that age were encouraged to play in 8-a-side friendly matches, often refereed by a footballer only a few years older than the players themselves. The results seemed irrelevant - the development of skills and team spirit were the priorities. Here in the U.K., winning was all - the result obtained any way possible.
Which way to Portsmouth please? Leaving the Boys' Club for France
Two CAL Lisieux teams - check out our own Jason Tanton in the left-hand photo (He was refereeing!)
Another tour is over - CAL Lisieux leave the Boys' Club
My visits to Holland and France influenced how I felt. Of course Rowlyng joined the leagues here - we couldn’t play friendly matches every week as that would encourage youngsters to join other local teams. But I was determined that the continental ethos of enjoyment was to the fore with our teams. That’s how Rowlyng Under-11’s played. We didn’t win much, but we tried so hard and did it in all winds and weather with a smile on our faces.The squad of players that season were:
Jeremy Cheetham, Duncan MacKay, Lee Goodman (Capt), Ian Hector, Lee Pope, Richard Tutill (how’s the frostbite, Rich?), Keith Cooper, Matthew Bleeks, Richard Stone, Lee Ellis, James Sangster, Aaron Davidge, Paul Allen, Edward Dryden, James Boys, Paul Kerrigan, Mark Pope Michael Southby & Kevin Rawle.
Rowlyng U-12's and their hosts at an Official Reception at the Mairie in Lisieux
Rowlyng U-12's at "Le Petit Bar" in Lisieux (OK - only cokes!!!)
John Portt, Matt Bleeks, Richard Tutill and all!
Ian Hector, Aaron Davidge & Michael Southby.
Aaron Davidge, Richard Tutill, John Portt & Adrian Davidge on the Balcony of the Lisieux mairie.
Kevin Tutill, John Portt, Tony Goodman & Francis Bleeks in France (just - they're on the ferry!)
John & the team at the Caen Memorial to World War II.
John, Francis & Tony with Jeremy Cheetham, Richard & Matt - on that Ferry!
John, Adrian, Ray Poole & Francis enjoying a "senior moment"!The final years - up to the early 1990’s - saw John Portt, Ray Honiecombe and Adrian Davidge strive manfully to keep a team from the Club performing in the Sunday Youth League. The final tour to Normandy was undertaken by our U-12 team at Easter 1991. The Club was represented on that last visit to Lisieux by Jamie Colman, James Crossing, Aaron Davidge, Ian Hector, Keiran Hector, Marcus Honiecombe, Sam Keenan, Matthew McKen, Ricky Selway, Simon White and three lads from Chard, Jamie Cornhill, Paul Rideout and Neil Rogers. Adrian Davidge was the trainer.
But, we know that the times were changing. The Boys’ Club itself was changing. After my retirement at Christmas 1991, it had a new Leader, a new ethos, a new committee and it hadn’t the drive to continue with the football. Very soon, I am led to believe, it didn’t have many members. Was this because young people were changing? (they were, as they always do!) - because the vitality and life-blood of the Club had flowed away? (it did) or perhaps a mixture of the two and much, much more? (very likely).Now, in the 21st century, youth football continues, very successfully, in Taunton in all age groups, starting as young as 7 years of age. It is Rowlyng that has gone.
I can do a lot worse than to repeat what I said in the introduction. It has been created from the records that I have kept, more by luck than design, over the years, and also from memory. There’s the big flaw in the project. There are players, trainers, managers - and even whole teams - that are missing here and I’ve not done that deliberately. I hope that one or two of the players or coaches will come across this website and will be willing to help fill in the gaps, by getting in touch with me - I’d be absolutely delighted. The e-mail address is shown below.I made many friends within the Taunton Sunday Youth League set-up too. In the earliest days with Colin Gardner, the League’s administrators included Chris Judd and "Lofty" Porter - the latter, a well known national referee from the past. He was held in the greatest respect by everyone as he walked from council playing field to council playing field every Sunday afternoon. To be watched by "Lofty" was the greatest honour imaginable. In the early 80’s when I served a period as Chairman of the League, I received wonderful help and backing from two great guys in particular, Secretary/Treasurer Jeff Brown and Referees & Fixtures Secretary, Jim Walker (also a fine colleague at County Hall). Many a late summer was spent checking Jim’s marvellous juggling act - better known as drawing up all the fixtures for every team in all of our leagues - for the whole of the coming season. How he did it I just don’t know. And, I never had the pleasure of finding a mistake, Jim! A Genius!
No Club can be successful without "behind the scenes" support. All the dads who freely gave up their Sunday afternoons to drive cars and minibuses to matches, ferrying players to and from such diverse places as Keinton Mandeville, Charlton Horethorne, Dulverton, Tiverton and Feniton. The mums (starting with my mum back in 1963!) who spent hours washing our kit that was covered in mud (and at some of the council pitches in town, doggie-do’s as well!). None ever claimed for the washing-powder. Thanks to them all our teams were, without exception, smartly turned out week after week, season after season. God, how my mother kept that all-white kit so pristine back in 1969/70 I’ll never know. You see, she didn’t believe in new-fangled things like modern washing machines - a good long soak and hand-scrubbing was the answer. Remember how brilliantly white that kit was, Radlet Youth?
Chairperson, Chris Little, receives a gift from Georges Alix of CAL Lisieux on a visit to the Boys' ClubThe "officials" of the Boys’ Club played major roles too throughout the years. None more so than the ladies! First in line, Chris Little - who as Chairperson, was the charming, friendly and gracious face of the Club on many a visit both to Holland and France and on their return visits to Taunton. Anne Holcombe too carried out a similar role with a ready smile. Behind the scenes, Phyl Northcott, Gill George (who will ever forget the party Gill and her husband John gave to our Championship-winning Under-12’s in 1984), Lorraine Davidge and Lynda Cheetham were called upon to exceed the call of duty.
The many mums and dads, too numerous to mention, who came to the rescue by providing accommodation to our French and Dutch guests. To John George, who was the world’s very best taxi driver during one such hectic weekend in the late 80’s! To the paper-workers filling in forms, writing letters, making all the plans etc. - Chris Turner, Ron Stone, Ray Poole (who?!) To the Caretakers, Ron (a lovely, gentle man who was the only cleaner who ever graduated to Life President of the Club) & Gladys Garland, who were there promptly ensuring all the mess was cleared away. To fine dads like Kelvin Tutill and Francis Bleeks who gave such great support on our French trips (and sunk a few "pressions" with me along the way!). To people like Toni Milton who also came to our aid on more than one occasion. The list is endless and to those I have missed - thank you too!And the fans! Mums, dads, brothers, sisters, girl-friends, best mates, grand-dads and grand-mums, neighbours, committee members, the guy down the pub, the woman walking her dog. They played their part too along the way. One abiding memory is of teenagers Pat, Moira, Sally, Brenda, Julie, Alison and others, standing in the rain outside the changing rooms at Priorswood Playing Fields one miserably cold Sunday afternoon in the early 60’s, singing "We love you Radlet, oh yes we do"!
"We love you Radlet....." - The Radlet "Fan Club" in 1963We had just won another important victory, you see.
Was this nigh on FIFTY years ago? Yes, it most certainly was.There were, too, hundreds more lads who came to the Boys’ Club on a normal club evening, in all winds and weather (the writer spent many a cold, wet and wind-blown winter’s night blowing a whistle and encouraging all the participants, what-ever their age and ability out on that floodlit area!), just to take part in the 5-a-side matches that were so very popular all though the years. Many were not involved with the Sunday League teams and some actually played for other teams - all were welcomed at the Club. Other lads played for the Club just in SABC-organised (Somerset Association of Boys’ Clubs) Tournaments.
Taff Palmer with a Rowlyng 6-a-side TeamAll are remembered with great affection here. I hope that you benefited to some degree from those very happy, innocent days.
Who can forget the wonderful yearly "Presentation of Awards" evenings where much-prized cups, shields and medals were presented to the star performers and outstanding team players. This event was looked forward to for weeks in advance and the Club was invariably packed out with players, their parents and their families.
"Presentation of Awards" Night
All the Winners on the left, Paul Edwards receives an award from Ron Baker on the right
"Presentation of Awards" Night
Jason Tanton & Neil Everett escape the embarassment!
"Presentation of Awards" Night
What a "turn out"!
"Presentation of Awards" Night
David Cleverly - goal-scorer extra-ordinaire"
Peter Bage, Andrew Baker, Brett Baker, Martin Baldock, Philip Bargery, Colin Barnes, Michael Basham, Guy Beale, Terry Beale, Ron Beaman, Simon Beilby, David Bellringer, Steve Bennett, Chris Bentley, Matthew Bernard, Mike Berryman, Andrew Bewes, Steven Bidgway, Michael Bird, Chris Blackmore, Matthew Bleeks, Dennis Boobier, Stuart Boswell, Andy Boulton, James Boys, James Brogden, Steven Brooks, Martin Bryant, Malcolm Buchanan, Darren Buckley, Derek Burch, Patrick Burgess, Dave Burnett, Peter Butler, Damon ButlerPeter Cairns, Nicky Cappell, Ian Carp, Graham Chapman, Phil Chard, Pete Chard, Stuart Charnock, Jeremy Cheetham, Brian Chidgey, Adam Chorley, David Clarke, Mick Cleverly, Shaun Cleverly, David Cleverly, David Collins, Jamie Colman, Darren Comer, Mark Cook, Steve Coombs, Glyn Cooper, Keith Cooper, Lee Cooper, Rod Corkett, Jamie Cornhill, Spencer Cox, Chris Critchard, Gary Critchard, Julian Cross, James Crossing, Nigel Cummins
Martin Daffin, Hung Dang, Paul Davey, Aaron Davidge, Paul Davis, Keith Dawe, Kevin Dawe, Michael Dawe, Bobby Deekes, Paul Dennison, Graham Derrick, Nicky Devey, Nigel Dight, Ashley Dingle, Graham Dingle, Robert Dingle, David Dodd, Jim Dodd, Kevin Dodge, Mike Downey, Edward Dryden, James Dunn, Paul Dunning, Roger DyerGerald Edwards, Jeff Edwards, Paul Edwards, Steve Edwards, Wayne Edwards, David Eele, Lee Ellis, Stephen Elson, Andrew Emery, Neil Everett
Martin Faulkner, Trevor Faulkner, Dennis Fear, Mark Fellows, David Fiander, Ian Fielding, Marc Fielding, Jeremy Ford, David Forward, Ian Forward, Andrew Foster, Alan Fowler, Shane Fox, Alan Foyle, Bobby Foyle, Andrew Frounks, Karl Frounks, Nigel FrounksClive Gardner, Graham Gardner, Nigel Gardner, Keith Garland, Tony Gay, Matthew George, Richard George, Barry Geyton, Peter Gibbs, Paul Glover, David Goodman, Lee Goodman, Simon Gosling, Carl Govier, Melvyn Grabham, Tim Grabham, Nigel Graham, Tyrone Gray, Richard Green, Peter Greenslade, Robert Greenslade, Gary Griffiths, Michael Groves, Jimmy Guest, Steve Guy-Gibbons
Steven Hallett, Stewart Hammill, Leslie Harlow, Paul Harper, Brian Harris, Darren Harris, Paul Harris, Perry Harris, Colin Harriss, Peter Hart, Kelvin Hasler, Colin Hayman, Ian Hector, Keiran Hector, Nicky Hedges, John Hepple, Norman Hewson, Simon Hill, Dennis Hocking, Adrian Holcombe, Barry Holder, Bobby Holland, David "Dutchy" Holland, Roy Holland, Matthew Hollands, Marcus Honiecombe, Steve Hooper, Kevin Horrell, Nigel Howard, Andy Howe, Billy Hunt, Steven HuntThomas Irving, David Ivey
David Jackson, Michael Jackson, John Jensen, Chris Johns, Colin Jones, Craig Jones, Dale Jones, Lee Jones, Stephen Josling, Peter JoyceGary Kearley, Sean Kearney, Sam Keenan, Paul Kelly, Paul Kerrigan, Gary Knight, Gavin Kyte
John Lang, Chris Larn, Steve Lawton, Michael Leavy, Brian Lee, John Lee, Peter Leigh, Jason Lewis, Nicky Lewis, Stuart Ling, Terry Ling, Adrian Lock, Jamie Lowe, Guy Lowton, Steve LowtonDuncan MacKay, Gareth Mace, Gary Maddock, Alan Manley, Bobby Mann, Andre Marchent, Kevin Marchent, Andy Margetts, Bern Marshall, Francis Marshall, Chris Mason, Sean Mason, Matthew Mason-Walshaw, Nicky Mason-Walshaw, David Massingham, Colin Matthews, Stephen Matthews, Ian May, Matthew McKen, Peter Mercieca, Brian Merrell, Colin Merrick, Chris Mitchell, Paul Mitchell, Darren Mockeridge, Steve Mockridge, Trevor Mockridge, Tony Moore, Frank Munns, Andy Murphy, Darren Murphy, Ian Murphy, Kevin Murphy, Paul Murphy
Colin Needs, Keith Nicholls, Terry Norman, Stephen NorthcottKevin O'Sullivan
Andy Palmer, Michael Palmer, Nicky Palmer, Stephen Palmer, Andrew Parsons, Richard Parsons, Robert Parsons, Sean Paterson, Lee Patterson, Adrian Pavey, Kevin Pavey, Terry Pavey, Darren Penny, Neil Perkins, Glenn Plumridge, Philip Plumridge, Ray Poole, Darren Pope, Lee Pope, Mark Pope, Matthew Portt, Michael Pountney, Robert Pow, Justin PuddyBarry Radford, Kevin Rawle, Martin Rayson, Asa Reader, Martin Reading, Richard Redwood, Colin Reed, Douglas Reed, John Reed, Steven Reed, John Rees, Michael (Micky) Rice, Jason Richards, Paul Rideout, Ian Ridgway, Martin Rivers, Andrew Robertson, Neil Robertson, Neil Rogers (1), Neil Rogers (2), Melvyn Roost, Nigel Roost, Jamie Rose, Jonathan Rose, Peter Rose, Stephen Rose, Kevin Routley, Graham Rowe, Neil Rowe, Gary Russell
Simon Safe, Kevin Salter, Mark Sampson, Paul Sanders, James Sangster, George Saunders, John Scott, Ricky Selway, Jason Singh, Lee Skinner, Steve Slocombe, Robert Sloman, Brian Smith, Graham Smith, Michael Smith, Paul Smith (1), Paul Smith (2), David Solman, Chris Southby, Michael Southby, Gary Stephens, Simon Stephens, Mark Stevens, Andy Stewart, Angelo Stone, Brian Stone, Neil Stone, Nicky Stone, Richard Stone, Ricky Storry, Andy Stowell, Terry Stuckey, Shaun Sturgess, Wayne Sturgess, Julian Styles, Rodney Sully, Roy Sully, Stuart Sully, Gary Summers, David Sutton, James SymonsSteven Tanner, Jason Tanton, Danny Taylor, Alan Thomas, Colin Thomas, Richard Thomas, Glenn Thompson, Jason Thompson, George Thomson, Colin Tibble, Kevin Tolman, Rodney Troake, Nick Trowell, Troy Tuck, Philip Tucker, Chris Turner, Mark Turner, Richard Tutill
Andrew Vickery, Mark Vickery, Kevin Viney, Mark Viney, Alan VowlesIan Ward, Neil Warren, Raoul Watson, Simon Watson, Stephen Weaver, Keith Welch, Kevin Welch, Richard West, Martyn Westbury, John Westcott, Simon Western, Philip White, Simon White, Mark Whitehouse, Nicholas Whiting, Jonathan Whitlock, David Wilkins, Andrew Williams, Colin Williams, John Williams, Paul Williams, Peter Williams, Keith Windsor, Wayne Winmill, Chris Winter, Mark Winter, Richard Woodman, John Woodward, Chris Wright, Michael Wright, Bob Wylie
Alex Yard, Mike Yard, Ben Yarde, Dave Yarde, Dean Yarde, Graham Yarde, Jamie Yarde
Francis Bleeks, Lynda Cheetham, John Cook, Adrian Davidge, Lorraine Davidge, Mrs Dingle, Jim Dodd, Tony Emery, Mrs Everett, Ron Garland, Gladys Garland, Gill George, John George, Shirley Harris, Margaret Harrison, Anne Holcombe, Ray Honiecombe, Jim Hope, Don Irish, David James, Dave Jones, Mrs Jones, Ken Lee, Jim Ling, Chris Little, Gary Maddock, Toni Milton, Dave Northcott, Phyl Northcott, Taff Palmer, Ray Poole, John Portt, Alan Rogers, Peter Rose, Mrs Rose, Ron Stone, Terry Symons, Don Taylor, Chris Turner, Kelvin Tutill, Dave Yarde
- plus all those who have inexcuseably slipped my fading memory!! Sorry, guys.
Jeff Brown, Colin Gardner M.B.E., Ron Hitchcox (Yeovil), Chris Judd, C.G. "Lofty" Porter, Jim Walker
I am really delighted to have been contacted by a number of ex-Radlet and Rowlyng players (and, believe it or not, several opposition players too) both before and following the features in the Somerset County Gazette in October 2005 and February 2010.
Most rewardingly of all, it was extremely kind of JIM DODD to phone me to say how much he and son DAVID DODD had enjoyed this site, which had brought back so many good memories.    Jim, our first proper Manager / Trainer at Radlet FC, is now a sprightly octogenarian who sounded no different than he did half a lifetime ago!    Thank you Jim for your very kind words and for taking the time to call.    It’s good to know both you and Dave still recall those great days back in the 60’s.    You were good friends, much appreciated by yours truly.
Fellow team-mate MIKE DOWNEY wrote, “It seems like an age since I left the theatre and publishing business and started to make movies as a lifetime obsession.    I am sure the creative outlet that was the Boys’ Club helped enormously in giving us the confidence to do stuff.”"Star" goal-keeper for the unforgettable Radlet Colts throughout their tenure in the Youth League, MICHAEL BERRYMAN , has left a message in the Guestbook!    "Remember 1967 when you wrote a letter to the SFA ref to me kicking the ball off the line for Radlet.    Great memories.    Cheers mate."    Stroll on, Mike - that does come back to me now you mention it!    Weren't you a spectator at one of the other Radlet team's games, standing next to the goal and you went on "autopilot", saving a crucial goal?    Something like that, anyway!    As "Secretary", I was always writing letters to the Somerset F.A., trying to excuse another misdemeanor by our ultra-competitive "stars"!!    Pretty tame compared to some of today's standards of behaviour, though, methinks!!!    Thanks, Mike, for your "recollection" - is that ALL you remember?    Getting old, mate!!
STEVE HOOPER and ADRIAN LOCK - both of whom are Taunton postmen regularly delivering on a route that takes in my address - have also discovered the site and Steve was “inspired" (his words) to send in a photo to the Gazette of a Rowlyng team of the early 1980’s.    Adrian asked his mother to search drawers and boxes for any photos, details etc. and she has found a "Gazette" photograph of Rowlyng Under-12's in 1985.    It is now featured in the main part of this webpage - "thanks Adrian's mum" (how are you, by the way?)In the late 80’s JEREMY CHEETHAM was a regular player at the Boys’ Club.    He e-mailed to say,    “I’ve just found your website and just thought I’d say how good it was to read.    I never realised while plying my trade with Rowlyng how much history there was before me and my team.     I had happy years growing up at the club.    I’m also now an F.A. qualified football coach.    If my mind serves me correct I got player of the tournament in a 7 a side tournament in Lisieux, France.    My team reached the final, but we lost.    I can’t remember the score though.    We reached the final after a penalty shootout and I saved the first penalty and then we went on to win and go through.”
Here’s something from GARETH ACOTT .    He and his dad Robert before him were valued players “in the list” of old-boys!!    “Just found the site the other day!    So thought I would drop you a line to say hello and to thank you.    Looking at it has brought back some very fond memories.     It all came flooding back!    It seems so long ago.    It makes me realise how lucky I was to have been a part of such good times.    Anyway thanks again.    Whenever I see any of the lads that used to go to the Boys Club they all talk about it with great affection and I think most feel that it had a great impact on their lives.    What a shame there’s nothing like it about today.    It's just a shame that I was there when it all finished and as a young lad at the time I remember feeling very bitter because it had been a big part of my life.    I think I must have been going there for about ten years but as they say times do change!    Gareth.    PS - dad says hello!”In early 2007, I was delighted to receive a very kind e-mail from STEVEN TANNER - a member of the U-12's Championship-winning team of 1983/4 (the "Hung Dang Era").    Steve was serving in the armed forces at the time.
I myself do not play football anymore - I'm more of a rugby man now.    To be honest, I'm lucky if I have one or maybe two seasons left in me.    I don't get to Taunton much anymore as I'm serving in the H.M Forces, plus my family live in the North East so I spend all my leave there - it would be good to get in touch with some old pals though I must admit.Ray, I must thank you personally for making my childhood so exciting - if it had not been for your commitment and hard work, the club and football would have never exsisted and my time as a kid would have just been boring.    I hope that you continue to update your site with good memories as I will now frequent it.    Many thanks."
That was really very kind of Steve to say those things about the Boys' Club.    I recall him being a friendly, outgoing lad with a cheeky grin, popular with everyone at the Club.    It was for lads like him that we existed and became so popular in the town.    Very sadly, not long after he sent me that e-mail, Steve lost his life in a road accident in Germany (22nd May 2007).     He was only 35 years of age.     He will always be in my, and that Rowlyng team's, memories.    Thank you Steve for being a super guy.
Stevie's brother created a website in his honour - you can visit it here    What a popular gentleman Stevie was.
Going back now to the 60’s and the Radlet teams that were so successful.    PAUL HARPER was a regular member of the squad throughout.    He’s now a Head Teacher in Somerset and e-mailed me the following.    “Ray, I enjoyed the site.    I have to say, I remember the match but I have never seen the photograph.    I think I made my debut (for the Juniors) at Taunton Green and I think I scored a half volley after a long cross field pass from John Rees.    We were playing a Lyngford team with Kit Morley in it.    I can’t be sure though.    I remember a game that was finished early because it was sleeting and freezing cold, also at Taunton Green.    I remember dislocating a finger at Victoria Park and just strapping it up and playing on.    Do I remember playing a Bishops Hull team and winning convincingly when we only had nine men, is that right?
Finally, I remember being in a cup final at Wordsworth Drive, but I can’t for the life of me tell you who we were playing or if we won.    I can tell you what I wore to the game though because it was a tailed coat and other various bits and pieces and a huge pair of brogues with matching ribbons to the kit.    John Scott laughed so much he cried.    I also still have a runners-up medal for one of the leagues.....happy days.    All the best.    Paul Harper.”
MARK COOK also most kindly messaged me with the following comments.     “Hi Ray.    Didn’t know about this website till I saw the paper this week.    Glad you have taken time and remembered.    And glad you remembered my father John Cook.    It would be great to get all players together for a reunion - what do you think?”“Opponents”, MARK STRUTT (Galmington) and NIGEL KIRKLAND (Hulan) also found time to get in touch a little while back.    Mark e-mailed, “I have just spent a fantastic afternoon reading through your site.    I played for Rowlyng's main Taunton rivals Galmington from 82-88.    Your site has brought back some great memories and I thank you for that.    A very close school friend of mine Nicky Mason-Walshaw was one of your star players as I recall.    We used to swap tales on a Monday of the weekends games.    I remember losing the title to Rowlyng (U-12's) at Priorswood Park a few days after winning the cup at Wordsworth Drive.    Can't quite recall the goal Hung scored, I was a centre half back then so I guess I should have marked him a little closer!    Thanks again Ray for a great read.    Regards, Mark.”
This is what Nigel said: “I'm Nigel Kirkland.    Now live in Hampshire and visit family in Taunton every now and again.    On the most recent 2 occasions I walked our dog around the football pitches at both Hamilton and the Rowlyng local - Priorswood.    Just reliving those moments - you know.    The dog didn't seem overly interested!!    I heard that John Mac. died a short time ago, yes? - he couldn't have been very old.    I used to go to his house in the early days of Hulan to assist picking the team with another guy.    To see those photos featuring Messrs Gardner, Troake, Manley, Marchant, Garland etc. was quite something.    I guess they're all as slim now as they were then.    Haven't seen any of those guys for about a million years.    Mind you I may not have recognised them when I do walk around the town - all of us now oldies but hopefully goldies.    Really enjoyed your site.”Thanks to you both and glad you remembered the clashes you had with our teams!!!
I have received an e-mail from KELVIN HASLER - a founder-member of that very first Radlet team back in 1963.     He's retired to live in France and sent me this photo of him enjoying the Gallic sun - to remind you all how he was back in the swinging sixties, there's a second image to enjoy too!!!     Marvellous to hear from you, Kelvin.    Thank you.
One of Radlet's very best players - who went on to play for Taunton Town - is ROY SULLY.    I am delighted to say that Roy has been in touch with me following a major operation to replace his hip.    Roy says, "Ray, nice to see the website, it brings back many fond memories for me.    My footballing career started at Bishops Lydeard, at a place called Sandhill Park.    After a period of time, I got to know some lads and used to meet in the Wimpy bar in Taunton on Saturday mornings, and after a while I met you and although you said I could join, you could not guarantee me a place in the side.    I took my chance, and the rest is, as they say, history.
A bike ride or bus from Lydeard dependent on the financial situation, and Radlet here we come!!!.    Some wonderful times, what with the cricket as well, I’m paying for it now, cartilage operation, dislocated shoulder, epidural needle in my back, and to crown it all I’ve just had a new left hip.     Some might say was it all worth while?    'Course it was.
Oake Manor Golf Club is where I’m found these days playing of a handicap of 13, along with other old footballers and cricketers.    Seems the natural thing to do these days, better than going up town shopping with the missus.    I’m 54 now, and live at Sherford Road, Taunton and enjoy a glass of red wine!!    Have your readers guessed who I am?    Kind regards.    Roy"
How can we forget Roy's fantastic goal-scoring exploits for Radlet?    A complete natural striker in every respect.    Great memories, Roy - yes, I remember only too well my Saturday morning visits to the Wimpy Bar - and to let you into a secret, of course you were guaranteed a place, but we didn't want to show too much excitement at this top young player wanting to play for Radlet or else some other local manager might have beaten us to that signature of yours!!    Thank you very much, Roy - it was really great to receive your message.Another Bishops Lydeard connection now.    JOHN REES has been in touch through my Guest Book.        He says - "Hi Ray.     I spent last night in the company of Roy Sully.     He told me about your website, so I will be catching up with all news and history asap.     I must endorse the views expressed that my time spent with Rowlyng and Radlet were happy days and evenings.     I am now in my 32nd season with Bishops Lydeard AFC, after playing and managing the sides.     I still get a huge buzz from just helping out at the club.     Well, off to today's game.     Best wishes.     John Rees.         Thank you, John - an extremely accomplished player who was instrumental in the success of the Radlet teams in the late '60's. It's very pleasing to hear from you after all this time!
A much appreciated message was sent to me by COLIN GARDNER M.B.E., who was instrumental in the setting up of the Taunton Sunday Youth League in the early 1960's.     He was also a much respected referee whom Radlet F.C. were always very pleased to see striding out to referee one of our matches.     His imposing figure exuded authority, true impartiality and a genuine affection for all the players.     Colin went on to bigger things, of course - being the highly respected Chairman at both Gloucester City and Forest Green Rovers.     His well-publicised illness sadly meant his leaving Forest Green a while ago.     Colin's message to me says - "Good luck Ray and thanks for the memories.    I remember the early days of the Taunton Sunday Youth League and the formation of the senior section, the Sunday League.    All the early clubs like yourselves deserve recognition for the work you all put in.    Thanks for the memories".     Thank YOU so much, Colin - if it wasn't for you I've a feeling local football on a SUNDAY in Taunton may not have got off to such a successful start.     Very sadly, Colin passed away in July 2010. This kind and generous man will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Colin Gardner M.B.E.
Early in 2010 I was contacted by email by two "original" Radlet players, JOHN WOODWARD and TERRY NORMAN.     John (ex-skipper in Jim Dodd's days as manager) said he had "bumped into Mike Berryman our goalkeeper from way back then and he told me about your website - nice one, Ray" - and hadn't recognised him!     Hey, John, we're all getting on a bit now, you know - I'm double the weight and two-thirds the height that I was in the 1960's!!     John still sees Jim Dodd now and then, by the way.     Thanks for taking the time to get in touch, John.Terry, whose photo with Frank Munns is the first on this webpage, wrote as follows - "Good morning PUD.     You probably don’t want to remember that name now, but then that’s what we called you, and it stuck with me anyway.     Trust you are well and probably well retired now, good for you.     Thought I would get on the email and fill you in as I don’t think I have seen you for about 35 years.     In those far back days after playing for Radlet Rangers, I left and joined Monkton then Cobblers on Sundays.     Saturdays, I left Taunton British Rail and joined Bridgwater Town (playing for the Colts and Town Reserves but the first team only in friendly matches), then moved down to local Sunday teams in the Bridgwater area to where I had moved.     Retired from football at the young age of 30 to concentrate on playing squash which I still play, now being a Masters international playing for Ireland (my mother came from there).     I haven’t come across any of the old players for years and years, apart from Dave Dodd occasionally, so if you have any email address of Radlet United/Rangers teammates please pass on to me and I can make contact.     Again, hope you are well - thanks for reminding me of those times.     Cheers, Terry Norman.     PS - by the way, do you still have the old moving picture films.     I recall you filming United v Rangers at Obridge!".     Thanks Terry - wow, an international squash player in the ranks of the Radlet "old-boys".     Congrats - how does your Somerset accent go down over in Munster, Terry?
No, of course I don't mind you referring to my knick-name which stayed with me from the mid-1950's until I retired as Rowlyng Club Leader in 1991.     I get my revenge by featuring a more up-to-date photo of you, Mr Norman, in squash mode!     It's the first time in years that I have been addressed that way though.     If any Radlet old-boys would like to contact Terry, please email me and I will pass your email address on to him.     Finally, Terry refers to my 8mm cine films of Radlet F.C.     Yes I do still have them, including that 3-minute classic of the Raymond Poole Challenge Trophy pre-season match between Radlet Rangers and Radlet United.     The second photo on this site, just below Terry and Frank's, shows David Eele (captain of the Rangers at the time) holding that magnificent trophy which was won the day before!     Oh yes, that Cup rivalled the Ashes urn in size as the smallest in any sporting rivalry.     I joke, of course, but honestly, it was all I could afford back in the days when my monthly wage packet was under £19 (before tax).     Great hearing from you Terry - international star of the squash court.
Terry Norman - Irish Masters Squash International in more recent times
It is sadly unavoidable that, over the years, we lose fellow players both young and old to illness, accident or simply old age, of course.     I have mentioned the sad passing of Steven Tanner, but there are others too.     The very first involving our teams was Dennis Hocking who contracted a serious viral illness and died back in the early 1970's.     One of the founder members of Radlet Rangers, Colin Matthews was only in his 50's when cancer took him in the 1990's.     Richard Woodman passed away not so very long ago.     Lads who were not necessarily footballers but who took part in many other activities at the Boys' Club are also be remembered with affection, like Ian Forward who entertained us all so much on a Club coach/camping holiday in Spain and France in 1971 following a painful disagreement with a sharp tent peg.     And Jimmy Stewart too, of course.     Returning specifically to the footballers, Dale Jones and more recently Adam Chorley are also no longer with us.
Claire Barras (Claire Ivey in the "Rowlyng Years") contacted me remembering her brother DAVID IVEY.     She wrote, "I have just been reading your site on Radlet and Rowlyng football and what a lovely surprise to see my brother David Ivey's name on it.     He played football in the 70's.     I can well remember.     Sadly Dave died in 1995 of leukaemia.     It has been along time since Dave passed away - still miss him every day.     He was always a smiling, happy man and led a very fullfilled life.     What a lovely site and a joy to read.     Many thanks to you.     Claire."     Claire, I too recall Dave as a happy, smiling lad despite him not featuring in that many winning games - I think he played during one of our many not-too-successful periods!     Thanks so much for getting in touch with me.John Paterson contacted me in connection with his late brother ALAN (Scoop) PATERSON.     He e-mailed, "I was interested in the photos that appeared in the Gazette.     I did not play myself, but my late brother, Alan "Scoop" Paterson had a great interest in the game!     I seem to remember Scoop helped run a youth team at the old Railway ground, at Obridge.     You may have heard, or even knew him?     We were from a large family that lived in Wedlands.     May I say what a great website you have!     It was a pleasure looking at it.     Regards, John Paterson".     "Scoop" was one of those genuine people who live long in the memory, John.    Of course I remember him with great affection.     A large guy with a kind, gentle manner who was always friendly with everyone he met.     Scoop was closely associated with British Rail FC - which was a very successful club in town, on a second tier below Taunton Town FC., but above the local clubs like ours at Radlet etc., and of course as you say, British Rail FC played at Obridge.     Scoop knew many of the good young footballers who played on a Sunday for us and on a Saturday for him and the Rail club.     He was the face of experience and us young adults really looked up to him for advice and a friendly word - and we always got it from him.     I have one little story about Scoop which will make you smile, I'm sure.     After England won the World Cup in '66, an official film of the tournament was released to be shown in cinemas all around the country.     It was called "Goal", I think.     Several of us young guys and girls always went to the cinema every Sunday evening as a group of about 10 or so.     This World Cup film was scheduled to be shown at the old Gaumont but as it was so popular we had to book seats in advance.     Scoop said he'd love to see it, so we invited him to come with us.     He did - and when in the queue he informed us that he hadn't "been to the pictures" for years.     We had great delight in telling him that films were "talkies" now, and Scoop and all of us disolved into fits of laughter.     Anyway, Scoop enjoyed the "talkies" so much, he became an honorary member of our Sunday Night Group, and he joined us regularly at many of the latest releases in the coming months.     Quite a film fan was Scoop, thanks to that World Cup!
It was great to recently meet NIGEL GRAHAM again.     He turned up at my house to quote for the replacement of some guttering!     I had no idea that he was the man behind one of the town's major firms involved with such things.     He recognised me - I didn't recognise him!     But that isn't unusual, as most of the lads I knew who were in their early teens "back in the day" are now middle-aged guys with a somewhat different look (usually less hair on top and more hair on face!!!).One of the most pleasing contacts of all occurred not too long ago.     I was absolutely delighted to receive an e-mail from "The Pint-sized Saviour"!     Yes, LESLIE HARLOW .     The lad who introduced the Dodd's to Radlet FC and myself, and more than likely saved our fledgling club from sinking into oblivion.     Les e-mailed, "Hi Ray.     Its been a long time.     Mother came to visit me here in Dubai and brought the Gazette with her....what a surprise to see myself and even more so with hair.     I hope you have been keeping well.....are you in touch with any of the other guys in the photo.     I lost touch with most after leaving Taunton in about 1972 since then I have spent 8 years in Scotland, 2 in Tunisia ,4 in Switzerland ,15 in France and latterly have been sharing my time between Dubai, Brazil and Tanzania .     Just for the record, I have one daughter - a marketing manager with international sports equipment company living in France, and a son - who for his sins is looking after some of my companies and is based in east Africa.     I believe Chris Mitchell lives in Bermuda and I did catch up with him a few years back.     I understand from mum that David Dodd is still in Taunton but I was unsuccesful trying to find Phil Bargery a long while back.     Give me any news you may have on the rest of the team.     Regards, Leslie Harlow." Wow!     Now that really is something else.     From Radlet Close to Dubai and Brazil!     What an achievement, Les.
Les then sent a further e-mail enlarging somewhat on what is an amazing life and career.     I'm sure you'll be interested in what he said.     "In France we had a spell in the Languedoc, nr. Béziers, 4 years in Geneva right on the French border, and about 15 in Annecy, Haute Savoie and the Hautes Alpes.     When I left Taunton I spent 8 years in the oil industry in Scotland, attaining the position of Materials and Logistics manager for a major company and then establishing my own business basically hiring out myself and others to look after logistics for oil exploration co's worldwide.     This took me to some very interesting countries and furthered my love for travel.     When I decided to settle down a little and start a family I set up a company in Geneva to supply oilfield equipment and based myself in that area.     This continued until the kids were gone and Dubai came on the map as an extremely attractive tax base for trading co's.     At that time it was also a very nice place to live for the winter months and still is, although it has gone a bit "Disney for adults".I said in the introduction to this webpage that I am sure that I have, due in the main to failing memory, missed several Radlet/Rowlyng teams, plus any number of players, out of this saga.     Here's evidence of that with a message from JOHN WILLIAMS.     "Hi Ray.     My name is John Williams and I've just spent an enjoyable hour reading about Radlet Rangers.     My brother Peter and I played for Radlet Reserves in the late 60's / early70's; you make no mention of this successful Division 2 team!!     I played in goal; Peter was a half-back.     Peter and I qualified for the team on residency grounds - we lived in Radlet Close (no.8)!!     Other more notable players were:- Bobby Deekes, Bobby Holland, Roy Holland, David(Dutchy)Holland, Gerald Edwards, Geoff Edwards, Terry Norman, Steve Edwards and Derek Birch.     I don't think I still have a team photo - I'll ask if Peter has one.     In the late 60's I would occasionally play for Radlet if Mick Groves (then goalkeeper) was unavailable.     I think the Reserve team came about because there were so many of us Williams/Edwards/Holland's. etc. not getting a game.     Certainly Jim Dodd was Manager of Radlet - I think Johnny Woodward actually organised the Reserve team.     We also played at Priorswood, presumably alternating home games with Rangers.     I left Taunton in 1972 and spent the next 27 years working abroad (Terry Norman and his wife came and stayed with me in Gibraltar in 1984).     Retired at 50, came with my wife to Cornwall twelve years ago.     I don't see much of Peter - who still lives in Taunton - but he rang me to tell me Richard Woodman had died and this led to him telling me about your site.     Please give my best wishes to Terry Norman - I was Best Man at his wedding!     Best wishes, John."     It's quite an achievement of mine not to remember the Williams's - who actually lived in Radlet Close!!!     They are a quite unique group of lads, these Radlet-ites!     I calculate that they number only 9 in total.     Thank you, John, for this "lost" information - I'm most grateful.
BILLY HUNT , a fine footballer with Rowlyng in the 1980's, and a very pleasant young lad, I recall, has sent a message too.     He said, "Ray, thank you so much.     Scored the winner in Oostvoorne 1986.     Wish I was still playing!!!     Went on to play for Taunton Reserves when they had a good team, Westy, Andy Payne, Mark Mckenna, so can't complain.     Still live in Taunton, mate - working as contracts manager for an electrical company.     Nigel Frounks called me to tell me about your site, bloody brilliant mate.     Keep up the good work.     I will follow it closely. Bill".     Thanks, Bill - it's good of you to get in contact.This is from IAN WARD.     "Hello Ray (Pud).     My name is Ian Ward (I was nicknamed "mouse").     I have just had a very enjoyable few hours trawling through your web page.     I actually played in the 1974/75 u-13 team with Marc Fielding, Andy Margetts and Colin Merrick.     I remembered the 4-3 game against Staplegrove.     "Pilsbury" (Marc) soon after went to Hulan).     I also remember a very cold game against North Petherton with the manager screaming at Andy Margetts ("Fins") that he should take his hands out of his shorts and use them, cos he was in goal!     We lost 14-1.     We had another really close match against Creech St Michael that we narrowly lost 21-1 and they let us score the 1... but as you said the Staplegrove match was the turning point and I'm pretty sure we beat Galmington 9-2.     Thank you for bringing back some treasured memories.     I left Taunton in 1980 and moved to Barnstaple.     I am now employed at Saunton Sands Hotel.     I think most of us had a great childhood and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Panda Pops and endless Dr Hook were no small part of it.     Cheers.     Ian".     I hope that all the e-numbers in those fizzy drinks didn't do you too much harm, Ian.     You weren't one of the over-active ones, "allergic" to the additives were you?     No, I don't think so!
There are always lads whom the adults at the Club tend to remember more than others.     Some for good reasons, a few for just the opposite.     Well, here is one member of both the Club and the football teams who was most definitely in the former catagory!     MARK JONES (WHITEHOUSE) was a real credit to the Club.     A genuinely likeable and pleasant kid who was extremely popular with just about everyone.     It was always a pleasure to have Mark around the Club - this is what he says in a recent message to me.     "Hi Pud, enjoyed reading & remembering the great times I had.     Looking back and being a lot older I realise what a sacrifice was made by you & all the mum & dads.     I'd like to thank all and especially Dave Northcott & Phyllis, Ann Holcombe - there were others who had a influence on me.     The Boys' Club give me my 1st job as bingo checker, nerve racking but great character building.     Dr Hook! Burnt into my mind, thanks, but had great nights out using the club facilities.     I made my 1st trips abroad - France once, Holland three times - brilliant !!     Looking back, the club gave me such great opportunites and experiences.     Many thanks,     Mark".     Thanks a lot Mark, I really appreciate your special and invaluable contributions to the club's history.     It's so typical of you to make such kind comments about the Club, its adult leadership and helpers during your time there.DAVE YARDE was one of the most invaluable servants of the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys' Club in more than one era.     After playing for Radlet FC., he returned in later life, with his own sons, to help Rowlyng establish itself with the very youngest squad of players.     A very accomplished table-tennis player in the local leagues, Dave's sporting prowess extended further than being a very good goalkeeper and team man.     Dave says, "Hi Ray, hope you are well.     Just had a phone call from my sons to inform me of your website.     Browsed through and when I can gather my thoughts I will send you a longer email updating how things have gone and will try to find out some photo's.     Dave Yarde".     Many thanks Dave for all you did over the years.
I was delighted to receive a telephone call from ALAN ROGERS, who was the successful manager of several Rowlyng teams in the 80's.     Alan remembers the many happy days he spent with the club and fondly recalls the talented youngsters who represented his teams back all those years ago (although, like many of us of a certain generation, many of the names have slipped our memories!!).Alan also brought some really excellent news about the sadly neglected old Rowlyng F.C. clubhouse on the Priorswood Estate, where so many of the players spent hours and hours of their youth - including Alan's son NEIL ROGERS.     The old "Rowbarton/Lyngford Boy's Club" in Selworthy Road.     Thanks to the initiative and extremely hard work of a number of volunteers and people in administrative positions in the town, the old place has received a 21st century spruce-up and 2012 has seen it re-open in it's former glory on a number of evenings every week.     So, it is now also the home of what I guess is an admirable reincarnation of the Radlet & Rowlyng Football Clubs' role in the area - Taunton North Youth Football Club.     Here are a few photos taken at the official opening of the Taunton North Youth Club in April 2012.     You can see how the Club has been greatly improved - most certainly the torch has been passed on to a very enthusiastic, capable and hard-working new generation.     Thank you all for inviting me to the Opening Ceremony and for the very kind things you said about my time at the Club.
Neil is now emulating his dad's 1980's Rowlyng role by taking charge of some of the Taunton North teams along with Gary Griffiths amongst other Rowlyng "old boys".     I am absolutely delighted to know that the old place is returning to the fray and is once more making a contribution to the social life of an area of town I have had strong emotional ties with for over 50 years.     Oh boy, I wish all those now involved with the Club the greatest of success in the tough years ahead.     It's absolutely wonderful that you want to be the people to help restore our local Club to what it undoubtedly was back "in the day".     Then, in 50 years time the kids of today may well recall the days they spent there with as much pleasure as many of the old-boys of Radlet & Rowlyng do now.     Good luck to all of you.     You thoroughly deserve it.     Taunton North Youth Football Club - the Next Generation.     Sounds great!
Going right back to the early days now.     There were two occasions when our Clubs reached the pinnacle of youth football in Somerset -the Final of the Somerset County Youth Shield.     This was for us the "holy grail" - almost like winning the Champions League!!!!     Sadly, of course, the pinnacle for Radlet & Rowlyng was actually a metre or two from the summit, as we lost both of those finals.     But it was a great experience both in 1968 and 1971.     Those two matches (well, it was three matches actually as the 1968 final went to a replay) link two "old-boys", BARRY GEYTON and CHRIS BENTLEY, who have also been in e-mail contact with me.Barry wrote "Ray, I have just found your site, it brought back memories.     I played for Rowlyng u'18 in 1970/71, playing in County Final against Peasdown.     I was the one who missed a header when we were one down.     I remember we all went out after the Taunton final against the Junior Leaders a few days after.     I am in contact with Graham Gardner on Facebook.     Now running a pub in Herefordshire, but still visit Taunton to see my parents.     Played Somerset Senior League football for Harptree in the 80s.     I would love to hear from any of our 70/71 team.     The match I remember most from that period was an away Somerset Youth Cup game at Blagdon, near to Harptree, where I was to play a few years later.     We went by minibus and got changed in a pub skittle alley.     At one end of the ground the pitch fell away and when a shot went wide it travelled down the hill towards the lake.     I seem to recall Guy Lowton was dropped off in South Road and laid on the road in front of the bus.     Great times, most of the lads from that side either went to Huish's or Priorswood and I was really close to Brian Harris and Rod Troake at that time.     I have had contact with Graham Gardner on Facebook recently, and with Terry Beale a couple of years ago on Friends Reunited.     My dad still lives in Taunton and has bumped into Shane Fox and John Rees recently.
"I have local football & cricket teams who use the pub (The Tump Inn, Wormelow).     We use local beers and ciders where possible - Wye Valley Brewery and Westons Cider.     We have not seen the ghosts but had a Paranormal Society stay the night in 2007 and did a report on their findings.     The most unusual thing is that when the gas gets turned off in the cellar, I am the only one who changes it.     I hope you are keeping well, you have done a great job with the website.     I saw a post on the guestbook from Nigel Kirkland - he went to the Isle of Wight Pop Festival with Graham Gardner and me in 1970 as our parents all worked on the railway and we had free travel by train.     It would be great if we could organise a reunion of some of the former players.     I still have that Somerset Youth Cup medal from 1971."
Chris commented "Hi Ray.     Wow, what a site, I stumbled across it whilst looking for something else.     I found names there that I remember well, but may not have seen for years.     One thing that stands out in my mind (a discussion I had with Dave Dodd a few years ago) is going on the coach to the replay of the Somerset Junior Cup Final in 1968, I was about 13 then (I’m now 56) which we lost.     I myself had a bit of success starting in 1990 forming Shepherds Wednesday which became Galmington F.C. 2 years later, taking them from division 5 to division 1 in about 8 years and making many new friends through the beautiful game.     I remember taking on Rich Tutill as a 15 year old, bringing him into men’s football and signing another name you mention - Troy Tuck.     Memories came back when we reached 3 Somerset Junior Cup Semi Finals in 4 years losing all of them.     I myself have a bit of history for the 16 years the club run, but nowhere the detail you have.     Well done Ray, I will be telling a few of the older guys to have a look down memory lane.     Best regards, Chris Bentley".     Thank you Barry and Chris for your contribution to this journey into the past!     I wonder if any of the Club's "old boys" will be passing by the Tump Inn in Wormelow in the future and maybe stopping for a pint with Barry.     Congratulations, by the way, to Chris on his recent success at the 2011 Bodyshop Magazine awards for his services to the repairs industry.It’s also very rewarding to read the comments about the Boys’ Club itself.    In many respects the work put in there day-in and day-out was of even greater importance than the football.    What is sad is that I do not have the records of the several thousand lads (and girl-friends who attended all the regular social functions etc.) who came to the three times a week sessions over the 20 years I was Club Leader.    The majority never played for Radlet or Rowlyng on a Sunday - they came to enjoy the complete package, so to speak.
Such comments on the Boys' Club have been received from a stalwart of the Club, GRAHAM CHAPMAN.     Graham was a footballer of some distinction, but he also played a big part in general club life as well.     Along with others, he helped out at the twice-weekly bingo sessions which entertained many of the local residents and contributed in a massive way to the funding of the Club.     Without which would have more than likely meant the Club itself closing on more than one occasion when Local Government funding was cut, reduced and even withdrawn altogether.     Graham posted the following in the Guestbook: "Hi Pud, what a great idea to spend the time to design this website for all our great memories through our younger great football days.     Great to reminisce and to read the amount of players that played over the years.     I wish we could turn back the clock and do it all over again.     WHAT A GREAT TIME WE HAD!!     SO THANKS TO YOU ALL THAT MADE THOSE TIMES SO MEMORABLE AND FUN."    Thanks for those words of appreciation, Graham.     I wish I had a £5 note for every time I've heard an Rowlyng "old boy" say that they wish they could turn the clock back!     We can't of course, but it's great that so many of you are able to re-live those oh so very happy times.     Graham, you were a loyal and trusted member in all aspects of the Club, and for that, I was - and still am - extremely grateful to you.The lads who helped at the twice weekly Bingo sessions for the adults of the area - we raised literally thousand of pounds for the Club there (hey, we didn’t think about passive smoking then, lads, did we?!!)    The dozens of lads who came to think of the Club as an extension of their family and who became my good friends - remember the Annual Christmas Decorations being put up every December?    Balloons by the hundred!! In this respect, the short message in my Guestbook from club stalwart DAVID JAMES is very relevant.    He along with Marc Fielding, Martin Needs, Ken Traske and I spent a fortnight touring California in 1980.    What a journey into the unknown that was!!!    In those days - what a thing for a small club in Taunton to organise and attempt.    David was also a great help with several Rowlyng teams, as well as the supplier of lots of music to accompany Club nights.
Here are three photos taken at an Annual Dinner of the Rowbarton/Lyngford Boys' Club, held on the Club premises in Selworthy Road somewhere around 1974/5.     The photos are unique in that they feature, as well as Rowlyng footballers, Boys' Club members who were not footballers at all - lads who were valued members of the general club who attended many of those enjoyable thrice-weekly Club evenings back in the 1970's.     My grateful thanks to Lee Brogden for "rescuing" the photos!     More than half of the lads in the photos have been (correctly, I hope) identified and listed below.     Those whom we can't put a name to are indicated as "? ------------- ?", and I apologise for their omission.     So, can YOU help?     Do you recognise anyone and know their names?     Indeed, are you, in fact, one of the "unidentified"?     Do please contact me by email if you can help.     And, of course, are any in the photos incorrectly named - that's always a distinct possibility, due to my age and powers of remembering!     Any other photos out there somewhere that you have and can be added to here?
OK, OK, as requested, here's a couple of me! On the left, I was outside Craven Cottage on 5th September 1964, ready to watch "my" team, Fulham, defeat Manchester United 2-1. My hero, Johnny Haynes scored for Fulham, Denis Law for United - and, yes, George Best & Bobby Charlton both played that day.
On the right, I'm modelling the very first Radlet Rangers kit which had just been purchased, in the Autumn of 1963. Yes, I know.....the legs!!!!!!
In 1965/6, Radlet Rangers - now a men's team - joined the 2nd Division of the Taunton Sunday Football League, making a slow and inauspicious start.     One of the members of that team was GEORGE THOMSON .     He has been in touch through my Guestbook.     George says, "I remember my short time with Radlet Rangers.     I was a soldier at RPO Taunton when Jim Ling persuaded me to play for you.     You were bottom of the 2nd Div when I joined during January.     We got promoted.     I remember you filming games but never saw the results.     My best wishes to anyone who remembers the little Scotsman."     Thank you for your recollections, George.     Yes, I was an avid amateur Super-8 cine film buff back in those days!     Goodness knows where those old 4 minute reels of film have gone though.     Good to hear from you - hope you are keeping well.A welcome contact has been made via my guestbook and email with PATRICIA ATKINS (née BEST) .    Pat Best (as we knew her back in the early '60's) lived in Radlet Close, was one of the earliest supporters of the fledgling Radlet Rangers team and was very much an integral part of our close-knit group of young teenagers back in those distant pre-Beatles days.    Her message in the guestbook says: "Congratulations on your website Ray, it certainly made me smile with lots of memories of the 1960s and Radlet. Hope you are well".    And, in an earlier email to me Pat says: "Hi Ray - or Pud as I remember you.     It's been many years since we all used to meet and support Radlet Rangers.     I remember us all at the park supporting all the boys.     I'm still in contact with Sally Hasler Westney, also John Westcott, so I get lots of news from them.     The website is really interesting, and brings back loads of memories from the past.     I always remember you riding your bike to Radlet Close, and that you were fixated with football.     I live in Hampshire, and have done so for the last 40 years, but home is still Taunton.     Regards Pud - or should I say Ray.     Patricia Atkins née Best".     It's really lovely to hear from you Patricia - you were great fun to be around and certainly enhanced and livened up our times together.     Thanks for taking the time to contact me - it's greatly appreciated.
Pat's message was quickly followed by this from one of Radlet's most delightful young ladies - SALLY WESTNEY - Sally Hasler as she was back in the swinging 60's.     I am sure most of my contemporaries around that time would have known me as Pud - so it's great that Sally feels that she has to continue the tradition!!!     Sally wrote:     "Hi Pud. Sorry, can't think of you as anything else!!!!     Just been reading your website...at last!!     As I met up with Pat (Best) recently and had a good catch up, we were talking about old times.     I still had the cutting from the Gazette which I showed her as I'd also sent a copy to Kelvin in France.     I never knew you went to Priory Junior School!! - which changed to Archbishop Cranmer where I was teaching, but is now St.James.     I think one of my parents' mums said she lived near you.    I did smile when I read Les Harlow had a crush on me!!     Bless - now he tells me!!!     Haha.     Send him my best wishes.     Well, I trained in London but came back to teach in Taunton.     I have two children - my son lives and works in London and my daughter lives in Taunton and works at Musgrove.     I hope this email finds you well and happy...happy memories.     With love from Sally Westney (Hasler)".
Earlier, I explained why the Rowlyng U14 team in the 1972/3 season, although spectacularly unsuccessful, was the team I looked back on with the greatest pleasure.     One of that team, MARK STEVENS, has been in touch on the Guestbook.     Mark posted:     "Hi Ray.    It was great to read through your website and the memories flood back.    I remember that U14 side so well, we did enjoy our football.    I haven't seen any of the lads since I left Taunton in 1977.    Hope you're well.    Mark".     Thank you, Mark, for taking the time to send your thoughts.    I'm OK thanks - getting older by the minute, with the aches and pains to prove it!!
Thank you, too, to SIMON HILL who was a valued member of both the Boys' Club and Rowlyng.    He has contributed to the Guestbook as follows: "Hi Ray, great website!!     Had many a fun night at the boys club playing 5-a side, pool and table tennis.     Remember fondly the trips to Holland etc.     Just a great big thank you to the likes of Tony Emery and Pete Rose for all they had to put up with and of course all you guys who ran the tuck shop etc".
Yes, Simon, those Dutch trips "back in the day" were the highlight of the year as far as many of you were concerned.     I think I've said on other occasions how that what is now just a quick trip across the Channel seemed like a journey into the unknown for many of you!!!     I still have contact with a number of those wonderful Dutch people who made us so very welcome in both Oostvoorne and Spijkenisse over those years.     Also, of course, I echo your comments about the volunteers who manned the "Canteen" at the Club - serving up all those calorific, sugary snacks and fizzy drinks to fuel you all and keep you on a "high" charging around inside and out!!
That's all for now!!
Thanks a lot.