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johnh

A Sunday in 1968

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In 1967/68 I worked away a lot, so I missed football training on a Tuesday or Thursday, or both. To compensate,  I decided to start playing in the Leeds Sunday league. I played for a team in the Premier League (of about 10 divisions) and the standard was quite good as a lot of Yorkshire League players played for various teams.  The team I played for had about 7 Yorkshire League players.  In 1968 I moved house from Leeds to Bruntcliffe, just south of Morley.  This meant a three bus journey to play for my Sunday team, so I decided to call it a day.  Our house in Bruntclliffe backed onto a park and from my back bedroom window I could see a set of goalposts. I wandered over one Sunday to have a look.  The team, called Bruntcliffe, played in the Heavy Woollen League.  The standard wasn't brilliant  but I thought I would give it a go considering it was so convenient.  I had a word with them and said I was a centre-half.  Their captain was centre-half so I said I would play centre-forward.  In my first game we won 8 - 0 and I scored 6 so I was accepted in pretty quickly.

A   few weeks later, I was contacted by my old club who had an important cup game and hadn't got a centre-half.  As I was still registered, could I play. The main problem was that the Leeds League kicked off at 11.00 am and the Heavy Woollen kicked off at 2.00 pm.  Bruntcliffe also had an important game against the league leaders in Batley. The guy who ran the team in Leeds said he would take me in his car from Leeds to Batley after the morning game and I could play in both games. Reluctantly,  I agreed.  It snowed heavily on the Saturday night and there was two or three inches of snow on the pitch in Leeds, anyway we played.  After the game the guy who ran the club was as good as his word and drove me to Batley.  He dropped me off  and I walked to where we got changed only to be told that the game had been called off.  I nipped out, but the guy and his car had gone.  Batley is about 6 miles from Bruntcliffe so I walked down to the main road and asked a passing man did he know where the Morley bus went from.  He said that all the buses had been cancelled due to the weather, so I was faced with a 6 mile walk to get home. Now it is all uphill from Batley to Bruntcliffe, and when I say 'uphill' I mean uphill.  To make things worse, the snow on the footpath had started to freeze which made walking very difficult.  I had done about three miles, didn't see another soul or much traffic, so I  couldn't even thumb a lift.  Then I saw a guy walking downhill towards me and as he got level a big car drew up and the driver opened his window and called us over.  It was Eric Morecambe and he was wanting directions to Batley Variety Club.  I hadn't a clue but the other guy said he was going to Batley and would show him the way. So he got a lift with Eric Morecambe and I had to continue my walk. I finally got home and stayed in a hot bath for about an hour, then roast beef and Yorkshire pudding had never gone down so well.  Next morning, the news was full of Eric Morecambe having his heart attack the previous evening.  Sunday was 8 December 1968. Those were the days I couldn't afford to run a car!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

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