Boreham Wood Football Club Chairman Danny Hunter, spoke this week about how a small boys club in Buckton Road, Borehamwood, will always have a special place in his and many Borehamwood people’s heart.
He said it not only affected his childhood in a positive way but gave him lifelong friendships, that have lasted over 40 years to the present day and a true sense of belonging to Borehamwood.
He explains in a club website interview with Grant Morris the clubs Media and Communications manager. How pleased he was too make Brookside Boys Club, the clubs chosen charity for season 2013/2014 and be in position to say a thank you to Dick and Vera Clarke in the hope it will make a small difference locally.
The football club initially started things off with a fund raising raffle at our 65th anniversary presentation and the Chairman said “it was so well received, we raised over £600 for the boys club, so decided to see if we could do a little bit more for them throughout this season”.
The club since that raffle subsequently reached the first round proper of the FA Cup and found themselves in a position to make a further cheque donation of £2,000. This particular donation is made possible by monies raised at last year’s Charity Shield, as all clubs who got to the first round proper of the FA Cup can access a funding pool.
The cheque presentation will be To Dick and Vera Clarke on the Meadow Park pitch before the Boreham Wood v Chelmsford City game on Saturday, 5th April. Boxing’s Former British, European and World Middleweight Champion DARREN BARKER, who has recently retired due to injury. Darren will be the guest of honour and do the honours of presenting Brookside with the cheque. It is hoped all local people of every age group, who have ever been associated with the boys club over the last 40 odd years, will attend to show their appreciation of such a great local club.
Danny Hunter said “I met up this week with Dick at the football club for the first time in years and it felt like I’d never missed a day. It was fabulous to see him looking so well and all the old memories came flooding back. The club staff loved him and his stories, as they showed him round our whole facility, the club has changed so much since he last attended but he told me he was most impressed with our New Stand. After the walkabout, we sat for an hour or two over a cuppa, reminiscing on the work he did and still does, about the three football tours to Germany, Holland and Denmark that he took my era on and the characters he has helped shape over the years… It was a fantastic couple of hours and in truth even after all these years I’m totally in awe of the man, his civic duty, his kindness, his energy and his unbelievable memory for the smallest of details, is simply amazing”..
Hunter went on “Dicks is now coming up 84, I think i first went to the club in around 1973, when the weekly subs for the whole week was a sixpence. Most of the kids who attended the club back then, went to the local secondary schools like Campions ‘the Champions’ or Lyndhurst, both of which are now housing estates and most were from the Leeming Road area.. Henry Veyden was the clubs founder and President, Henry was a lovely man who has since passed on but it was Dick and Vera who mainly looked after all us local kids”..
“We seemed to have more freedom back then and learnt to become independent i suppose at an earlier age. At the club we played snooker, darts, table tennis, some lads went on to box for the club, while some of us went on to play football. We had great times but we were lucky as we had great people wrapped round us at the club. The one thing we all had in common was our love for Dick, Vera, Henry and the club, though how they put up with us, heaven knows”..
Hunter continued “Dick’s son Steve, managed our football team for back then. We weren’t half bad and won a few trophies but as a team we were very close and our friendships have endured. The clubs reputation in the 70’s was known everywhere but mainly through the boxing. We had true boxing men like Johnny Berry. Johnny was the clubs boxing trainer, who along with Pete Houghton, produced great local champions like Dave Williams, the Frankhams and the Shinkwins. Brookside’s boxing talent back in the day was honestly renowned around the whole of the country at amateur level. Many of our lads went on to become great amateur National champions and in Dave Williams case, I believe only a detached retina denied him and the clubs coaches, a tilt at the world title but that’s how good Dave and the coaches were”.. Trust me we were all very proud of our club, these people and our town”.
Hunter went on “most of us as you can imagine, were all off the council estates and a bit rough around the edges but we wanted to do well and we were all close. We did i suppose looking back, want to have something to belong too and Brookside helped with that and our friendships. It was in truth without being too nostalgic, a very different world back then. We didn’t have sky sports, there were no computer games, no such thing as mobile phones or social media. It was about friendships, sport and going out with your mates. If you arranged to meet at 6:30 to go to Brookside or anywhere you turned up on time and your word meant something, if you didn’t turn up or messed people about, you didn’t keep your mates for long”
“Here’s a fact not many local people are aware of. It relates to the Southampton and England football player Adam Lallana. People should know that Adams father David, actually learnt his football like most of us down on the Brookside courts. Dave was a decent player in the seventies but perhaps lacked a little desire and pace in the tougher games. He had two great feet, a great engine, was a great lad and could score a goal or two. He passed on what he learnt at the club to his son Adam and no doubt Southampton got the benefit. We all hope England see Adam perform well at the next world cup but we shouldn’t forget it all started through his father, at Brookside Boys Club and on the boggy pitches at Brook Meadow”..
Hunter concluded “I’ve promised Dick that we’ll give everyone of his under 14 members a ‘free’ season ticket for next season. I’m also going to arrange with the help of some of my old Brookside pals ‘the old guard’, a reunion dinner dance around the Christmas time, to hopefully raise a nice few bob for the club and selfishly it will allow us all to catch up and pay tribute not only to a wonderful boys club that helped us all but to honour the people, who have made it such a special place to be down the years”..
Anybody who wishes to make a donation no matter how small to the Brookside Boys Club, (who are a registered charity), should contact Matthew Hunter at the club on 0208 953 5097. Every penny of your money will be added to the fund, you will also be recognised and thanked by being put into the football clubs match day programme as a contributor.