Today we welcome our good friends from Sutton United Football Club to Meadow Park, for this Vanarama South encounter. May I wish their Directors, Manager, Players and Supporters a pleasant stay with us and a safe journey home.

May I also welcome Dick and Vera Clarke, who oversee and help run a much loved local youth establishment, in Brookside Boys Club.

Today we honour their lifetimes work and their achievements as we look to raise some much needed funding for the boys club..

As a local boy, I went to Campions “the champions” Secondary School, which stood almost next door to the boys club. All the local lads it seemed who attended the school also attended the boys club.

We went there to either box, play football or just to meet our pals. It was an era of no mobile phones, no social media and just three TV channels BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. The art of making your own fun, of conversation, of loyalty and friendship, was normal practice and very much part of our mindsets and development.

Colour TV’s were only for the rich and no working class households ever had two cars as far as I can remember back then? Our mums all used the bus or shanks’s pony and they dragged us along to help with the shopping. Shopping was always a chore as groceries were put in boxes back then and the paper carrier bags always broke. Mini cabs to take your shopping home, was unheard off and the trip back home on the bus with heavy shopping was arduous.

Most households had smokers, who it seemed all collected cigarette coupons and most women collected green shield stamps while shopping and then traded their green shield stamp books, in for various treats. As I remember back then, us schoolboys were known as ‘Leeming Road’ and we mostly all went to Campions and Lyndhurst secondary school. Both of those schools have long since been turned into housing estates.

Our local rivals even though we were all Borehamwood, were the lads who lived on the other side of Borehamwood and they were known as ‘Manor Way’.

The ‘Manor boys’ nearly all went to Holmeshill and Furzehill secondary schools. Both of these schools like the secondary schools I mention above, were also turned into housing estates and as such the secondary education system that we all grew up with was ended..

Obviously as I have got older, I have watched our town change enormously. It has been stripped of much of its village identity. The iconic landmarks like MGM studios and our wonderful picture house ‘Studio 70’, were bulldozed in the name of progress and non descript housing estates and office blocks..

Anyway to finish my quick trip down memory lane.. The local secondary schools were closed one by one and are now replaced 50 years on with one huge super school. We now have more local housing estates than we can cope with and there seems more charity shops and coffee houses, than is healthy for any thriving and varied high street.

Our ‘village’ or ‘the Vill’ as we older residents still call the Shenley Road shops, has been replaced with ‘the town centre’ vocabulary that’s now used by our newer residents.

However apart from our football club and film studio, one thing amongst us has remained constant.. After the sad loss of Brookside’s Boys Clubs founder Henry Redman at the age of 88, who began the club in 1965. It was left to his trusty lieutenants Dick and Vera Clarke to carry Henry’s legacy and mantle on.

Through them the boys club is still going strong but in a modern world it’s obviously different. it has outlasted change and of course outlasted every Borehamwood secondary school.. So for me this much loved couple, are a shining beacon of what community spirit is, what lifelong friendships bring and what true public service actually does mean.

Dick & Viera ClarkPeople like Dick and Vera don’t exist anymore. Trust me when I say that when they made these two extraordinary characters, they broke and threw away the mould. Both are now comfortably in their Eighties and the boys club is still providing a valuable and much needed service and meeting place for so many of our local youngsters.

For us too be able to help raise funds for the second year running, is quite simply an absolute honour for me and our football club. I was lucky enough when I look back, to go on three football tours abroad with these people and this club.

The memories are still very clear and the friendships we made were it seems lifelong.

The club also had fantastic boxing trainers in Johnny Berry and Peter Houghton. John and Peter produced so many unbelievably talented, young and hungry boxing champions.. Our boys won junior and senior ABA titles, our boys went and represented England and to the commonwealth, European and Olympic games, they fought for British and European titles and its a legacy to be proud of.

We were proud of our club back then, we’re proud of its durability now. I know I’m very proud to still call Dick and Vera Clarke my friends after 45 years and hope you agree that certain causes are worth supporting.

Please put your hand in your pockets today and give what you can. Please find an extra few bob for our chosen charity, as you really are helping them so much. These two amazing people deserve our help, your support and in life it’s nice too simply do the right thing occasionally.



Anyway getting back to our vital promotion encounter today.

I’m having to write this before our vitally important trip to Bromley on Saturday. It means that I have no idea if the title is still in our own hands or if we’re now playing catch up again??

My gut feeling is that our dressing room has gone to Hayes Land and got us the result that we needed? The dressing room is both mentally tough and talented and as such it has my confidence.

By now with just three games remaining of our league season, you supporters like myself, are probably looking at every permutation and every twist and turn. As I’ve said many times before, we’re very focused as a club, we’re still full of confidence in each other, we have always known what our targets are and we’ve never wavered in our belief, that we will succeed come the seasons end..

We have enjoyed this seasons promotion campaign immensely. We’ve enjoyed being written off and at times the disrespect shown to us has been strangely therapeutic. We’ve also enjoyed our recent reconnect with both our old and new supporters alike and we’ve really enjoyed the ever improving home and away support.

So please stay positive no matter what happens today. Please remain behind the dressing room and team every step of the way and enjoy every minute of this journey. Whatever you have to do, please try and get yourselves down to Ebbsfleet next Saturday, it’s a tough place to go especially with their budget and we’re going to need a fans presence down there for sure.

I cannot promise you promotion but I can promise you, we’ll continue to give you everything we’ve got and this dressing room, set of players and staff are well worth the time and effort.

Finally whoever you support, let’s hope for an open, attacking game and may the best team win.

It’s over to you.



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