PART 3: The Chair and Promotion

By Bill O’Neill



The first job I tackled as Chairman was to sort out the lines of communication regarding the manager. I knew that Mickey Hunter was not happy being answerable to the management committee generally. It had been to “cosy” and to easy for them to pass the buck so from the 1st August 1968 the Manager was directly answerable to the Chairman.

He selected his own team and had full control of all team affairs. He discussed with me the terms of new players he was bringing to the club for me to approve. The only resignation re the new structure was John Gilmore the Treasurer.

Article3pic2I had known Mick since 1941 when our families moved to Boreham Wood to escape the bombings in London. His father Len and my dad were friends both using the Crown public house and when Mick’s Mum Peggy was having a go at him I sometimes got a clip round the ear as well.

Our close season project at the club was the erection of a three hundred foot long covered terracing on the far side of the ground, again constructed all by volunteer labour. There were some committee who only wanted a one hundred foot long terracing and others who wanted a two hundred foot long terracing, and as Chairman I came to a compromise and gave them what they both wanted a three hundred foot covered terrace.

I prepared and submitted drawings and waited for the storm to break, if you have a good look at the stand and imagine it not being there you will understand my apprehension in obtaining planning permission.

We were now a football club with a good social following and not a social club with a football team. This did not suit a lot of people at the time. It was said that without the football their beer would be cheaper. My answer was without the football their would be nobody to serve them. At this stage all of the bar staff were volunteers.

Come the Start of the 1968/69 season our third in the Athenian league. Mick had made some new signings during the close season among them Les Varney, Jim Noble, John Smith, Bill Belsen, who was soon made captain. Mickey Jackson was re-signed from Aylesbury United.

We got off to a very good start, the whole season was an exciting race for promotion only getting beaten in four games we went into a storming finish by being unbeaten in the last eight. Mick mixed and matched, only four players Les Varney, John Smith, Tommy Rowen, and Bill Lloyd were still in the first team at the end of the season.

We tied on points with Aveley but were crowned champions on goal difference. The reserve team also topped their league with three more points than Aveley reserves. The first team did not lose at home all season and the reserves were unbeaten at home and away.

And so in my first year as Chairman we achieved double success and it felt good. I really looked forward to the Athenian leagueArticle3pic1 presentation dinner that year where we were to be presented with not one but two championship trophies, a good crowd from the club attended the league dinner and two big cheers went up as Boreham Wood were called up to collect their winning Trophies. The “Vera Lynn” flowed freely on the table that evening. I visited the Aveley table and I remember telling the Aveley Chairman I was going to buy a driving mirror to have a look behind at him now and again. His reply was unprintable.

The team management set-up was retained – Mickey Hunter as Club Manager and Vinny Cook and Les Baker as his assistants. At the start of the following season Mickey resigned but at the end of a four hour committee meeting all was well again so we started the 1969/70 campaign in the first division of the Athenian league.

The reason Mick decided to resign after a very long and successful season was I believe, that he thought we were not making the progress off the field as quickly as he was perhaps achieving on it.

I walked him around the ground just to remind him of what had been achieved during the six years we had been at the new ground and my exact words to him were “We could get relegated next year, but the work will still go on and would continue to go on regardless of the results on the pitch and in time the facilities would be far superior to the performances on the field but we (the supporters and committee) will still be here because this is our club”.

More new signings followed but Les Varney, the clubs leading goal scorer left for Enfield Town FC and he was going to be hard to replace. Among the new signings were John Sneddon, Jonny Higgs, Mick Harman, Dave Ellis and Reg Williams.

Next Week: Promotion again and the Resignation of Micky Hunter


The History of Boreham Wood Football Club, will be a weekly article that will run on this website and is being written by Club President and Founder Bill O’Neill. You can keep upto date with all the articles by visiting the “65 Years of Boreham Wood Football Club” under the First Team tab.


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