Last Man Standing

Hands up if you were rubbish at sports? If you were, welcome to my world. I was the guy who was always the last man standing against the wall when they selected teams at school.

It Never Bothered Me

It never bothered me and I never gave it another thought. Well, not until I was older and read somewhere that they’ve banned that kind of thing in schools. I can fully understand how it can have an effect on youngsters, particularly the more sensitive ones. I had no ability for sport of any kind, but I knew I could draw and most of the sporty types could not. Therefore, I always thought that I couldn’t be good at everything and that made me feel ok about it.

Footballing Family History

What was unusual about my circumstances was that I came from arguably the biggest football family in the U.K. Word had got round when I started at ‘big’ school that my Dad’s cousin, Cliff Jones, was playing for Tottenham Hotspur at the time. My friends knew it and they knew that my Dad had played for England Schoolboys football team before being offered professional terms with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

They Could All Play

My Grandfather had played in the Welsh Cup Final in 1922 albeit on the losing side against Cardiff. His brother, Bryn had transferred from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Arsenal in August 1938 for a world record fee of £14,000!! It was considered a huge sum at the time and was taken up in parliament. In fact, all the brothers played professional football with clubs ranging from Everton to Southend. My Dad declined to take up the offer at Wolves, but the war played a big part in that. Another of his cousins, Ken, played professional and went on to be a sports journalist for the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The Independent.

George Best or Formby

So, you can see, with this sort of pedigree it was always thought I would have some decent ability for playing soccer. It just didn’t happen. I wasn’t really interested in the game, give me a guitar or pencil and paper and I’m good to go. I can understand the disappointment of the sports teachers when they thought they might have a future George Best on their hands only to find they had more of a George Formby! Perhaps I’m what they call the ‘runt’ of the breed? Most of my school days were spent fending off questions about why I was such a goof when it came to playing football. It never bothered me. Everybody is good at something, we all have our own talent. It just needs a little nurturing.

All my Dad’s family and their sporting achievements can be found here.

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21 Comments
  • librepaley
    December 6, 2019

    You had a wise head. Against all rational thinking given I never even made any effort, I used to hate being picked last for teams.

    • admin
      December 6, 2019

      Thank you. 😉

  • angloswiss
    December 6, 2019

    That was interesting. To have so many good footballers in the family is quite an achievement. I was a bit of a football fan, and remember the sixties well when Tottenham Hotspur won everything. I believe Danny Blanchflower was the captain at the time. My team was West Ham United, and also Leyton Orient. as a girl I had no chance to play the game at the time. I was also a total failure on the gymnastic side of school, but I found my chance when I could play hockey and even made it into the school team. It was the nearest I could get to a football career.

    • admin
      December 6, 2019

      Thank you, yes Danny Blanchflower was the captain. I don’t think I made any teams. 🥴

  • Peter's pondering
    December 6, 2019

    I’m one of those strange beasts who doesn’t even know the rules of football. Never been interested. Perhaps being a country boy with no close neighbours played a big part in my lack of interest, plus going to a rugby playing school!

    • admin
      December 6, 2019

      I’m similar, Peter. I didn’t know what offside was until I was around 40! Thank you

  • Brothers Campfire
    December 6, 2019

    I am glad I found your blog! Excellent read!😊

  • Paulie
    December 6, 2019

    I was also one of the last ones picked for a team (here in the States it was baseball, American football and basketball). The problem for me was that I enjoyed sports and was disappointed at being one of the last. Once picked I was stuck into a position where the team captains figured I would do the least damage.
    Looking back, my problem was an overall lack of self-confidence. Once I became an adult I learned that I wasn’t the terrible athlete that I’d been made out to be.

    • admin
      December 6, 2019

      I can understand the confidence thing. I used to see guys playing football who were not much better than me, but because they had confidence, it carried them through. Thank you, Paulie.

  • Invisibly Me
    December 6, 2019

    The biggest football family in the UK? I didn’t know that (did I, am I being ridiculously forgetful?). I can certainly see the pressure from something like that, with so many in your family not just playing, but playing well and finding success with it. Did you ever get pressure or words of disappointment, anything like that from your family? I’m glad it didn’t bother you that footie wasn’t your thing. As you say, everyone has something and you can’t be ‘good’ at everything. I also don’t think skills and interests are things embedded in your genetic code. x

    • admin
      December 7, 2019

      Yes, there was a lot of pressure when I was young, Caz, but as I grew older and wiser, I realised that at the end of the day, you must do what you want to do in your heart. Thank you, Caz.

  • This is great took me back. These days it’s more about which football cards you draw from Fifa20.

    • admin
      December 7, 2019

      You’re right, thank you.

  • susiesopinions
    December 6, 2019

    Wow, I kneel down to your family. Just watched the Millwall and Nottingham Forest match on the tele. I am a fanatic.

    Glad you enjoy music, and you should be proud of it.

    • admin
      December 7, 2019

      I am proud, thank you, Susie.

  • amanita
    December 6, 2019

    I was an absolute zero at sports and always elected last. When I got wiser I ran for elector so I couldn’t be elected, or not elected, any more😄My bigger trouble was my mother who despised me for being not the sports type.
    Yes, Germany has still those methods of electing teams. Each country raises the people it wants. In Germany it’s people with trustworthy and witty looks who don’t care to tell the most impudent lies with the most innocent expression on their face😄

    • admin
      December 7, 2019

      Thank you, Amanita

  • SueW
    December 10, 2019

    I’m not sure how I missed this one Trev. Wow, what a family history!
    My dad was really into football as was one of my brothers who coached a Small town local team.
    As a child I made up a team as did other kids on our street. Growing up I lost interest and never regained it. My husband had no interest whatsoever and neither has my son.

    Funny how we turn out.

    Great post Trev 🙂

    • admin
      December 10, 2019

      Thank you, Sue. I’ve never bothered with it. I went to a few football matches with friends at school and some my Dad would drag me along too, but I always found them cold and uninviting places. I was never one to get involved with the tribal connections that some football fans have. I know there were school friends that would have given their right arms to be in the position I was as a youngster. But there you are, you’re right, it is funny how we all turn out. I’m happy and consider myself blessed every day. There’s much more to life than kicking a ball around.

  • luisa zambrotta
    December 11, 2019

    Interesting
    One of my cousins played in our Italian national team
    ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️

    • admin
      December 11, 2019

      Wow, Luisa and Italy have always been a formidable football team. Thank you.

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