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.