Lensbury & Britannic House – 5th XV

1218I moved into my current house about nine and a half years ago. Amongst a few things left behind by the previous occupants was the a team photograph of a rugby union team. This was found either in the attic or an outbuilding – I really cannot recall which. I have held onto it as because of its age. It is possible that some photographed here may have no other pictographic record of their existence.

For some time I have been meaning to do some research with a view to passing this on to someone who would have a real interest on the photo. Today, at last, I am doing this.

According to Wikipedia:

The Lensbury Club (“Lensbury Social and Athletic Club”) was established in 1920 as a sports club for Shell staff in the United Kingdom … In 1933 the club merged with “Britannic House”, a similar club operated by BP, and created a joint venture known as the “Lensbury and Britannic House Associated Clubs” – an arrangement that lasted for thirty years.

If anyone would like this photograph, please contact me and we can arrange collection or delivery. It deserves a better home than my garage, where it has lain collecting dust and cobwebs.

The picture here is poor – it is mounted on card and the card has a slight curve on it. It does look its age, but otherwise is in reasonable condition.

Anyway, here is what is written on the card.

SEASON 1935-36

G. Lightfoot (Referee)
E. J. Hart
J. Murray
C. G. Deck
I. B. Nicol
E. A. Cowderoy
M. J. Cooke
N. A. Graystone
S. Hunn
J. D. Meeke
R. L. Leisk (Vice-Capt.)
P. R. Chorley (Capt.)
J. Button
H. F. Williamson
R. G. Haws
I. Rennie



Free girls football training

I am always happy to encourage girls football. The following email dropped into my inbox earlier today:

I am trying to promote girls and ladies football in your community for all ages. I am working on behalf of Trinity Youth Football Club based at Garons Park behind Kids Kingdom.
6 months ago Trinity Youth set up a development academy for girls of all ages and are hoping getting teams out for the new season in September. Trinity Youth already have an U16 girl’s team competing and over 20 primary school girls training every Saturday. All training sessions, tournaments and friendlies are FREE of charge. All the coaches are qualified, DBS checked and very friendly with a lot of patience.
I have attached a flyer to this email, is it possible you can promote Trinity Youth development by forwarding this email with the attachment to all your members.
If you would like to know more, please contact me.
Daniel Moores
FA Inclusion Advisory & Child Welfare Officer

Qatar, play by the rules


Playfair Qatar

Death & injury

To date, almost 1000 World Cup workers have died in Qatar and many have been injured.

Low pay & no pay

Workers are paid as little as 45p an hour and some employers withhold wages.

Trapped in Qatar

Workers need permission from their employers before they can leave Qatar.

No defence

World Cup workers in Qatar are unable to join forces and defend themselves.

British players for British teams?

David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, has spoken out about foreign players in the Premier League. My first observation on his latest outburst is that in thirty years of involvement in local football in Southend-on-Sea and surrounding areas I have not encountered Mr Amess once – I do question his footballing credentials. But setting that aside, I guess he is entitled to his opinions in spite of his distance from the sport.

He says that we (England) will never win the World Cup again if we have all these overseas players. I am unconvinced that our international failures are linked to the nationality of the players in any division. A look back at our international record shows just the one success, and that was in large measure a result of hosting the 1966 tournament. All those past failures were set against a backdrop of league teams largely consisting solely of UK players.

Our current FIFA ranking of 20 suggests that the recent performance in Brazil was about as expected. We are not entitled to success, and featuring in the latter stages of many international tournaments is beyond the expectations of many countries.

Foreign-born players feature in all levels of football, including the grassroots. If Mr Amess wants to boycott teams that include foreigners why stop with the Premier League?

I also wonder whether Mr Amess’s objections extend to foreign-born political advisers, because if they do then he ought to have a word with his boss.

As for the high pay, is there an irony in a representative of a party which has a laissez-faire approach to economics now advocating restraint in the salaries of high earners?

Europe ascendant

It is over, the Brazilian festival of football concludes with a triumphant Germany overcoming a less than exhilarating Argentine team. On the way they saw off a below par Brazil, and their toughest matches came against African opposition: a draw with Ghana in the group stages and an extra-time victory over Algeria in the second round. Germany are fitting winners, the best team prevailing in the world’s most popular team sport.

England were disappointing, leaving this correspondent pleased that he could fall back on his Belgian ancestry. To be honest, the best games to watch were those that did not include England, who proved that you can have the world’s most exciting league and the dourest national team simultaneously.

Here is a list of world cup winners and host nations. A couple of things are immediately noticeable, the main one being that this years was the first occasion that a European team has triumphed in the Americas. The other is that the last three tournaments have been won by European teams, and that has not happened before either.

Winner Host
1930 Uruguay Uruguay
1934 Italy Italy
1938 Italy France
1950 Uruguay Brazil
1954 West Germany Switzerland
1958 Brazil Sweden
1962 Brazil Chile
1966 England England
1970 Brazil Mexico
1974 West Germany West Germany
1978 Argentina Argentina
1982 Italy Spain
1986 Argentina Mexico
1990 West Germany Italy
1994 Brazil USA
1998 France France
2002 Brazil Japan and South Korea
2006 Italy Germany
2010 Spain South Africa
2014 Germany Brazil

Service before self – exemplary recognition

001On Tuesday evening I was one of a number of people who picked up an award at an event organised by the Essex County Football Association. The venue was Chelmsford City F.C. and it was pleasing to see so many friends have their prodigious efforts acknowledged.

I am not going to name-check everyone who I knew there, if for no other reason than I am bound to forget someone. However, I will mention Nick Janes who I sat with. Nick, a thorough gentleman, is someone I have known for many years. His career in football is a testament to the referee’s motto of ‘service before self’. Anyway, my mere twenty-nine years in football administration pale in comparison.

It all began with a conversation with a work colleague, Mark Ward (Marcus). Marcus, a member of a non-playing band the Kippars (with the anarchist circle around the ‘a’) was a reasonable footballer, whilst I was just this side of hopeless. Anyway, Marcus and I had tried a number of other enterprises – we had written a fanzine (Confidential Waste, which only lasted one issue) and had sold some of Nasty’s clothes at work (Nasty was a punk clothes shop in Clifftown Road). We began thinking about sport, and football in particular, and decided to try to see whether we could get enough friends interested. With alarming speed we had gone from conversation to impromptu gathering at Priory Park, to deciding we could and would form a team.

Marcus had gone to Southchurch boys high school and we both were working in Victoria Avenue, and so we settled upon Southchurch Victoria F.C. as our name We had to go for cheap kit, and so we opted for green shirts, black shorts and socks, in the hope that this was least likely to clash with other teams. My memory fails me when it comes to our change colours, but I do recall that the cheapness of our first kit meant that it was very itchy. We eventually acquired a new set of shirts, cast offs from Ekco Sports Club. (When the club became Methane F.C. the club colours changed to something similar to what Blackburn Rovers wear – blue and white halves.)

I was made Secretary, this would have been in Spring 1984, and we applied successfully to join the South East Essex Sunday League. After a season I decided to look into becoming a referee, and in October 1985 I qualified as a Class Three referee, By 1989 I was promoted to Class One.

Fast-forward to 2013 and I find myself awarded an Exemplary Service Award, and my footballing widow (and now politics widow) was there to see Lawrence Segal present it to me. This is awarded for twenty years service to the beautiful game. I will soon be eligible for the Outstanding Service Award, for although I quit refereeing in November I am still on the Executive Committee for the Southend and District Borough Football Combination and have the role of I.T. Officer. One becomes outstanding after thirty years, although I may have to wait because my refereeing career was interrupted twice.

I hope I have not allowed my ego to make nonsense of the referee’s motto, for aside from this award it has been a story of turning up and enabling many young people to enjoy their sport.

Fitness and foxes

I sit on the board of Active Southend, being appointed after my election as councillor last year. This is chaired by Cllr Derek Jarvis and brings together various sports, fitness and health groups. I am on this body as a councillor, but do have a sporting interest as I have been involved in local football for almost twenty-nine years. Although now retired as a referee I still sit on the executive of the Southend Borough and District Football Combination.

At yesterday’s meeting I sat next to someone from Active Life and had a brief chat about that organisation before the meeting formally commenced. A number of topics were covered and when the discussion on obesity unfolded I confess to feeling somewhat sheepish. My lack of exercise and fondness for food has left me overweight, bordering on obese, and I have been making resolutions for many years to do something about it. Crisis is an overused word, but it is appropriate when considering the weight of the collective British. Many of us are fat, and we are getting fatter. Active Southend hopes to play a role in reversing this disturbing trend.

In the evening I caught the train to Westminster to attend a Fox in Parliament meeting. Here I met the ‘other’ Angela Smith. Prior to the 2010 General Electi0on there were two Angela Smiths in the House of Commons. The former MP (and now Baroness) for South Basildon and East Thurrock is well known to me; meeting the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge was a first. Discussion covered the impending badger cull, as well as the likely vote to repeal the hunting ban next year.

The badger cull is a tragedy, best explained by Team Badger. The repeal of the hunting ban is a step towards barbarism. This government is not animal friendly.