Sunday 11th August 1974 (Friendly):

  Hackness 10  

  Box Hill 0  

1 Hooper
5 Wiffen         7 Hayward         4 Armitage         2 Bailey
15 Burns         12 Toal         6 Slade         11 Davies
10 Parkin         8 Hodgkinson

  It's difficult to convey in words the effect that this game had on us. We'd hoped we'd be a good football team, and believed we were at least a decent one, but to discover we were as bad as this can only be compared to finding out Father Christmas doesn't exist.

  The game was played three days after Nixon's resignation as President of the USA. It took place - the game, that is - on a hastily marked-out cowfield, as the Hackness Stadium had not yet been fully commissioned. Wooden sticks were used as goalposts, there were piles of dung all over the field, and a clump of stinging nettles down one touchline gave an added incentive to stay on your feet. None of that, nor the rather weak side we had out, could justify what was a complete shambles on our part against a team which, on the basis of the games at the Tip, we had felt were certainly no more than our equals. On this occasion, only Norman Parkin looked anything like a footballer. Chris Hooper let in a soft goal from long distance early on, and from then it was just a matter of how many they could be bothered to score. The high spot of what was a blazing hot afternoon was when the ice cream wagon rolled up beside the pitch, and the game was suspended for the purchase of 22 cones. A quick pause to eat them, then it was back on with the slaughter.

  I think we all felt humiliated after this one, our first outing in the tangerine shirts, but at least it did serve to concentrate minds on the task ahead. Hopefully, we would do better next time.

  That evening, Rob Davies and I went to see the then fairly fashionable Leo Sayer at the Floral Hall, where we sat next to Neil Reid (the then child prodigy who sang that awful "Mother of Mine", for those with long memories), who was doing the summer season there. Remember when Leo Sayer was fashionable? Remember the Floral Hall? Great days, indeed.

Next page, the Six-a-Side against Home Guard Club.

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