Sunday 15 December 1974 (Sunday League Division Three):

  Box Hill 0  

  United Reserves 14  

1 Hooper
4 Armitage         5 Wiffen         13 Pygas         21 Irvine #
20 Cranston         12 Toal         15 Burns
10 Parkin         14 Phillips         9 Ward

(# Sub - 11 Steel)

  What sticks in my mind most about this game is that, for long periods of time, we were actually on top. Notwithstanding the fact that this was our heaviest defeat in the league, there were times when we seemed to be camped out in the other team's half, doing everything except score, while the United lads only needed to touch the ball once to hit the back of our net. In fact, sometimes they didn't even need that, as this game was marked by at least two own-goals from our defence, a trend that was to continue over the next few months, as if we didn't have enough problems.

  The defence was particularly makeshift on this occasion, and even more so in the second half when Yours Truly replaced Dave Irvine at left-back, to allow Pete Steel a game, the least we could do after he'd turned up as sub.

  I think it was this day that really brought home to me - at last - that Box Hill didn't have any real excuses, we just weren't good enough. In spite of all the enthusiasm and expectation when we'd started, there were five or six players, including myself, who, at that time, were simply not strong enough or fit enough for the Sunday League. Also, the attitude of the team was becoming increasingly quarrelsome, the players all blaming each other for the side's results. Perhaps this was inevitable, given the team's poor record and the fact that we no longer all saw each other quite as often as before. For me at least, the job was becoming one of damage limitation every week; Les and I were by now spending Saturdays chasing about the town, rounding up players for the following day, and getting precious little thanks for it, while the players who continually bitched at me about how poor the team was were blissfully unaware of my rather controversial theory that they, rather than I, might in fact be the cause of the problems. Maybe, if we'd all been a few years older (and, perhaps, if we'd all lived in the same town), we could have called a meeting or something and talked it all through a bit more rationally, but that was not something that crossed anyone's mind back in 1974, and so the club appeared to be visibly disintegrating around us. I desperately wanted the side to get a few wins before the end of what would surely be our only season, but it was becoming increasingly clear that new players would be needed for that, or even for us just to fulfil our fixture obligations.

  Just over a week before this match, the last ever episode of Monty Python ("The Most Awful Family in Britain") was shown for the first time.

Next page, the League game at home to Dales.

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