Having returned ‘home’ to Shelley after eight years to take part in the Steven Robinson Memorial Football Match on Easter Monday, I felt I had to pay tribute to Steven Robinson for the ‘Extra Time’ this game had given me.
Never did I think that in my 49th year, would I ever set foot on Shelley Recreation Ground again, let alone kick a football again!
But I did just that playing for the Shelley players of the past, against the Shelley players of the present in the annual match in memory of Stephen Robinson, a fine Shelley footballer who died in such tragic circumstances in 1991.
Shelley Past won 5-1, but the result was unimportant; long may this fixture continue.
I looked at the Shelley Past side with pride, team-mates I hadn’t seen for years, I also looked at the Shelley Present side with pride too, there they were keeping the Shelley football tradition going, a tradition that I had the privilege to be part of for 20 years.
I began playing for Shelley when I was 15 in the days of Alan Strefford, Stuart Wadsworth, Jimmy Andrews and Geoff Barden.
Sadly Geoff Barden (Jedro) passed away only recently.
He was a bustling centre forward who tormented the opposition’s defences with his no-nonsense style, scoring loads of goals. As a result the football club were promoted to the Second Division.
Harry Rose was the secretary and I can recall the famous incident, when in one game, the referee threatened Harry with a bottle!
There was also a mysterious incident when one Friday night someone chopped the goals down at the top end of the football field. Brian Matthews came to the rescue, and made emergency repairs on Saturday morning so the game could go ahead.
The mystery of who was responsible has never been solved!
The football club faltered the following season and they were relegated back to the Third Division and sadly the club folded for a few years.
However, football in Shelley re-emerged again with Shelley Sports Club on a Sunday thanks mainly to Stuart Archer (Chocolate) and Shelley AFC reformed again, thanks to another Shelley stalwart, Ashley Berry.
I had the privilege to play with both those teams and with so many talented local footballers, Stephen Dodsley (Doddy), Glyn Parker (Bear), John Masters, Mick Harrison and David Hanks (Crommer or Rocket Man, Rocket Man? Please don’t ask me why?) but to mention a few.
Those were the great days and on Easter Monday, I relived them all! I could even picture in the distant past, some of the regular spectators, who are no longer with us. Frank Wadsworth, Harry Metcalfe, Ernest Pearce, Lawrence Matthews and Clifford Howe.
Home C.A Whats On Local History Village Interests Sport Village Links And just like yesterday, some regulars were still there on Easter Monday, Alan Sheffield (Charlie). Rollin Peel, Willie Meech and Lindsay Burgin, it seemed as though time had stood still.
My playing days came to an end in 1985 at the age of 34 when I felt the time was right to hang up my boots.
That year we were promoted to the second division, I won the Player of the Year Award in the process, I ended where I’d begun 20 seasons earlier.
The side was managed by the one and only Stuart Armitage (Chip) who incidentally, while playing for his employers’ side, Reliance Gears in the Works Cup Semi-Final scored the best goal “I ever did saw” in local football.
Steven Robinson was part of that promotion winning side, it was the only season I was fortunate enough to play with him, but he had been my friend, neighbour and working colleague for many years.
I shall never forget him, he had given me my ‘Extra Time’.
On Easter Monday evening, sat at home, which is now Pocklington, York, with a glass of red wine in hand, nursing an odd ache or two, I relived a lifetime of Shelley football.
I wallowed in nostalgia, as the shadows stole the light, and the clock hands came together to place Easter Monday among all my yesterdays.
Am I a sentimental old fool? Nah! Just shirt button popping proud to have had a part in it. It had been a memorable day!
And one day, could I come back at a grander age than I am now, for a final
‘penalty shoot-out’? Extra Time
by Stephen Fletcher Course I can, the temptation will have been too great to miss!
Steven (Robbie) Robinson, Thank You for all those memories.
God Bless you!
Shelley Village Magazine, June 2000.