As a feature writer of articles for the EFL League 2 club Crawley Town FC football programme I draw on my collection of old programmes, press cuttings and ephemera to compile a “Retro” article in all of our home matchday programmes.
As a buyer and seller of Stamps, Postcards and Ephemera in my day job for Reynard Collectables I am used to not throwing anything away in the hope that it might come in handy one day (in fifty years time!) consequently it was always second nature to me to keep all my old programmes from around 60 years of supporting the “Red Devils” (our nickname since the early 1960s). However I also kept raffle tickets, match tickets, match reports, car stickers………you get the idea.
However after a few seasons of articles, fresh material is always needed and I have been lucky to be given or loaned several fine photo collections by the children of Crawley players from the 1950s. Also our club shop supremo Ian Hands (Sports Programmes) was always a big help in providing me with other material. Sadly Ian passed away quite suddenly a couple of years ago, but in talking to one of Ian’s sons Darren I was able to get access to more material for future articles and this included a single photocopied sheet Darren said might be of interest.
On closer inspection it was a team sheet for a local Crawley youth match on 29th April 1981 and lists the Crawley Cubs Representative XI for their match against the mighty Crawley Traders (Playleader League Champions 1981 no less!!).
On closer inspection and with England’s current World Cup campaign in Russia in mind I was surprised to note one Gareth Southgate (of 4th Worth Scout Troop which still has its hut right by Gareth’s old school) in the team as a central midfielder when I suspect he was about 10 years old? I knew Gareth was brought up in Crawley and went to school at Hazelwick Comprehensive but had never before seen any documentary evidence of his potential as a top class player. As some may know he went on to start his long and distinguished playing career with Crystal Palace and representing England as a player before working his way up as a manager to his current impressive performance as England manager.
Although not born in Crawley he did spend much of his childhood in the town and completed his education here, unfortunately though not representing the local Crawley Town team at football before moving on to Crystal Palace youth team.
We do have a Crawley Town connection in the Cub’s team though as Ashley Cook went on to play for the club and Darren Hinton was the son of Marvin Hinton who most famously played for Chelsea from 1963-76 winning an FA Cup medal and also the European Cup Winners cup in a career of over 340 games for the club. Towards the end of his career and after playing for Barnet, Marvin finished his long career with a couple of seasons at Crawley and still lives in the town (I saw him at the shops only a few months ago!).
It would be interesting to know how some of the other young players progressed in their lives, maybe one or two will pop up in the future but I think with his latest exploits Gareth qualifies as our most famous “old boy” even if he was born in Watford, he learnt all he knows in the town! He beats others such as BBC presenter Dan Walker (thankfully still a Crawley Town long distance fan) and The Cure who were formed while at St Wilfreds comprehensive school in the town, and Daley Thompson was a Crawley resident while winning his Olympic decathlon titles.
I must start searching for more ephemera relating to them for selling in my on line ebay and delcampe stores, but have added a scan of the Gareth Southgate Cubs XI teamsheet and also a very early picture of The Cure shot locally.