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Say What You See - Training

What do old photographs get you thinking? Geoff Wicken gives us a stream of consciousness on a shot from 1973.

"Early 70s’, pre-season – it must be pre-season, the grass never looked like that once they started playing matches on it. Mike Keen’s the manager, and that’s John Farley with the crinkly hair, they sold him to Wolves when it turned out he was pretty good, so it must be 1973/74.

I remember liking those shirts, thought they were quite up-to-date with those black collars. Although I don’t really remember the badge being right in the middle. I suppose we pay more attention to that sort of thing nowadays. And I’d forgotten the double stripes on the shorts – those were a bit weird.

They all look happy, maybe just smiling for the camera or someone just cracked a joke, but that was a happy sort of season. Good fun with Billy Jennings scoring all those goals. About the only one around that time, mind.

There’s Walter Lees, Duncan Welbourne, Pat Morrissey…Laurie Craker – always wanted him to do well, but he was unlucky with injuries. And Leo Markham! Scored at Plymouth once when everyone ended up on the floor in a goalmouth scramble and he crawled to the ball stuck on the goal-line and kneed it in! Or so a mate told me. Wish I’d been there to see that.

A couple there that I can’t put a name to – young lads who didn’t make the first team, maybe. Ah yes, Billy and his teeth at the back. The scoreboard – ‘Never a quarrel, bet with Coral’. Never understood why they installed that. No-one forgets the score while a match is on, do they? The numbers were on a reel, so when a goal was scored they got wound on. I often used to turn and watch that. It only went forwards, so if they made a mistake they’d have to wind the reel all the way up to 10 (ten! What were they thinking?!) and start again.

There was always lots of room on those terraces then. You could pick your spot, move around, hang over the barriers. Happy days. When they opened the exit gates about 20 minutes from time some people would walk in to watch the rest of the game.

Crikey, 47 years. It still all seems quite fresh, but…47 years!"