I Could Have Been Somebody

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Wik
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I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Wik » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:26 pm

I could have been somebody - a member of a special elite - a Burnley football player. One can only dream of lost opportunities.

It was a cold, bleak and austere winter day in January 1942. I was nine years old and had scraped a few pennies together to go on t'Turf.. I was bundled up in my Balaclava, scarf, jacket and mittens and stood behind the goal at the Beehole end. I was very cold, especially as I still wore short pants - my long trousers were still to come in late 1943.

Regular league football had been suspended for the duration, and Burnley were playing in the North Region War League.

We were all waiting for the players to come out when the Tannoy boomed.

"Would anyone like to play!"
!
Apparently many players were in the army and some were stationed in Yorkshire. Due to the weather.in the Pennines they had not shown up and Burnley were one or two men short.

Unfortunately I hadn't brought my football boots to the game and couldn't volunteer - a lost, and often regretted, opportunity.

I don't know whether the players showed up at the last moment, or if volunteers played, but we had a full team. I believe we won.

My memory of the game itself has gone. But what I remember is that at half time four St. John Ambulance Brigade men - each one holding a corner of a bed sheet - circled the pitch asking for donations for Burnley's Warship Week effort. We threw in our ha'pennies, pennies, thre'penny bits and bobs and tanners. Watchful boy scouts picked up the coins that missed the sheet. The town goal was 700,000 pounds, which was achieved, and subsequently Burnley adopted HMS Lookout.

Incidentally, HMS Lookout survived the War with the distinction of being the most bombed destroyer to survive the War. She was broken up for scrap in 1948.

During the War years my favourite player was Tommy Gardner. I thought he was a classy footballer. Does anyone remember him? I believe he played right half.





.
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Holmeclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Holmeclaret » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:29 pm

Some fascinating memories there, Wik. Thanks for posting.
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by randomclaret2 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:30 pm

You must be this board's most senior poster Sir ?

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Royboyclaret » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:45 pm

What a wonderful post, Wik. Incredible that we have someone who can recall the Wartime games.
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tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:55 pm

Great post ......I think he's putting things into perspective from the situation back then to the current one now. I'm hearing his words. "We Crack on" Fine Words indeed. And You are a "special"Somebody...

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by spadesclaret » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:26 am

Fascinating.

KateR
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by KateR » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:31 am

treasured memories, loved it and thank you for posting :)

Suratclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Suratclaret » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:08 am

Great post...thanks for sharing your memories of wartime football. I wonder how many turned up to watch the matches during the war.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by dermotdermot » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:22 am

This just has to be the the most uplifting post on this forum for as long as I can remember. Many thanks.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by dermotdermot » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:24 am

Fantastic thread title as well.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by beddie » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:16 am

What a great read that was. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by chekhov » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:32 am

Wik that was fascinating. Any more recollections of your Burnley childhood that you’d like to share? I could certainly read more!

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Redbeard » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:34 am

According to the Clarets Chronicles, sir, we played two home games that month; beating Bradford City 3-1 on the 10th with goals from Jackson, Brocklebank and Bright, before destroying Stockport County 6-0 on the 24th when Gardner and Brocklebank got two each with the other goals coming from Jackson and Kippax. :)
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superdimitri
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by superdimitri » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:38 am

Gardener was a long throw specialist in the days when balls were a lot heavier.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by lancastrian » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:01 am

I am probably three or four years behind Wik and can remember Tommy Gardner. He was a crowd favourite.
If my my memory serves me right he played outside right a similar position to Mathews and Finney.
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Stalbansclaret » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:53 am

Brilliant post......thanks for taking the time to write it.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Lord Beamish » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:05 am

Too often, History is considered to be about Kings and Queens, Wars and Battles, Political upheavals, Turmoil and Strife. Whilst this is the framework of History, the really interesting stuff is the lives of the everyday person and peoples. That, after all, is what life is all about.

Thank you, Wik, for giving us an authentic and personal slice of life during far more testing times than this.
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CleggHall
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by CleggHall » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:05 am

Wik you are Somebody, a damn good writer with a damn fine memory.
Many thanks for brightening up the day.
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tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:27 am

CleggHall wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:05 am
Wik you are Somebody, a damn good writer with a damn fine memory.
Many thanks for brightening up the day.
The chap in the JP Hartley Advert springs to mind... anything on Fly Fishing? :D

Stanbill05
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Stanbill05 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:00 pm

Might be the lockdown playing with my emotions, but that literally felt like my long gone Granddad talking to me. He was a fantastic story teller too. Great read Wik, much appreciated here.

He would tell great stories and then break out into song or whistle a tune. Great memories. Keep safe Wik and come back on here soon.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by evensteadiereddie » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:01 pm

Superb stuff, Wik. Exactly what this board's for. Top post.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by yTib » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:04 pm

pure class.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by gawthorpe_view » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:59 pm

HMS Lookout is still remembered via the Burnley detachment of the sea cadets.

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by LS7 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:19 pm

Absolutely brilliant. Would love to hear more. Wik did you stay in the area ?

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:31 pm

Brilliant. I wonder how some of the Millennials would fare in such times?

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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Stalbansclaret » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:19 pm

Volvoclaret wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:31 pm
Brilliant. I wonder how some of the Millennials would fare in such times?
For a start they would probably title the thread "I could of been somebody" :(
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Wik
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Wik » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:36 am

I just want to thank everyone for their kind, informative and complimentary remarks.

Some have asked if I have any more memories of the War years - I have a few.

After some research the game I talked about was on January 24th - that being the day Warship Week began throughout Britain.

I remember that during the War years the Clarets weren't the Clarets - the players wore white shirts with black shorts. Probably because the football shirt makers were busy making army uniforms.

Like many young boys I wanted to help Britain win the War. One way was to buy National Saving stamps and I did all sorts to earn for those stamps.

I ran lots of errands - long queues everywhere. Every Saturday morning I waited for an hour at the gas works to fill and carry a very heavy sack of coke to a neighbour - and for 6d thought I was well paid.
I also collected old newspapers for recycling, and roamed the back streets searching for bones that dogs had left - bones were used to make glue for aircraft manufacture.
Took and sold old discarded clothes for recycling to the scrap dealer down Calder Vale.
Saved our kitchen scraps for the pigs.
Delivered both morning and evening newspapers seven days a week.

I was quite the miser as I assiduously saved my money and filled my National Savings book with those beautiful stamps.

At the end of the War I did finally become an employee of Burnley Football Club - albeit for only a couple of hours a week.
I sold programs for both the first and reserve games during the 1945/46 and the 1946/47 seasons.
I was given the favoured spot under the Culvert - possibly 60% of supporters came up Yorkshire St and passed under the Culvert.
It was a great job. I could watch Burnley every Saturday afternoon for free and it was very easy money as supporters thronged onto Turf Moor after the War with gates of 50,000+.

In 1947, I'd a choice to make - to watch Burnley or play football on Saturday afternoons. No choice really - I enjoyed playing football and often played Saturday morning for the work's team and for a youth team in the afternoon. Saturday night was for dancing.

Looking back I'm amazed - I'd a lot of stamina and energy in those good old days.
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tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:54 pm

Wik wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:36 am
I just want to thank everyone for their kind, informative and complimentary remarks.

Some have asked if I have any more memories of the War years - I have a few.

After some research the game I talked about was on January 24th - that being the day Warship Week began throughout Britain.

I remember that during the War years the Clarets weren't the Clarets - the players wore white shirts with black shorts. Probably because the football shirt makers were busy making army uniforms.

Like many young boys I wanted to help Britain win the War. One way was to buy National Saving stamps and I did all sorts to earn for those stamps.

I ran lots of errands - long queues everywhere. Every Saturday morning I waited for an hour at the gas works to fill and carry a very heavy sack of coke to a neighbour - and for 6d thought I was well paid.
I also collected old newspapers for recycling, and roamed the back streets searching for bones that dogs had left - bones were used to make glue for aircraft manufacture.
Took and sold old discarded clothes for recycling to the scrap dealer down Calder Vale.
Saved our kitchen scraps for the pigs.
Delivered both morning and evening newspapers seven days a week.

I was quite the miser as I assiduously saved my money and filled my National Savings book with those beautiful stamps.

At the end of the War I did finally become an employee of Burnley Football Club - albeit for only a couple of hours a week.
I sold programs for both the first and reserve games during the 1945/46 and the 1946/47 seasons.
I was given the favoured spot under the Culvert - possibly 60% of supporters came up Yorkshire St and passed under the Culvert.
It was a great job. I could watch Burnley every Saturday afternoon for free and it was very easy money as supporters thronged onto Turf Moor after the War with gates of 50,000+.

In 1947, I'd a choice to make - to watch Burnley or play football on Saturday afternoons. No choice really - I enjoyed playing football and often played Saturday morning for the work's team and for a youth team in the afternoon. Saturday night was for dancing.

Looking back I'm amazed - I'd a lot of stamina and energy in those good old days.
Reminiscent of Stoneyholme Life... :D

Rodleydave
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Rodleydave » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:31 pm

Wonderful stuff Wik. I am sure Tony would appreciate a nice long piece he could put ont front page of UTC. He's keeping things going at the moment with not a lot to report on. If its ont front page it then goes into the archives for years to come.
The war years in Burnley, rationing etc. People like me love to read these things.
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Volvoclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:16 pm

There were nowt wrong with Stoneyholme in thold days

tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:27 pm

Volvoclaret wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:16 pm
There were nowt wrong with Stoneyholme in thold days
Correct. I was there :D

Volvoclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:38 pm

Which old days were that Tim?

tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:42 pm

Fifties..sixties. Mr Green the School Headmaster.

Volvoclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:49 pm

Old peg leg. Mr Bentley, Miss Pate Mr Denson et al ?

tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:58 pm

Yes....Bentley. the class were playing up one day and Miss Pate started crying... mentioning the Cuban crisis. She was probably only 30....surely peg leg Was Jenkins Thomas of Barden.

Volvoclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:06 pm

Christine Pate with her mini, car not skirt. No Mr Green was known as peg leg because he had a bad leg from having a war wound from when he was a RAF pilot in ww2. I didn't go to Barden so not aware of Jenkins Thomas, maybe 2 peg legs??
Who was the old lady teacher who always had her hair in a tight bun and always used to threaten that you would get the stck?

tim_noone
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by tim_noone » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:11 pm

Haha your correct. Jenkins Thomas was pot Leg.I can only think of a mrs Scofield with blonde hair...yea she was well old maybe 32! :lol: :lol: well I was only 6......

Volvoclaret
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by Volvoclaret » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:30 pm

Good old days, impetigo, rickets and head lice and that was only the teachers😂

ten bellies
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by ten bellies » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:57 pm

It is interesting reading for me as my Dad is born and bred a Burnley (Harle Syke) lad and is the same age as yourself.

CleggHall
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Re: I Could Have Been Somebody

Post by CleggHall » Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:50 pm

Wik has 63 likes on only 14 posts, a hit record of 4.5, says it all really.

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