THE drinks were flowing in Hockley Heath last week when the Sunday football team won the South Birmingham Premier League for the first time.
As the ales were being sunk to mark the occasion in The Wharf Tavern a few of the “old timers” reminisced about their own glory days on the hallowed turf of Hockley Heath Park.
The village team started life as Hockley Heath Rangers many years ago and, according to Phil Knight, the team once had the honour of lifting the Division Nine title.
A quick dash across the Stratford Road to Hockley Heath Club turned up this photograph gracing the walls of the snooker room and showing the winning side of ’74, proving that Phil had not had one too many.
Although many of the names are not now known in the village, a closer look at the picture reveals a certain ‘J. Carrott’ on the back row!
Phil spent his time between the sticks from the early 80s to the late 90s, also doing a stint as manager.
The 52-year-old fondly remembers choosing his team in the Nag’s Head on a Saturday evening then not so fondly having to go round and get them all out of bed on Sunday morning!
The team were sponsored by John Clarke Fruiterers in those days.
Phil took over the managerial reins from Tony Elliott who had become involved through his son Paul.
Tony was in charge from 1979 until the late 90s with local haulage firm Adams sponsoring the team.
Ralph Adams provided this bottom picture of the team at that time which still takes pride of place on his office wall although there appears to be one unnamed face on the front row.
Now 66, Tony is still regularly turns out to cheer on the current lads.
In the last few years the “Old Boys” have put out a team to face the youngsters on Boxing Day which attracts a fantastic – if quite hung-over – crowd but current manager Darren Carter is keen to take the club’s links with the past one step further.
Darren, now 36, has clocked up 16 years service to the team – and, indeed, scored the opening goal in last week’s thrilling victory.
He’s hoping that former players, families or just supporters of the team will get in touch for a grand reunion at Hockley Heath club later in the summer.
He said: “The great thing about the football is that it brings everyone in the village together – all the generations old and young.
“It would be fantastic if some of the former players did get in touch.”
Are you in one of these pictures or did you play or were you a past supporter of a Hockley Heath side?
Send your memories to the Solihull News at the above address or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward your details on to Darren.