The game was played at The Barber's old school.
By David Barber - Monday, 16 July, 2012
The superfan went back to school on Saturday.
I probably saw more than a thousand games with my dad and we thought the best-ever was a Surrey Senior Cup Final between Redhill and Sutton United. It was played at Tooting’s old Sandy Lane ground two months before England won the World Cup in ’66.
We had been to a lot of Redhill games that season and the little Athenian League outfit beat mighty Sutton, who had reached a Wembley Final three years earlier, 4-3 after extra time. It was an epic Final with many of the heroic Reds players barely able to walk at the end.
I hadn’t seen those two clubs play each other again until Saturday. What made it a surreal afternoon for me was that this pre-season friendly took place on the playing field of my old school in Old Coulsdon. It was the first time I had set foot on it for 42 years!
‘Purley County’ was a rugby-playing school. In my seven years as a pupil there no football pitches had ever been marked out on that field. But it didn’t stop us playing football every break-time, usually with garments of some kind or twigs as the ‘goalposts’. It was slightly shocking to find that the school where I sat my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels has completely disappeared.
There isn’t a single brick left.
It’s now ‘Coulsdon College’ with new, modern-looking buildings and I reached it via a No.60 bus from Purley. It stopped outside the pub next door and I remembered that a couple of my contemporaries had been expelled after they were found drinking in there.
The shops round the corner are pretty much as they were in my day. There was the post office where I used to get a ‘stamped addressed envelope’ when writing off for a football programme and the bakery from which you could buy a bag full of cakes and buns for a penny.
For my first couple of years at that school I was known as ‘the boy who fell through the ice’. Of course Bradmore Green pond is still there, a little further along from the shopping parade. At primary school, incidentally, I was ‘the boy who got a crayon stuck up his nose’. It happened during an English lesson and I had to go to hospital to have it removed.
Redhill, though a Surrey club, play in the Sussex County League now and they look set for a decent season after beating Sutton’s reserve side 5-2 on Saturday before 20 spectators getting soaked in the rain. I stood behind the far goal in the second half, exactly on the spot where the jumping pit used to be. That’s where I did my 40-foot triple jump at 15.
The other game I had in mind for Saturday, Banstead Athletic v Croydon, was called off in the morning. I can’t recall so many pre-season friendlies having fallen victim to the weather before. It’s crazy – so call me maybe.
Season’s total: 2
Grand total: 6,297
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