Recently I have been inspired to recall memories from the times when I worked as a teacher at Back Northgate Boys Secondary School and Carlton High, whereI was football coach.
A boy called John Brown was goalkeeper, he always seemed to be in the right position behind the ball and rarely dived around. He had a paper round on practice night dashed home, did his round and then rushed back to school to join in with the team.
In 1961 I got a phone call from a PE teacher in Leeds whose school had won the league in the leeds area and he suggested we might like a game. This was the year I had promoted a mature boy, Tom Baker, to captain the senior team. We started the game quite badly and I must have had a lot to say. Tom suddenly came to the touchline for a throw in and turning to me asked: “Who is captain of this team?” I replied: “Well, you are Tom,” and he said “Well you be quiet then and let me get on with it.”
Showing great leadership he inspired the team and we won 5-2. On the return match at Pontefract we won 7-1.
I had a great centre half called Geoff Gawthorpe who seemed to be able to defend by himself, appearing not to need other defenders he was so strong, tall and intelligent. One day we played an away game and for once we really struggled but two late goals enabled us to win 3-2. At the end of the game their coach walked alongside Geoff and said: “Your teacher had plenty to say today and you won, what does he say when you lose?”
Geoff replied: “Oh, we never lose.”