These were golden days

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Watching football on the telly as we do today, takes me back many, many years when football and sportsmanship was at its best.

Every Sunday morning on the Tarmac and gravel dene in deptford, a group of young and getting on a bit men gathered to form two teams to play against each other, tanner-a-man, winners take all.

Proper football boots were useless on this Tarmac surface , so work boots had to do, cardboard shin pads tucked down the socks, no white lines, the kick off centre was quess work.

There were no goal posts, just two large stones covered with coats and haversacks placed near enough.

No ref , all moves were decided by the lads themselves.

You never saw anyone rolling two or three times in agony. There were no strips, just old work gear and you just knew who the opposition were.

One name I do remember was Leslie Calvert, of Rosanna Street, he had played for Sunderland boys when he was younger and he still had the gift to enjoy the game on the dene.

Let’s remember that those who took part were hard physical workers in heavy industry – how they did it beats me.

Some bleeding happened but you would just wrap your bait hanky around it till you got home.

Not many had watches those days, so I think they called time when somebody decided they had, had enough.

Sportsmanship started here, but Alas when and where did it end.

Answers ,please, on the back of your cheque book.

Alan Winter