Letts Association Football Diary 1979 – 30th December 1978

This Association Football Diary 1979 Belongs to
Shaun “Concorde” Hemsley
Forest Cottage


19th Jul 2021 – Gordon McQueen, Terry Yorath, Liam Brady – these names! Memories of Match of the Day on Saturday nights and the one on Sunday afternoons on ITV….what was that one called – the one with Brian…..damn, what was his name!?

So, in search of this name I came across this sad piece of information:

My first team was Ipswich Town (and Italy – purely for the reason that they wore blue and their names began with I!) and they did amazingly well in the late 70s and early 80s, so much so that manager Bobby Robson got the job of managing the England team. Trevor Whymark was my favourite player and when Paul Mariner joined they were a great upfront duo.

I took a very similar picture of Mariner to the hairdresser and told him to make my hair the same. Of course I didn’t understand that it wasn’t possible and was severely disappointed with the results. The same hairdresser balked at dying my hair blue a couple of years later so I figured out how to do it myself.

Childhood heroes dying are more a shock than sad really. When I calculate his age to 68 I then calculate that’s just 14 years away for me. I want to outlive all my heroes!

Anyway – The Big Match was what it was called, and hosted by Brian Moore. I always preferred Match of the Day anyway really but not really sure why.

I’m not sure if I crowned myself ‘Concorde’ or if I was given that nickname by others. I was in the second year of middle school, at St Michaels, Colehill. I was the fastest runner for my age in the school (over short distances).

Why I wrote ‘Pussycat??’ I have no recollection.

The address is where my mum and I moved to in October 1976, just before my 9th birthday, after the long hot summer in Devon, where we lived for only six months. Forest Cottage was where my grandparents lived and my mum now became their carer and I went through my formative teenage years.

I note that our phone number was ‘Witchampton 203’ originally – when there were so few phones that we only required a three digit number.

This is what the house looks like these days – the house itself pretty unchanged. My bedroom was at the top left and my mum used to sleep on the landing, which I found strange and impressive. There was a bigger bedroom on the right (both windows) but I always felt uneasy in there as the floor sloped away and creaked as if it would break.

“Our’ room – my mum and I – was the extension on the left. I would play here until I was 13 or so when I retreated more permanently to my bedroom. I think the original house was a couple of hundred years old.

Until about the age of 13 or 14 I would take a football over into this field, usually when there were no horses in it, and play football with myself, often scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final of my dreams. I would also often have to retire injured with twisted ankles in the horseshoe divots in the ground. It wasn’t quite Wembley.

At the fence between our house and this field I would often spy on horse riding girls who would come and groom their animals, inspired by their horsey faces, porcelain skin and thigh hugging britches.

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