Fringe Box



Letter: I Played in that Football Match against the Young John Hollins

Published on: 19 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 20 Jun, 2023

John Hollins who played for Chelsea, QPR and once for England in 1967.

From Tony Bullen

I have read with interest David Reading’s tribute to the late John Hollins.

He can recall playing in goal for St Francis cub pack and that he took a book to read.

I remember this game as I played for St Nicolas cubs (the opposition).

This was our first game and mine too, on a pitch in Stoke Park in 1956.

I was nearly nine years of age. Indeed David Reading never touched the ball!

In fact, the ball was in our half most of the game.

As soon as this wonder boy (Hollins) had the ball he could not be stopped.

The score was 10-0 and I suspect all the goals were scored by John Hollins.

It would have been more if the referee, a Mr Strudwick, had not booted the ball towards David Reading.

Our goalie spent most of the match fetching the ball as there were no goal nets!

My dad was at the game assisting our Akela, Miss Willan, she was then aged 84.

After the game my dad asked the boy Hollins his name, and John told him.

Akela said to us boys to not be despondent, and dad told us that John was exceptional.

David Reading’s story also reminded me that when John was 17 years old he was selected to play for Chelsea, this was in September 1963.

The headmaster at Park Barn Secondary School, Mr Fisher, made reference to this in an assembly.

I wonder how the teacher (mentioned by David Reading in his story) who made remarks to John and his classmates, felt?

Finally, my dad and I watched John win his FA Cup medal in the 1970 final replay on television against Leeds United.

My dad was in Guildford and I was in Torquay.

In his weekly letter to me, my dad reminded me about John and that cubs’ game 14 years previous.

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