Thursday, 17 June 2010

When men were men! (& the South Africans)

Reading our "Man from Queensland's" '60's thoughts (via Dr Kish) spurred a few memories of my own. When Dave Hickson came to the Valley with Everton, he was one of the most agressive and feared centre forwards in football with a record second to none. Willie Duff carried a little surplus weight but was not a big man, Hickson at least matched him physically and was prob. bigger. When Will Duff took 'umbrage to Hickson's antics in a heated cup match there was no messing. He flung full blooded right hook to Hickson's chin who fell like a bean poll, rather in the way Cassisus Clay did to our 'enery. None of these nose to nose or 'handbags at dawn' stuff. He knew what he was going to do, did it and marched straight off the field. In referring to John Hewie and other South Africans, I remember what great service they gave the club. I missed their introduction (before my time) but saw Hewie, Stuart Leary, Brian Tocknell, Peter Firmani and brother Eddie on his return. We seemed to have a monopoly on S Africans. Why we did not continue to milk this source I will never know. We did get one more South African, the late Cliff Durandt, a podgy left winger from Wolves. He fought unsuccessfully against his weight problem and I can remember an article in the national press indicating that his 13 cups of tea a day was the root of the problem, unlike some of our later better known players who consumed an equivalent number of pints of a different type of liquid. However, Cliff is remembered for his last ditch, freak goal in the last game of the season at the Valley (half cross/half shot) that Second Division survival. I presume our rich source of S Africans dried up as the game became of less attraction to white South Africans who moved towards Rugby leaving Black South Africans to take up the mantle for their national game. The modern squad may have been outclased by Uruguay but one wonders whether the club could yet find a new rich vein of players from that country. .

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