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Memories of playing with or against a Rover


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The nostalgia thread jogged my memory of an experience 17 years ago when I lined up against Jim Arnold in a charity match. I was completing my teacher training at a school in Stafford and had let on that I played in nets for a Sunday league side...some of my students had organised the match against a rival school for some project or other and I was asked to play. Jim was associated with the rival school (Rising Brook) in some capacity and lined up for them. He of course came from Stafford originally. There was a decent crowd of about 200 and even a police presence given a bit of needle between the two schools and rival estates (by far the biggest crowd I played in front of). To cut a long story short, we won the game 4-1 and Jim praised my performance at full time. I didn’t play well very often but I somehow managed to that day. So...let’s see who else has had the pleasure of gracing a pitch with a Rover???

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Some years ago I used to referee short format seven a side games in the Blackburn area, and regularly came across Paul Gallagher turning out for Blackburn Blind Society (really!!). He never reacted badly whenever the inevitable big time billy had a go at him, managing to avoid most of the mad lunges intended to do him some harm. Neither would he acknowledge who he was, which got to be a bit of a game over the three or so seasons I saw him do it. Good job I never had to caution him, I guess, although I always made it clear that I knew who he was and that he should be aware of the risks involved. Nice lad, from whatI could tell.

The other one was Glenn Keeley, who played in the veterans league over in Preston for some years (well after leaving Rovers) and who was clearly a head above in class than his team mates in the games I refereed.

 

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my mate used to be on chorleys books when noel brotherston had a brief few months there at the end of his career,he said even with dodgy knees and no pace left was still a class above everyone in the club,everyone in the division (the northern premier i think at the time)tried to give him the rough treatment and in the end he got fed up with it ,he was only there for a few games,bit off topic but my mate ended up playing semi pro for salford in the middle 90`s,he also came up against mel sterland,the ex leeds and sheffield wed full back,he said it was frightening how good he was,even in his late 30`s

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I played against Mark Patterson once on the soccer dome and played against Brett Ormerod in the over 35s at Hyndburn Sports Centre recently.

He only played one half. That was enough....

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I played against Mark Patterson who played a season in the Darwen Amateur League as a fifteen year old. He played wide left and I played right back and I don't remember him going past me once although he was tired having been at school all day and then an uphill paper round 😁😁😁.

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Not Rovers this time but I was lucky enough to play against Graeme Stuart a few years ago in a match to mark the opening of our new college changing rooms at Factory Lane in Preston. Also featuring in that match were Paul McKenna, former PNE captain Sean Haslegrave (RIP) and Andy Burnham (his brother is my boss). It was a scratch PNE v Everton match but thankfully I didn’t have to don their jersey! Lost that one 1-0 but I did get called a bastard by Burnham for denying him in a one on one. Top bloke though!!! 

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Numerous to mention. 

My best is playing for Blackburn & Darwen Schhoolboys v Ryan Wilson(Giiggs) and his Salford Schoolboys...Granada Schools Cup 1988 Final.  It was on telly and you can watch it on YouTube now.  It's probably the most famous game the young giggs played in as it's been shown loads since over the years....we.lost 3-2...😔😔

Played with Gareth Ainsworth,  Bob Dewhurst, Lennie, Dave May, 

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Some time around 1989 I was at The Blackburn Northern Cricket Club on a Saturday night with a couple of mates. We spotted ex Rover David Hamilton at the bar and got chatting to him. He was turning our for Chester City by this time if memory serves. We mentioned that our Sunday League team was playing a pre season friendly the following morning on the astro turf at Witton Park. kick off 10am. 

Astonishingly, he showed some interest in playing, and we kind of went along with it in a disbelieving way.

Bugger me if he didn't turn up the next morning and play the full game. Great bloke and easily man of the match. I didn't think he was technically vastly superior to some of our lads but his fitness was far greater and he verbally bossed the game the way that pro footballers always do when playing with amateurs.

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1 hour ago, Colt Seavers said:

Some time around 1989 I was at The Blackburn Northern Cricket Club on a Saturday night with a couple of mates. We spotted ex Rover David Hamilton at the bar and got chatting to him. He was turning our for Chester City by this time if memory serves. We mentioned that our Sunday League team was playing a pre season friendly the following morning on the astro turf at Witton Park. kick off 10am. 

Astonishingly, he showed some interest in playing, and we kind of went along with it in a disbelieving way.

Bugger me if he didn't turn up the next morning and play the full game. Great bloke and easily man of the match. I didn't think he was technically vastly superior to some of our lads but his fitness was far greater and he verbally bossed the game the way that pro footballers always do when playing with amateurs.

He used to drink in the Ewood WMC across the road did Hamilton....

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14 hours ago, arbitro said:

I played against Mark Patterson who played a season in the Darwen Amateur League as a fifteen year old. He played wide left and I played right back and I don't remember him going past me once although he was tired having been at school all day and then an uphill paper round 😁😁😁.

At Darwen Olympic Bill Stemp used to play Paddy for an hour and then replace him with me for the last half hour (I was also 15 and Paddy's old man and my old man had agreed on that policy with Bill as we were both playing many other games in schoolboy/youth leagues as well). Defenders had invariably been run ragged by that point and I managed to score a lot of 'cheap' goals. 

I've played with Pete Devine for Blackburn Council and against the likes of Mecky and Marshall Burke in the Orphanage Cup, but my favourite ex-pro opponents were always Alex Bruce and Eric Potts. The latter was that pissed off after a drubbing that he refused to come for a pint after the game!

I also played in a team with 4 or 5 ex-pros in it up here for a couple of years before I hung my boots up, including Barry 'sniffer' Lavety, ex Hibs striker. In a moment of synergy a 15 year old James McFadden replaced me after an hour in one game.....although he was obviously just a very talented kid at that point and hadn't learnt the pro ways.

The main difference between a pro and an amateur is in the anticipation, the first movement and the first touch. That is where they can make you look silly and clumsy. 

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19 minutes ago, oldjamfan1 said:

At Darwen Olympic Bill Stemp used to play Paddy for an hour and then replace him with me for the last half hour (I was also 15 and Paddy's old man and my old man had agreed on that policy with Bill as we were both playing many other games in schoolboy/youth leagues as well). Defenders had invariably been run ragged by that point and I managed to score a lot of 'cheap' goals. 

I've played with Pete Devine for Blackburn Council and against the likes of Mecky and Marshall Burke in the Orphanage Cup, but my favourite ex-pro opponents were always Alex Bruce and Eric Potts. The latter was that pissed off after a drubbing that he refused to come for a pint after the game!

I also played in a team with 4 or 5 ex-pros in it up here for a couple of years before I hung my boots up, including Barry 'sniffer' Lavety, ex Hibs striker. In a moment of synergy a 15 year old James McFadden replaced me after an hour in one game.....although he was obviously just a very talented kid at that point and hadn't learnt the pro ways.

The main difference between a pro and an amateur is in the anticipation, the first movement and the first touch. That is where they can make you look silly and clumsy. 

I see Bill regularly and always find time to have a good natter to him. He is a proper football person having played, coached, managed and been an excellent administrator at various times. He is still involved at Darwen Rangers although his son is now the main man. I actually played alongside him for a season and he was a proper ball playing, cultured centre half.

He is a really good bowler and heavily involved in helping to run various leagues.

I'll pass on your regards Andy when I next see him.

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21 minutes ago, arbitro said:

I see Bill regularly and always find time to have a good natter to him. He is a proper football person having played, coached, managed and been an excellent administrator at various times. He is still involved at Darwen Rangers although his son is now the main man. I actually played alongside him for a season and he was a proper ball playing, cultured centre half.

He is a really good bowler and heavily involved in helping to run various leagues.

I'll pass on your regards Andy when I next see him.

Please do Tony, Bill was a great guy, grass roots football would be on its arse without people like him.

Tell him Patty still hasn't forgiven him for dropping him in the cup final by the way ha ha.

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3 hours ago, OldEwoodBlue said:

Played against Gary Flitcroft in a Lancashire Cup Final 88 I think.

 

Does playing in the same side as Haggis count ?

What about playing against Don Mackay's son on t'White Ash? 😁

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I played against Paul Gallagher at school level. I was a CB too but if I remember he seemed to be playing a little wide for me to come up against him too often. He looked good but I hadn't understood why he got hyped before the game as much as he did. Later, I played with him, when he turned out for Blackburn Eagles (he shouldn't have been, he was at Rovers school of excellence and wasn't registered for us... he used the identity of one of the lads who was on holiday. From the other post about him he must like masquerading around amateur games!). This time I totally got the hype, I think he only played the 2 games, against Blackburn Boys and Barrowford Celtic, who were at the time the best and second best sides, with us being the third best at that time. They were close fought games normally, we would sometimes scrape it but more often lose. Pretty sure we smashed both of them, or at least Gally bagged a hatful in each.

Also played with Matt Derbyshire at the BRIC. Believe he was in the Blackburn Eagles side one year below me too. He was working at the BRIC I think and filled in for us for a while when we were a bit short. Scored a fair few and was a very tidy finisher but I certainly didn't think he was going to go pro with Rovers not all that long later. He probably wasn't really trying though.

In both cases I hadn't noticed when they turned out for Rovers that they were the same players I had played with years earlier until ex teammates told me haha

A mate of mine told me a few years ago he sometimes plays with some ex pros including Colin Hendry. Apparently Colin is, sadly, very shit now. Worst player on the pitch I think he said but we all know what he has been through (and done). Was sad to hear it though.

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On 10/02/2021 at 11:30, arbitro said:

I see Bill regularly and always find time to have a good natter to him. He is a proper football person having played, coached, managed and been an excellent administrator at various times. He is still involved at Darwen Rangers although his son is now the main man. I actually played alongside him for a season and he was a proper ball playing, cultured centre half.

He is a really good bowler and heavily involved in helping to run various leagues.

I'll pass on your regards Andy when I next see him.

I wasn't sure if it was the same Bill Stemp that @oldjamfan1 mentioned until you said Darwen Rangers, but yeh I know Bill. Before Blackburn Eagles I played for Rangers under his son Paul. Is that who manages them now, or is it Matt? Or the other one...Nigel I think he was called? Didn't really know him though. My old man and Bill used to play in the same teams in their youth, and I played with Matt at Rangers and we were childhood friends. Weird how that worked out. We lived across the road from them and my mum still does unless they've moved. Bill also used to deliver us veg! Nice bloke.

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40 minutes ago, bluebruce said:

I wasn't sure if it was the same Bill Stemp that @oldjamfan1 mentioned until you said Darwen Rangers, but yeh I know Bill. Before Blackburn Eagles I played for Rangers under his son Paul. Is that who manages them now, or is it Matt? Or the other one...Nigel I think he was called? Didn't really know him though. My old man and Bill used to play in the same teams in their youth, and I played with Matt at Rangers and we were childhood friends. Weird how that worked out. We lived across the road from them and my mum still does unless they've moved. Bill also used to deliver us veg! Nice bloke.

I don't really know Bill's sons but I'm sure he mentioned to me that Paul runs Darwen Rangers now.

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4 hours ago, bluebruce said:

I wasn't sure if it was the same Bill Stemp that @oldjamfan1 mentioned until you said Darwen Rangers, but yeh I know Bill. Before Blackburn Eagles I played for Rangers under his son Paul. Is that who manages them now, or is it Matt? Or the other one...Nigel I think he was called? Didn't really know him though. My old man and Bill used to play in the same teams in their youth, and I played with Matt at Rangers and we were childhood friends. Weird how that worked out. We lived across the road from them and my mum still does unless they've moved. Bill also used to deliver us veg! Nice bloke.

I’m sure there are quite a few of us on here who know or knew your dad in that case mate. 
 

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39 minutes ago, oldjamfan1 said:

I’m sure there are quite a few of us on here who know or knew your dad in that case mate. 
 

Might be, I'll message you.

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4 hours ago, arbitro said:

I don't really know Bill's sons but I'm sure he mentioned to me that Paul runs Darwen Rangers now.

Fair enough, Paul only managed my age group at the time I think. He banned me from the club for doing a bit of a Cantona kick on someone who was being a dick to me after a training session 🤣 I was only 10 or 11 but it wasn't my first offence tbf, had been banned for 2 weeks before for I think punching someone in similar circumstances...kids ey? 🤣 Landed at Eagles after though who were a much stronger side.

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Used to play Thursday evenings down at Witton astro pitches with Pelle, in the summer he would invite various footballers down for a kick around. Specifically recall, Scott Sellars, Simon Barker and Simon Garner joining in, all three found time to play and rarely gave the ball away, Garner specifically stood out, with how quickly he could turn and get his shots away, a short back lift that generally found the corner of the net.

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20 hours ago, bluebruce said:

I played against Paul Gallagher at school level. I was a CB too but if I remember he seemed to be playing a little wide for me to come up against him too often. He looked good but I hadn't understood why he got hyped before the game as much as he did. Later, I played with him, when he turned out for Blackburn Eagles (he shouldn't have been, he was at Rovers school of excellence and wasn't registered for us... he used the identity of one of the lads who was on holiday. From the other post about him he must like masquerading around amateur games!). This time I totally got the hype, I think he only played the 2 games, against Blackburn Boys and Barrowford Celtic, who were at the time the best and second best sides, with us being the third best at that time. They were close fought games normally, we would sometimes scrape it but more often lose. Pretty sure we smashed both of them, or at least Gally bagged a hatful in each.

Also played with Matt Derbyshire at the BRIC. Believe he was in the Blackburn Eagles side one year below me too. He was working at the BRIC I think and filled in for us for a while when we were a bit short. Scored a fair few and was a very tidy finisher but I certainly didn't think he was going to go pro with Rovers not all that long later. He probably wasn't really trying though.

In both cases I hadn't noticed when they turned out for Rovers that they were the same players I had played with years earlier until ex teammates told me haha

A mate of mine told me a few years ago he sometimes plays with some ex pros including Colin Hendry. Apparently Colin is, sadly, very shit now. Worst player on the pitch I think he said but we all know what he has been through (and done). Was sad to hear it though.

I can absolutely, categorically, 100% say that Colin is anything but 'shit' now. In fact, for a 55 year old he's extremely fit. He might struggle a bit against lads half his age but his reading of the game and first movement are what you would expect of a guy that has played at the very top level. 

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