It didn’t exactly start too well when the leader of Sporting Memories group explained that his sporting highlight of the week was seeing Spurs humiliated at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Fortunately
Mr B is a true sports fanatic and loyal supporter who is well accustomed to taking the rough with the smooth over the sixty years or so that he has been following the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur. Every football fan worth his salt has to learn this Fact of
I have been trying to arrange transport to convey Mr B and me to a Sporting Memories meeting for ever so many weeks - and today I finally managed
it. We were collected from home by Dial-a-Ride and driven to Worthing Town Football Club where Sporting Memories meets every Thursday morning. I was excited, Mr B was reserving judgement. “Are you looking forward to it?” I asked him. “I’ll
tell you later...” was the non-committal reply.
On arrival, while Mr B and his wheelchair were being lifted from the vehicle, I trotted ahead to see if I
could find out where the meeting was being held. There was a large banner across the entrance to the club announcing that the Sporting Memories Club was “Meeting Here Today” so at least I knew we had arrived at the correct destination. I followed
the sound of very loud music to find a hall where a number of fit looking folks were exercising with slightly maniacal intensity. It seemed unlikely that this was what I was looking for so I retraced my steps and fortunately came across a helpful fella who
directed me to the venue - overlooking the football pitch with a great selection of old footie photographs decorating the walls. How fascinating that every single member of the Worthing team in 1892 sported (if you’ll excuse the pun!) a moustache. By
1902 only a few members of another trophy winning team were moustachioed while, coming up nearer to date, the 2006 team appeared to be completely free of facial hair. I know, I know, this is not the point of team photos...
Having found the venue I went to rescue Mr B who had been pushed in completely the wrong direction by our friendly Dial-a-Ride driver and was cross with me for apparently abandoning him. Five minutes
later we were both being warmly welcomed by the club leaders and given badges to wear with our names on. There is nothing like a badge to make you feel you belong (unless it’s a football team in 1892 when I suggest you would have needed a moustache...)
Such a good morning we had! By way of introduction, a football was passed around the table like a pass the parcel game, with each recipient telling in turn of his or her
sports highlight of the week. When it came to my turn, I proudly related the story of the Eldest of the Darling Daughters’ 50km walk in aid of Cancer Research at the weekend which culminated in a hard slog up Box Hill. “Blow that for a game of
soldiers!” everyone said. Or words to that effect. That’s what I wanted for Mr B - the company of fellas with an earthy sense of humour.
of the gang was a Brighton & Hove legend who regaled us with fascinating stories from the Pitches of the Past. Mr B, not to be outdone, explained that he had been a ball-boy at Wimbledon in 1958, 1959 and 1960, thereby securing his position as a Person
of Sporting Interest. There was a quiz which proved, if proof were needed, that these new friends of ours really know their sport - something else I wanted for Mr B. Lots of chat about the World Athletics Championships with everyone to a man (and a woman)
rooting for Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon. We finished off with tea, coffee and some rather delicious marshmallow biscuits which earned the approval of She Who Is Always Thinking of her Stomach.
Mr B wants to go again next week. Indeed, he wants to go every week. It seems that at last I have found a regular outing for him which he will really, really enjoy.
Thank you, Sporting Memories! I’m so glad we discovered you...