29 July 2009

A BLAST from the all-too- distant past dropped through the Times office letter box recently, with a window into sporting history.

Keen memorabilia collector Steve Harding of Peterborough kindly posted a copy of a 77-year-old football programme from a clash between two of our local sides. This prized collectors item was not from a major Football League clash, but in fact a Good Friday contest between Denaby United and Frickley Athletic from March 1932, originally costing one penny.

Denaby's supporters' club produced the match programme – which is mainly comprised of adverts from firms around the Dearne such as Mexborough High Street optician Bruce Smith, Doncaster Road butcher H Clare and bookie Bill Gough of Cliff View, Denaby.
A short yet scathing report is given about an apparent defeat in the previous game with Doncaster Rovers. "Our lads did not play up to the mark, although Taylor, Siddall and Brannan gave good displays. "Moss was a decided improvement. Doncaster were faster on the ball and fully deserved to win. Siddall's goal was a real gem, had he been more supported there would have been a different result."

Supporters are urged to "turn up in crowds" for the upcoming game with Gainsborough and asked "will you go?", of the Easter Monday outing to Scarborough. Little information is provided about the game ahead but the line-ups for both sides are provided – something that has disappeared from modern matchday magazines. Both sides look set to field attacking line-ups with five forwards; perhaps in the MW formation that was the norm of the time.
Have a look at the line-ups, and get in touch with us on 01709 303059 if you know any of the players that featured on the day.

Denaby United: Brannan, Thompson, Taylor, Mountenay, Green, Smith, Siddall, Black, Adams, Wraith, Moss.

Frickley Athletic: Harvey, Williams, Wade, Todd, Hayhurst, Chapman, Bott, Munday, Gibson, Walker, Wigglesworth.

Anybody who can help Steve Harding location old Denaby United programmes – especially pre-1965 editions – should contact him on 07944 588908.

Coincidentally a former Denaby United player got in touch with the Times looking for information about players he used to line up alongside and the fate of the club.

Brian Whant played under Harry Hough – the former Barnsley and England B keeper who managed Denaby – for six years at right full back, lining up with some notable players.

Whant credits former Sheffield United centre half Howard Johnson with teaching him about defensive positioning during his time at Denaby while his wife would make silk underpants. He also lined up with comedian Charlie Williams at the back, and says that the former Doncaster Rovers player kept all the side amused on the bus to away games.

John Hazeldean also featured during Whant's time, a player who attracted the attention of Coventry City which led to a behind-closed-doors clash with the Sky Blues' first team. Local lad Roy Ainscough, who sadly passed away recently, was also part of the side at this stage, as was Frank Foster.

Other notable players included ex-Wales international Bryn Jones, ex England international Jack Grainger and former Southampton forward Tim Womack.
Whant was a mechanical design draughtsman for the National Coal Board in Doncaster who played for Pilkington, Barry Town and Sheffield United A before arriving at Tickhill Square to turn out for Denaby.

In February 1970 he emigrated to Queensland in Australia where he lives to this day with wife Doris, originally from Rossington. Anyone who would like to be put in touch with Whant should contact the Times on 01709 303059.