Posted by: docdenbow | October 28, 2013

Mobile Phones & Bilston Town FC

I’ve now come to the conclusion that most of the world that spins around me is rubbish. A waste of time. In fact I’d go as far as to say the way that things are going it won’t be that long before everything is rubbish. Everything that’s going on is rapidly getting worse unless of course you’re a fanboy drooling at the prospect of a new bloody iPad or mobile phone that allows you to do so many things with it that its original purpose is becoming forgotten. We were so chuffed when mobile phones first came out because as caring parents we could shove them into the hands of our children before booting them out of the door to socialize with their friends and be able to keep tabs on them. That was a plan that was doomed from the start. The kids became more sophisticated and were not entirely happy with a functional Nokia 3310 hand me down. In short mobile phones turned into trainers. Your kids, yes your kids, are currently being abused because they have your old Blackberry Bold or HTC Desire S. Your ungrateful offspring will refuse to even contemplate a Samsung S3 Mini as it’s last years model. Just think that as you read read this your precious cherubs are being castigated, derided and having their heads shoved down lavs the length and breadth of the country because they don’t have the latest in smartphone technology.

Don’t you realize that you’re a terrible parent and your children will demand to be taken into care if they don’t get an iPhone 5S?

Of course it was different when I was a kid. Without wishing to sound like your Dad or Grandad, which given the fact I’m pushing 55 I probably will, kids today don’t know they’re born. In the days when I was a kid if you turned your snotty nose up at anything then the Brylcreemed patriarch of the hovel in which you lived would have given you a clout for bloody cheeky. That would be right before they headed down the pub to get p*ssed. The matriarch would give you no sympathy telling you in so many words that you were an ungrateful little bastard as she sawed away at the unsliced loaf for some bread and dripping to make supper. Here, I am of course joking

Ah, yes those were the days. Days I’ll remember all my life when there was a lot of fun and a lot of sheer bloody misery. I know there was misery because I know that as a teenager my life revolved around sitting alone in my bedroom, friendless, listening to my records. Before I reached my teens, when we lived in Bilston, I never had time to be miserable or bored. I had a few mates and we were out and about kicking a ball or doing other stuff that kids do in their last year or so of primary school. I spent a lot of time at Bilston swimming baths. I could dive off a 5 metre board when I was less than 10, fearless little sod I was. I went on my own sometimes, there was no terror of nutters abducting children, well not much, and most of the time I was part of a pack so there was safety in numbers. Besides our little gang never went very far. I lived in Garden Walk, a little cul de sac, which was enclosed by Lunt Road, Lavender Grove, Rosemary Avenue and Vernon Road. Further along towards town Lunt Road became Queen Street and it was there that the little stadium of Bilston Town FC stood. I call it a stadium, that’s a bit on an exaggeration. True, on the Queen St side there was a little grandstand but the other 3 sides of the pitch were  bare and enclosing the lot there was a 6 foot concrete fence. That fence from inside the ground would pose no threat for an intrepid 10 years old as I was. Pah! Call that a fence? However, on the other side, where back in the day was just wasteland, the fence was up to 10 feet high. High enough to keep out a bunch of nippers, or so you would think. We had a look around and eventually found something, whatever it was, that made getting over the wall possible. Some of us would go over the wall and have a kickabout on the pitch constantly on the lookout for a “parkie” type character. There never was one.

Eventually we’d climb over the wall and sit backs to the fence and watch the team train. We were spotted watching, but no one seemed to mind and they must’ve known we’d come over the wall/fence as there was no other way in. After a bit a couple of us, me and ….. (wish I could remember his name) ended up booting the balls back to the players and as our mates drifted away, we carried on going. We watched close up and I clearly recall how I could hear the ball fizz as it went through the air when a player (Roy Dyke???) blasted it goalwards. Anyway, there were a couple of times I took some penalties against the keeper. I failed to get many past him and when I did succeed the other players laughed at him. Now looking back at some dates this would have been 1968 and as I hadn’t reached double figures, I think I did well to score any at all.

I used go to loads of games. Atherstone Rovers, Kidderminster Harriers and even on one evening match, Wolves A! This, I think, was a good few years later as one of the Wolves A players went to my secondary school, Richard Dams. I usually had a little spot in front of the stand, and yes I always paid to go in. Even at that tender age I was terrific at taking the mickey out of the opposition players. Some hapless full back tried to play the big cross from just inside the Bilston half, but miscued horribly. The ball cleared everyone and headed off unerringly towards the corner flag. 9 year old Denbow shouts out,

“Oi mate, what you playin’? Golf?”

A lot of grown ups thought that was a classic bit of barracking and I was quickly adopted into the Queen Street mafia! I even went to the FA Cup First Round game against Halifax in November 1968 which Bilston lost 1 – 3. The little Queen St ground was packed for that one and no one seemed to disappointed or surprised that Bilston lost. I suppose that it was a good day out. It wasn’t that long before we moved away from Garden Walk and the shadow of the mighty Queen Street stadium. It’s a bit sad as I don’t even know whether the team are still going these days or even whether the stadium is derelict or worse still, demolished.

Looking back to those days I realize that we weren’t very well off and everything seemed to be a make do and mend type of situation. I didn’t have much in the way of material things and neither did any of my mates but I still think we had more fun climbing that wall to watch Bilston Town FC train was more fun than playing Angry Birds on a mobile phone. Without learning to go without stuff or just not having stuff you learn for later life that “stuff” isn’t really that important. We lose sight of that though and our bloody kids won’t learn it until they have to fend for themselves or will they end up compensating with credit cards?

Well, that’s it

Ciao For Now




  1. I’m not as old as you Doc and I miss the good old days when all we had to play with was a puddle and a stick. Much better than a playstation!

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