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Football practice in Preston Park

Preston Park early 1960s
From the private collection of Ken Powell.

Football in Preston Park

As Fawcett school pupils, aged about 12 or 13, we would have football practice in Preston Park. Some boys (like me) needed far more practice than others. I had no interest at all in the game but enjoyed the break from school. In the winter, once a week, we would wander along London Road to the park.

Drawbacks of heavy boots

Once there, we changed and put on our boots. For some reason, the boots were made of incredibly thick leather, which had little or no ‘give’ in them. The football was also made of fairly solid leather and inflated with a bicycle pump. I have sometimes seen black and white clips of professional matches of that time. Even the pros wore those very thick boots and staggered up and down the pitch in them. I imagine that football, nowadays, is a much faster and ‘lighter’ game. 

On the sidelines

Those boys who could play football, did. Those that couldn’t hung around on the sidelines, hoping that the ball would not come their way. If it did, we made a spirited attempt at kicking it as far away as possible. Fortunately, we were not troubled by the teacher who, I suspect, knew that it was unlikely that those of us who hung around were ever going to make the grade. They knew that our invitation to play for Brighton and Hove Albion was not going to arrive at any time soon. 

Going home through the park

After the match, we went home, often taking a long route through Preston Park. I think all of us enjoyed the Park. Some of us liked it far more than we did the football.

Do you remember?

Did you play football in Preston Park? Were you in a team or just having kickabouts? Please share your memories by posting a comment below. 



Comments about this page

  • This is still a very attractive park. I am pretty sure I played on both the pitch in the foreground and the one in the background during the 1970s. I must have played on most of the Council pitches in Brighton at one time or another. The photograph is round the wrong way of course. The reversed numbers 2 and 9 on the footballers’ shirts give the game away. The building just visible behind the player wearing number 8 is the Chalet Cafe, which should be on the left. The houses in the background in Preston Park Avenue are almost obliterated by the trees now.

    By Alan Hobden (28/05/2017)
  • I enjoyed most Wednesdays as it gave me the opportunity to go home early and do what I wanted to do rather than stand in the cold watching a game that held no interest for me. Forcing football or any other sport on pupils is wrong in my opinion and put a lot of people off sports, however I do think that sports are beneficial provided schools have, and offer a wide variety of sports to individuals who may choose an option. 

    By Roger Ivermee (01/06/2017)
  • When I was at Fawcett in the 1950s we played at Loder Road By Dorothy Stringer.


    By Peter James Cooper (16/08/2017)
  • Although we had no proper pitch of  our own, we had 5-6 lads in the Brighton Boys team in the late 50s. One player who had a long playing career as a goalkeeper was Bill Glazier 1964-75. He played for Crystal Palace, Coventry City and Brentford and was an England under 23 International.

    By Peter Dray (25/08/2017)
  • I believe Bill Glazier’s late brother worked at the Monarch dry cleaners in Lewes Road. I knew him quite well. Did he go to Fawcett?

    By Richard J. Szypulski (01/09/2017)

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