Monday, May 19, 2014


To Wimbledon to visit one of our sons who lives in one of the smart apartments shown above.   This imposing development is on the site of what, for eighty years, was Wimbledon Football Club`s ground at Plough Lane and so it is steeped in history.   In recognition of that, the developers were encouraged by Wimbledon supporters to name the various apartment blocks with the football club theme and in a way that perpetuated some of the important names associated with the football club`s past.

And so, amongst others, names such as Batsford House, Lawrie House, Cork House and Bassett House, where our son lives, now grace the site.   Names revered in the folklore of SW19.

Allen Batsford was arguably Wimbledon`s most successful manager, leading them to three consecutive Southern League titles and election to the Football League.  Lawrie Sanchez, a distinguished player for Wimbledon and a manager of clubs including Wycombe Wanderers, Fulham and Northern Ireland on the international stage, but whose defining moment was scoring the winning goal for Wimbledon in the 1988 FA Cup Final against Liverpool.

Cork House celebrates the very substantial contribution made by Alan Cork with 430 games and 135 goals over a period of 14 years with the club, ranging from the Southern League days right through to the First Division of the Football League and the famous 1988 Cup win.   His son Jack is a much admired  midfielder for my own club, Southampton.

And so we come to Bassett House, where my son resides.   Named for Dave Bassett, one of the true `football men.`  A playing career that saw him appear 141 times for Wimbledon was followed by a long managerial career starting at Plough Lane before moving on to other clubs including Watford, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Leicester City, Leeds United and, briefly, Southampton alongside the Armani suited serial scuffler Dennis Wise, another product of Wimbledon`s own version of an Academy.   Perhaps Dave Bassett`s persona is best summed up by his insistence in referring to the gifted Arsenal midfielder Kanu as `Canoe.`

And so my son resides on hallowed ground in SW19, although it is said that, in the dead of quiet midwinter nights, it is still possible to hear the echoes of ghostly anguished squeals as Vinnie Jones grabs Paul Gascoigne by the appendages.  

What was it that Bernie Taupin wrote for Elton John?  Oh, yes.  "You can`t plant me in your penthouse.  I`m going back to my plough."

I hope my son sleeps well.

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