The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Is my lesson done?

26 March 2019

Last week, Middle-Aged Diary set the homework of providing the names of Town players who were or became teachers.

To start with the most recent, some deep delving by Wicklow Diary has revealed that Paul Agnew is now a secondary school PE teacher in Lichfield. Agnew was 11 years at Blundell Park (does anyone remember if he had a testimonal?), usually playing reserve scapegoat behind Kevin Jobling. He now also runs after-school soccer clubs where no doubt whacking the ball down the line for players who have the height if not the ability of Dave Gilbert will figure... well, certainly larger than Diddy.

If we have aspirations to a teachers XI, we'll be glad of Agnew as he is the only defender we have.

Over to Tony Butcher next: "I have a vague memory of a Mr Fletcher at Strand or Reynolds Street school being the centre-forward formerly known as Rod Fletcher.

"I suppose we can't and shouldn't count Alan Boxall, a PE teacher at Toll Bar who played for Plucky Scunny between 1980 and about 1983. Them PE teachers at Toll Bar were a dead dodgy bunch, always pushing the boundaries. So many 'soft' free kicks and suspicious offsides."

We have to go back to the 1920s and 1930s for our remaining teachers. Gordon Wilson draws our attention to Max Holmes, who taught in local schools after playing in Town's top-flight XI. A multi-talented sportsman, the inside left apparently played in rugby boots until the club stumped up for his footwear.

Harry Kitching was an amateur with Grimsby while he was studying at Leeds University. He turned professional with Boston and Lincoln before taking up teaching full-time.

A player called Tomlinson – a tutor, according to a newspaper report of the time – was one of many tried at centre-forward after Pat Glover was injured on the opening day of the 1937-38 season. He scored one goal in 16 appearances.

Last week we namechecked Joe Cooper, the inside forward who rose with Town from Division Three (North) to the top flight. Glover's account here suggests that Cooper was not just a teacher when he was in the classroom: "Thank goodness Joe Cooper played alongside me in the Midland League team! He taught me more in a dozen games than most full-time coaches could teach in a whole season... with me [Cooper was] always coaxing and always gently patient."

No doubt gentle patience will be shown at Cheapside this afternoon when a young Town reserves team take on Rotherham.