I was saddened to learn of the deaths of Ron Springett and Brian Close this week.
Ron was 80 and Brian 84.
Both were important in my growing up in sport.
In the Winters in the 1960s, I enjoyed being a goalkeeper in playground football. Ron Springett was one of the first goalkeepers I knew about. My cousins had taken me to Everton occasionally and on one visit I saw Ron play in goal for Sheffield Wednesday. I became a great fan thereafter. It was a time before goalkeeping gloves and saving shots with very heavy leather footballs.
In the Summers in the 1960s, I spent a lot of time at Buckley Cricket Club. Although I was a right handed batsman and tried to bowl quickly, in my mind I was Brian Close.
Both were involved in their sports in 1966 which was a magical year for a young footballer/cricketer keen to experience vicarious success. Ron was a member of the England World Cup winning team and Brian captained England against the West Indies.
I find it remarkable that the memories gained of cold Winter nights and bright Summer days being Ron and Brian are now fifty years old.
In writing this post, I wondered which players would occupy my seasons now if I was a young sportsperson with access to extensive media coverage.
Ron Springett (The FA)
Brian Close (The Daily Telegraph)