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Change of name and a change of fortune for '60s pub footballers

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

By Gavin Jones

  • Foxcote's Malcolm Brettell, in glasses, takes aim

  • Foxcote Rangers. The men are not named other than in the report, so if you can tell us who's who, we'd love to hear from you

  • Some of the team relax inside their headquarters, the Foxcote Arms

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MANY of our bygone football teams get a brief resurrection thanks to readers' recollections and photos appearing in the Bugle's sports pages, and this week it's the turn of Foxcote Rangers.

They were based at, and named after, the Foxcote Arms pub in Stourbridge, which was run for many years by Tony Sheppard. Tony, who died earlier this year, kept a photograph and a press cutting from the club's glory days of 1965, and his son Steven, of Mushroom Green, has loaned them to us to share with our readers.

Foxcote Rangers, according to the Kidderminster Shuttle and Stourport Courier of December 1965, had success written all over them, and it appeared to have coincided with their recent name change and association with Tony Sheppard's pub ...

"Until this term, the team was known as Wollescote Social," the paper explained, "and had been enjoying only moderate success. Like other clubs they were thrown in at the deep end of the fourth division, when the league decided to disband its south section.

"But throughout the hard times club secretary Jock Johnson remained confident, and this season he found a valuable ally in publican Tony Sheppard.

"Mr Sheppard has given the club the use of his lawns and rooms for training, not to mention some very volatile vocal support on a Saturday afternoon.

"So, as an appreciation of the help of the landlord of the Foxcote Arms, the club became Foxcote Rangers. And it has not looked back since. At the moment the side, unbeaten in both league and cup games, are right at the top of their section of the fourth division."

The Kidderminster Shuttle reporter had been despatched to a game against St Ambrose Youth Club of Hagley, and was confident Foxcote would be promoted by the end of the season. The match was finished early when a blizzard made further play impossible, but the score of 2-1 to Rangers was allowed to stand.

Singled out for praise were goalkeeper Paul Longman, who throws and kicks always reached one of his own team, 'and nine times out of ten an unmarked one.'

Roger Hill and Alan Foxhall made up a solid pair of full backs, sound tacklers who were always eager to join the attack.

Right half Peter White, and his left half colleague Fred Lloyd had been a revelation, and Fred, the oldest on the pitch at 22, had lost a stone and a half to get fit enough for Rangers.

Injured skipper Willie Lee was worried about regaining his place in the team to his stand-in, centre half Graham Hingley, and Peter Wooldridge was praised for his creative play at inside right, laying on a perfect thirty yard pass for the team's first goal against St Ambrose.

Centre forward Trevor Southall, who fought for every ball in this match, had already chalked up 17 goals that season, while left winger David Johnstone 'made up for his lack of inches with fine ball control and some hard running.' Most recognisable of all though, due to a rather rare accessory among footballers, was inside left Malcolm Brettell, of whom the Shuttle wrote:

"You can't fail to notice live wire inside left Malcolm. Apart from wearing glasses and playing with his shirt out, he is always in the thick of things."

Were you a member of the Foxcote Rangers side of this era? Or did you follow them, as a regular of the Foxcote Arms? Share your memories with us: pay us a visit at Bugle House, call in, write to us, or send an email to gjones@blackcountry bugle.co.uk.

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