Bill was associated with highly successful schoolboy and local league sides, as he explains in his letter, which accompanies the two photographs reproduced here...
Following the recent write up in the Bugle about the football in Woodside and Holly Hall Secondary Modern School, I would like to give you some further information and how the school became one of the main contributors to Woodside football in the 1950s.
Here are two further photographs, one showing the Holly Hall School side who won the local schools league in 1950/51. We had also won the league the two seasons previous. Several players in that side helped carry on football in Woodside, when in 1951 the old guard of Woodside United decided they could no longer field a side, so with the help of seniors Mr Dennis Welch, Joe Smith, Abe Dandy and Major Wesson (the licensee of the Crown Inn, the teams headquarters) we joined the Cradley Heath Youth League. A number of the schools side also represented the Dudley Schools FA alongside the late Duncan Edwards, and so we recruited some of the team to come and play for Woodside.
Some of the players I remember are Jack Waterfield - St Josephs, Maurice Bache and John Wythes - Park School, Dennis Hale - Rosland, Kenny Harrold and Billy Whale - Intermediate, and Les Farmer - Dudley Grammar School. We couldnt persuade Duncan, as Manchester United had the edge!!!
We carried on as Woodside United for one more season, before successfully applying to the FA to be reinstated as Woodside Wanderers.
The players in the school photo are:
Left to right back row: Trevor Woodcock, Benny Ball, Trevor Lavender, Bill Oliver, Archie Stevens, Reg Jones, Joe Hume.
Front row: Alex Denholme, Tony Jones, Ken Bailey, Colin Beasley and Ivan Dandy. (Sadly, Joe Hume and Ivan Dandy have both passed away).
The other photo is of the successful Woodside Wanderers side of 1956/57, beating Greets Green Prims 5-2 in the final of the St Johns Ambulance cup.
Left to right back row: Ken Ogden, Eric Hodgkiss, Ken Bailey, Bill Oliver, Fred Brooks, Ken Wood and Ken Gallear.
Front row: Mick Edwards, Ron Andrews, Brian Kent, Jack Hawker, Ken Dandy. There were still ten former members of Holly Hall Schools in this side.
Hope this information is of interest and use to your paper, and brings back memories to former players.
Yours in sport, Bill Oliver. 01902 883707".