A golden boot for pub team

This Is Wiltshire: Greyhound FC from the 2006/7 season Greyhound FC from the 2006/7 season

ONE of the most successful teams in the history of Swindon pub football is about to celebrate its golden jubilee.

Past and current players, fans, friends and rival players are invited to The Greyhound in Faringdon Road on Saturday for the 50th anniversary bash.

The pub’s side first came together in 1964 after being founded by the publican of the day, Stan Matthews.

They entered Sunday League Division Two.

One of the people organising Saturday’s celebration, which will run from seven until late, is 59-year-old painter and decorator Andy Davitt, who played for the team in the 1970s.

He said of the original side: “They were a group of characters who shared a love of football, fun and a pint, and they lit the fuse for a football club that has run continuously for 50 years.

“Stan, with his wife Mollie, was a larger than life character who brought a crate of beer to the game and offered a free pint to the team in the pub afterwards if they won.”

The staunch support has been maintained by landlords ever since, including current boss Martin Goodfellow, who has been in charge for 26 years. The team itself is managed by another stalwart, Dave Hawkins, who has been in charge for 23 years.

The club has won the Sunday League Division One trophy 17 times, including 14 consecutive titles, and has taken the Swindon Sunday Cup 13 times and the Wiltshire Sunday Cup Eight times. It has taken the treble – winning all three competitions in the same season – four times, most recently in 2001-02.

Rather more light-hearted achievements have included a player borrowing a goat and taking it home in his sports car because his lawnmower was broken, a member fulfilling his ambition to be carried into the pub in a wardrobe, and a series of eating competitions featuring everything from Madeira cake to pickled eggs.

Andy said: “We’ve been close on the field – it’s serious once we get on there, but when we’re off it we enjoy a beer and we enjoy making a lot of noise. ”

“We’re just a pretty tight bunch of guys who’ve enjoy each other’s company and are friends.

“Everybody’s welcome to come and join in the celebrations, have a drink and share their memories.”

Andy can be contacted on 07761 758053 and at a.davitt@02.co.uk

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