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Town player, 88, explains why he played a 1950s stinker

By Toby Neal | Features | Published:

By his own admission, Alan Rogers played a stinker in that match for Wellington Town all those years ago.

Wellington Town in the 1958/59 season, with an Alan Rogers marked as seated, second from left – we assume it is the same one, but haven't been able to get in touch with "our" Alan to confirm it is him. Picture: Allan Frost.

And now, at the age of 88, he wants supporters who watched the game to know why, and the story of his leaving the club.

"Honestly, even after all this time, it keeps me awake at night," said Alan, who lives in Failsworth, Manchester.

He has sent us a letter to set the record straight and make his peace with the fans of Wellington Town, the club which was later renamed Telford United.

"Could you please put something in your paper. You never know, there might still be some people around who were at the match," writes Alan.

Let us take you back to the late 1950s. Alan had been playing for Hyde United for a number of years when he had a call from Wellington Town manager Johnny Hancocks inviting him to play for them.

It so happened that after a recent match against Winsford United that a gentleman met Alan after the game and asked if he would like to play for Sunderland FC, and said if he signed he would get into the team immediately as he had one or two injuries.

Instead, Alan signed for Wellington Town, and says he lived to regret that decision, although he added: "I enjoyed playing for Telford, with the directors and manager, and was sorry when I had to leave."

When he drove down to Wellington there was a new manager who he had not met before.

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"I explained to him that I had been ill over that weekend, so could he please leave me out of the team.

"He then said there had been some injuries and I had to play.

"When I went on the field I knew that it would be a disaster. I was not going to run, my head was thumping, I was sickly. The result was that one or two supporters were shouting, and I could not blame them. I was slowing to a walk. I was terrible.

"When the match was over I managed to drive back to Manchester and right to bed."

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The following Monday he saw the doctor who wanted to know what he had been doing the previous week.

"Suddenly I remembered my mother had bought a sun lamp. I had been too close.

"He said I had had sunstroke."

After his disappointing performance on the field, he received a letter from Wellington Town saying he had been dropped to the reserves.

"I scored six goals in a 6-1 win. That was the end of my time with Telford FC."

In recounting his sorry story for the benefit of fans, he says: "That's why I had to leave Telford FC. In other words – don't play if you are not 100 per cent fit."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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