What a result!
When reader Barrie Downey appealed for a home for a cartoon of Marsden Juniors football team that he found in his loft, he “netted” the ideal recipient when Paul Clark contacted me.
For Paul’s dad, a former Marsden player, is featured on the cartoon, as he explains.
“I’ve been looking at the photograph which was in the Gazette, depicting the ‘all conquering’ Marsden Junior’s team,” he said.
“My father is depicted, jumping within the cartoon (George Clark). He passed away in 2012, and the photograph was part of his extensive photograph collection.
“The photograph has been mislaid since I lost my mother in 2013, although I took a photograph of the cartoon when we were clearing my parents’ house.
“My father’s original is somewhere within four packing-case size boxes of photographs which are stored in my garage.
“I’m afraid I don’t have much information to add to the cartoon.
“The cartoon was to celebrate either a cup win or league win.
“The Marsden Juniors side were a formidable team, I’m sure my father’s copy has the date and further details attached to the rear.”
After passing on Paul’s details, Barrie, who runs his own business, BD Joinery, handed-over the cartoon to a delighted Paul.
“It’s lovely to be re-united with the caricature of my father,” said Paul.
“It’s splendid to have an original again.”
Another person to appear in the Gazette cartoon, drawn by Dodge, is number 5, Robert ‘Bobby’ Burn.
Mr Burn, who is 84, remembers posing for the cartoon when he played for Marsden – and when he met the famous footballer, Sir Stanley Matthews.
He said when he played for the team, Marsden Juniors were run by Ralph Bagley.
“I played for them when I was 15, in 1950,” said Mr Burn, who lives in Cleadon.
“They were sponsored by Whitburn miners who paid a penny a week from their wage.”
The side was a feeder team for Middlesbrough, a link which Mr Burn thinks took one young Marsden player (he couldn’t recall his name) to the Teessiders and then onto England.
“Every year, about April time, we went to play Middlesbrough Juniors at Ayresome Park. During the 1950-51 season I was playing for them when we went to Middlesbrough.
“We played the junior team in the morning and in the afternoon watched the league game between Middlesbrough and Blackpool.
“Stan Mortensen got to know that we were in the stadium and came and got us and took us down to the changing room where I met Stanley Matthews.
“He was great.”
Although Mr Burn had two trials for Sunderland, he eventually went to work at Parsons.
“I ended up playing for a number of local teams until I was 34-years-old,” he added.
“A lot of the other lads in that Marsden side also stayed in local soccer.”
And what of the cartoon? Well Mr Burn has lost his copy of it, but remembers it being done.
“I remember when the artist came and did it. We had to go into the dressing room one at a time and the artist drew us. It took him about five minutes to do each player, and it was done over the course of four matches.”
Among the other players portrayed is goalkeeper Don Davison, who was Mr Burns’ best man at his wedding.
“Those days were the happiest of my footballing life,” he added.