The following article by Rollo Wicksteed appeared in the Steep & Stroud Newsletter in May 2019
The photograph of Stroud’s “Tin Hut” in last month’s magazine brought back memories of Sunday football some forty (or was it fifty?) years ago. Readers may be surprised to know that during the Sixties and Seventies there was a flourishing Steep Football Team which, although it had no home ground, played every Sunday and changed not only in the “Tin Hut” but at Buriton Village Hall, Dunannie, The Harrow, an old railway carriage and the back of various trucks and cars.
The team was the brainchild of David Fielder, son of the Town Councillor Bob Fielder, proprietor of a wonderful corn merchant’s in Chapel Street where you could buy straw for your guinea pig, a handle for your pitch fork or an ounce of mixed lettuce seed scooped out of a bin and wrapped by Mr Fielder in person.
Dave was football mad but one of those players whose best chance of a game was to find ten friends to join him. It is a token of his determination and hard work, not to say the affection in which he was widely held, that he quickly attracted a pretty good team, or at least some pretty good players willing and able to bolster some pretty bad ones.
Sunday football is often a jolly romp among pals before the pub opens and there was a bit of that, until we joined the Meon Valley Sunday League and found ourselves travelling as far afield as the suburbs of Southampton, and on occasion coming up against some feral teams of urban delinquents! We took pride in holding our own in most company and retained our faith in a team of wildly variable talents, known affectionately as “Fielder’s Fairies”. Limping around the locality it would still be possible to find an eleven proud to have been part of that team and happy to change wherever the fates, and Dave, took us. We even reached a local Cup Final although we didn’t win. I still have my medal somewhere, suitably inscribed not “Finalist” but “Loser”. Happy Days indeed!
©RolloWicksteed May 2019