Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A QUICK WORD WITH.........TONY QUINLAN

Back in April 2010 The Cold End wrote an article in the 'forgotten football' series about Beckton United who unfortunately folded back in 1996 -  LINK TO FORGOTTEN FOOTBALL - BECKTON UNITED.

Here we had the chance to speak to Tony Quinlan who played for the club from 1968 through to 1979 to get his memories (including scoring nine goals in one game) about the club who are fondly remembered by those who played and watched them.

What position did you play?
I was an out and out striker. I played all my football on the shoulder of the last defender. I had pace to burn and was often flagged offside when I knew I had timed my run to perfection. Also had a cool head and when one on one with keepers.... I used to take the ball around them giving myself an empty net. I regularly scored thirty plus goals a season throughout my career.

Where exactly was the Beckton United ground?
 
The Beckton United ground stood at the junction of East Ham Manor Way and the A13...It was leased from the old North Thames Gas Board.We had no floodlights or stand. We did have the pitch roped off and had decent dressing rooms and a clubhouse/bar. The pitch was beautifully maintained. The club moved here in 1972 after originally playing on the Wanstead Flats.

What crowds did you get?
At home, we'd get maybe forty or more but I can remember playing away to teams like Waltham Abbey, Welling United, Fisher Athletic, Beckenham Town and Chingford in the Spartan League during the 1970's in front of crowds of a couple of hundred.

Who was the best player ever played with?
Brian Slade....played for the club from the very beginning of the Geevor days right up until around his 40th birthday I believe. Tremendous full back, strong in the tackle, great distribution. Could have played at a much higher level in my opinion.

What was the worst ground you played on?
An Essex Cup tie in Thundersley. The pitch was a cow-field with goals placed on it.

What team were your main rivals?
East Ham were our local rivals as the grounds were only a few hundred yards apart. They were in the Essex Senior League in those days while we were a rung or two below in the Spartan League. We played them in pre-season games a number of times.

What is your best memory playing for Geevor/Beckton United?
Personally, that has to be when we were in the London Business Houses League in 1969 and won a London Junior Cup tie 16-0. I scored nine times! Three headers, Three with my left foot and Three with my right. We were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute. I wanted to take it and score ten but they let our keeper take it (he hadn't had a touch of the ball in 90 minutes)......he put it over the bar!

What was your worst memory playing for Geevor/Beckton United?
Being sent off for the only time in my career. I called the referee a **** and he took great offence.

Where did the name Geevor come from/originate?
The two guys that started the club were Stock Exchange workers Martin Evanson and George Raffelli. The 'Ge' and the 'or' is from George with the 'Ev' from Evanson. Amazingly, during a tour of Cornwall in the very early 70's we played a side called 'Geevor Tin Mines'

Football now or Football then? What can be done to fix the game or make it better now?
When I played in the 1960's and 1970's teams played to win....now teams play not to lose, at all levels. The goals don't flow the way they once did. Either make the goals a foot higher and a yard wider or make games 10 a side.

The Beckton local area is still represented by a number of football teams.

'The Lord Sanctury' or TLS currently play in the Esssex Business Houses Saturday Football League and currently top the table. Their website states "We are a team made up of players from diverse cultures and religions. We welcome footballers from all nations, ethnicities and religious backgrounds especially youths, as we use this medium to get them occupied rather than having time to cause mayhem on the streets".

'East London Catalans' play in The Essex Sunday Football Combination Senior Division for the 2013/14 and their next fixture is against 'Ilford Reserves' on Sunday 13th October at Beckton District Park.

A team called 'Beckton Athletic' were also members of the league a few seasons back but as far as I know don't play anymore. Also using Beckton District Park are 'Subco FC' (Independent South Essex Sunday Football League Division Three) and 'Club 2012' of the ISESFL Division Four. There is also a team named 'Beckton Gas' whom play in the Dagenham and District Sunday League Division One but play their home games at Old Dagenham Park.   

If your ever driving along the A13 in Beckton near to the old ski slope (locally known as The Beckton Alps) take a look where the West Ham United Community Ground/artificial pitches are (which is roughly where the Beckton ground was) and think of Tony scoring nine goals in one game!!

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