Great Harwood Legends
We’re taking a trip back in time to the end of the 1950’s when Arthur Metcalfe was gracing the Showground.
Arthur has been non too well over recent years so I travelled over to his Rawtenstall home to meet him and his lovely wife Anne, and I’m pleased to report that he was on ‘top form’ despite all of his problems.
Arthur joined us in 1958 from Bacup Borough who signed him from Blackpool. He’d played for the Seasiders for three years and although he appeared regularly for the reserves, he failed to break into the 1st team which was one of the best teams in the land at the time. Jimmy Armfield and Stanley Mathews being just two of the stars at Bloomfield Road.
At the time he signed for Harwood, we were competing in the Lancashire Combination 2nd Division but the standard of football was really high and according to Arthur, “It was a very professional set up which couldn’t be faulted.”
The players would receive a letter or telegram on the Friday lunchtime prior to following day’s game, informing them whether they would be in the team, and if so, which position they’d been selected for. Training took place twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Many of the players, including Arthur, were semi-professionals who earned a fantastic wage of £10 a week plus expenses, making it more lucrative than his ‘proper job’!
The team played in gold shirts which I’m sure will come as a surprise to many of you, and some of our opponents during that period will come as an even bigger surprise-I’ve never even heard of some of them!
Southport Reserves, Wigan Athletic Reserves, Chorley Reserves, Netherfield Reserves and Horwich Reserves.
St. Helens Town, Stalybridge, Leyland Motors, Glossop, Droylsden, Nelson, Clitheroe and Morecambe.
Earlestown, who hailed from the Liverpool area, Rolls Royce, Northern Nomads (Manchester) and Crompton Recs., who Arthur and I haven’t got a clue about!
After his stint with Harwood, he retired for three years until incessant pestering by Clitheroe brought him back.
After football, Arthur became a traffic warden (never mind the booing!) and still found himself making the headlines in the newspapers. In 1984 he foiled a bank robbery in his home town of Rawtenstall when he booked the would-be robbers for parking on double yellows!
Our hero has been a season ticket holder at Bloomfield Road for more years than he cares to remember but was hoping to renew his affiliation with the Robins because of his health and the travelling involved. Sadly that didn’t transpire after Harwood folded in 2006.
All the best for the future from everyone here at the web site
Was there anyone supporting Harwood in the late ‘50’s who can remember Arthur? Please send me your memories for inclusion on the web site.
Great Harwood ‘legend’
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