Retro: Ex-England star Chris Waddles dazzlles fans at Worksop Town reserves
In his latest series on Worksop Town reserves, Steve Jarvis takes a look back on the 2001/02 campaign.
The season saw former England star Chris Waddle dazzle the fans and sign autographs during a match.
As well as the Northern Premier League XI, the club ran U18, U19 and a full Saturday afternoon reserve side.
The latter XI played in the Central Midlands League Reserve Premier Division along with Long Eaton Utd, Shirebrook Town, Sneinton, Holbrook, Heanor Town, Dunkirk, Greenwood Meadows, Sandiacre Town, Graham Street Prims, Teversal, Clipstone, Hucknall Rolls Royce and Selston. This was a good adult standard without too much travelling. In addition the League Cup, with ties played over 2 legs provided extra fixtures.
Worksop opened with a home game against Shirebrook Town on Tuesday 28th August. This game was staged at the Smokey’s Ground in Langold and resulted in a 3-0 win. Sean Varley 2 and Ryan Hindley, who much more recently returned to manage the club, got the goals. Wins over Heanor (2-0), Selston (3-0) and Graham St Prims (2-1) followed along with a 2-2 draw at Teversal, before the first taste of defeat, 0-3 against Sneinton (now known as Carlton Town) at Smokeys.
In spite of a constantly changing pool of available players, the bane of Reserve teams everywhere, the Worksop lads were always competitive, but couldn’t quite keep pace with the League leaders Long Eaton. In the League Cup, however they went all the way to the Final, beating Sneinton “A” 12-2 on aggregate, Heanor Town Reserves 3-1 (Agg) and South Normanton Reserves 13-0 (Agg). In the Final they met Shirebrook Town Reserves at neutral Clipstone MW on April 25th. A cracking Cup Final finished all square at 3-3. Sadly the Penalty shoot-out went to Shirebrook by 5-4.
After this disappointment the Worksop side still had a League game to play away to Selston, with the chance of overhauling Shirebrook in the League and grabbing the Runners up spot. In the event, this match was played at Westwood Recreation Ground on 7th May, Selston’s Parish Hall Ground by then being in use for Cricket, on a thankfully fine and sunny evening. A handsome 4-0 win was registered, but the Shirebrook lads also won their final match, so Worksop Town Reserves finished 3rd behind Long Eaton and Shirebrook, having amassed 13 wins and 6 draws from the 26 League matches.
To finish this article, where it started, so to speak, I have a very clear memory of arriving at Sandy Lane to find that the scheduled 1st team home game had just been called off with the players all there. The Reserve team manager was quickly asked if he needed anyone for his game up the road at Langold. Well, I only need a Goalkeeper was the reply. “I’ll Play” chimed a Geordie voice, yes Chris Waddle, International, Premier Division Star, Super Celebrity, but always happy to just play football.
The Worksop club was also fortunate to have the services of Chris’s son, Jack in more recent times, and they are both forever welcome at Sandy Lane.