Monday, September 1, 2008

Illusions shattered

Being a Bromley supporter in the 60s and 70s meant having very little to feel smug about. The team regularly finished around the bottom of the Isthmian League, no players were ever picked for representative sides and there were never any FA Cup shocks involving Bromley.
But one thing I always clung on to was the fact that we were genuinely amateur. This explained to my pre-pubescent mind why every other team seemed to be better. It was obviously because they paid their players and we didn't.
I held onto this source of comfort for nearly 40 years. Until last February. That was when, during researching The Bromley Boys, I asked an ex-player why he left the club (and broke my heart) in 1969. He said that he'd had enough of the manager at the time and just wanted out. He then dropped a bombshell. He told me that one of the committee members begged him to stay and stuffed a wad of cash in his boots, which were in his locker. "It was twice as much as my normal weekly payment", the ex-player said. "But I still decided to move".
There are some things you should never, ever have to find out.

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