Poringland football stalwart celebrates 70 years with club
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
He has been a player, groundsman, linesman, referee, secretary and committee member – and even helped his wife to make the sandwiches.
And Malcolm Partridge has now notched up a remarkable 70th year connected with Poringland Football Club.
The 81-year-old made his debut in the boys' team in 1947 and the senior team five years later, playing as a wing-half for the club for 21 years. After that, he hung on to his boots and continued for a further 17 years as a referee. Even after that, he has continued in a variety of off-field roles.
'I have lived here my whole life, and Poringland has always been my team,' he said. 'Boys did not move teams in those days, and every player would live in Poringland. Nobody had a car, so you would play for the local team. When I played my first senior game I made a note of it – in 1952 at Bawburgh. I would have been around 16 or 17 at the time, and we all wore black armbands because the King had just died. Prior to that I played junior football. They played on a farmer's field for the first two years, and it was all Saturday football at the time. The vicar wouldn't let you kick off at 10.30am on a Sunday in those days, because everyone needed to be at church.'
Mr Patridge, a retired decorator, is a life-long club president and his support remains undimmed.
'I would move heaven and earth for Poringland Football Club. I go and see the team play every week, and never miss a home game, apart from being in hospital for a couple of weeks.
'My highlight of all the years was when we won the Saturday Norfolk Junior Cup. We played the final at Carrow Road in 1991, when we played Mattishall in the final and won 6-1.
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'Leading up to that, Mattishall had been the favourites. We were the underdogs but managed to win by that margin in the final.'
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