‘The Golden Boys’ - 30 years of meeting up to play football and still going strong.

PUBLISHED: 10:41 23 April 2020

The Golden Boys line up before playing an 11-a-side fixture. Picture; CONTRIBUTED

The Golden Boys line up before playing an 11-a-side fixture. Picture; CONTRIBUTED

Archant

You may not of heard of the ‘Golden Boys’, but there is a good chance that if you are of a certain age and love your local football you will know of someone who is involved.

The Golden Boys line up before playing an 11-a-side fixture. Picture; CONTRIBUTEDThe Golden Boys line up before playing an 11-a-side fixture. Picture; CONTRIBUTED

The Golden Boys are a group of ex-players, who can be found playing an unusually high level of football every Thursday evening and have been doing so for over three decades!

They don’t play in a league and in fact only play one official match per season.

Founded 31 years ago, initially by a group of enthusiastic Kings’ sixth formers, two of which still play (Anthony ‘Griff’ Griffiths and Kevin ‘Sexy’ Sexton) numbers started to dwindle and there was a real possibility that the kick around would fold.

However, whilst playing local cricket with some of the originals, the Exeter City legend that is Jimmy Giles, fancied a game - and the rest, as they say, is history. Such was the enjoyment and the standard it was deemed ideal for higher ability players returning from injury. Word soon spread, the opportunity to play to a decent standard without over enthusiastic foul play was a great attraction and soon numbers grew.

The Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Following Jimmy; other former City players such as; Frankie Prince, Alan Banks, Scott Hiley and Phil Roberts, graced the Colin Tooze artificial surface along with more recent local talent - Gary Carpenter, Mike Napper, Roger Trivett, and Simon Hudson, who are still to be found demonstrating their silky skills on a weekly basis.

The group are now mainly comprised of ex-players from Ottery, Sidmouth, Feniton and Sidbury; in addition, Ottery’s local optician, mortgage advisor, landlord, former Post Office manager and window cleaner, are all amongst this elite group of finely tuned sportsmen.

Longevity has meant that the group now have fathers and sons playing alongside/ against each other: Ken and Ian Mortimer, Rob and Mark Perryman; The Devine and Badcock brothers are also regular attendees.

Make no mistake this is no ‘tin-pot’ outfit and not anyone can join. Criteria have to be met!

The Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

1. You must be over the age of 35.

2. You must be able to play or have played to a decent level of football.

3. You must pass a successful interview with the infamous selection committee. Comprising of Ken Mortimer, Jay Thorne, Scott Gibbins, Robin Perryman and Kevin Tooze.

The Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

With a pool of about 30 players this really has become a band of brothers. Turn out each week ranges from 16 to 26 with injuries and television being the main reason for absence.

If you miss three consecutive weeks you face disciplinary measures or even risk being replaced by one of the many people on the waiting list.

Not content with a weekly game of football the ‘Golden Boys’ have developed to such a degree that each week they have a post-match nutritionist - Mike from the Volunteer Inn - who provides wonderful food and substantial re-hydration.

The Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe Golden Boys at one of their post match gatherings. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The last five years have seen an Easter tour with Golden boys venturing further afield (Jersey) playing a St Helier-based side.

The 2019 tour saw over 20 of the group travelling and was topped off with a fine 4-0 victory with two goals coming from ‘Man of the Match’ Perryman Jnr. Unfortunately, this year’s trip was cancelled, but event organiser Scott Gibbins is already making plans for the next one.

The Golden Boys truly are unique group of players, who continue to thrive and for many involved the Thursday night exercise is now part of their way of life. Testament to its success Jimmy still often comes to spectate; as do some of the injured players.

The attraction of the football, personalities and the banter means that the football will continue long into the future.


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