ELEVEN-year-old Rooks fan Luke Davies has been a regular at the Dripping Pan for the past five years.
He and his dad Andy rarely miss a home game and regularly follow the Rooks on the road. This season Luke is also the kit sponsor for Christian Nanetti. You can gather from this that the youngster is a real fan.
Like most of us, Luke – pictured below with Nanetti – has been impressed by this season’s imaginative and eye-catching crop of match posters. So much so that he decided to pitch in with an idea of his own. The result is the current poster advertising tomorrow’s game against Carshalton. It features the iconic image of Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, instantly recognisable to us older folk who are tagged forever young with the epithet “Baby Boomer Generation”.
But Luke – who attends St Martins C of E Primary School in his home town of Brighton – seems a very unlikely present-day schoolboy to be familiar with “Che”, a man who, to quote Wikipedia, was: “A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage becoming a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.”
Phew – that’s quite a mouthful. So actually I was quite relieved to find that Luke is no urban Marxist revolutionary in the mould of a Citizen Smith of the Popular Kemp Town Seafront. He’s simply a sensible lad who knows an eye-catching image when he sees one.
When I passed on Luke’s own rendition of a match poster utilising the stylised Che image to Proworx designer David Sheppard, he immediately knew it was a good one: “I just needed to enhance the image and put in some suitable typography. Che’s image is so well known now that it can mean anything to anybody. In our case the fact is that there has been a real revolution at Lewes Football Club and individual fans can be involved in the club’s future as never before.
“But all that is really beside the point. The lad came up with an outstanding idea that made my job for this particular match poster nice and easy. Many thanks, Luke.”
HERBIE RIDES AGAIN
Peter Bucher’s memories of Sussex footballer Herbie Smith in last week’s Yarns drew quite a lot of attention. Not least from Peter himself who wrote this postscript: “I forgot to mention this: Oxford City v Southwick, around 1985 I guess. Wickers were defending frantically, so much so that Herbie was back there with them.
“The ball came to him around the penalty spot and, being Herbie, he decided he could solve the problem single-handed and off he set. Two blokes immediately closed him down and, well, if you can imagine John Wayne bursting through the swing doors of a saloon...
“A couple of other guys were brushed aside as he got up to top speed and that left the centre-back, on the halfway line, as the only man in his way. The poor fellow started to back off in increasing panic and eventually fell over. Herbie ran straight over him.
“The keeper came out, thought better of it and retreated again, and Herbie decided to blast it from the edge of the box. I’ve rarely seen a ball hit so hard and, amazingly, it finished in the top left-hand corner of the net.
“At this point there were at least six Oxford players on the ground in various states of shock and/or concussion.
“And the best thing about it was that Herbie ran about 80 yards without deviating an inch from a straight line.”
Alex Panton submits match reports on Peacehaven’s games. This week he prefaced his words with this message: “Loved the bit about the legendary Herbie Smith in the paper this week.
“Herbie was by all accounts an awesome player. I do remember seeing him make an unexpected appearance for Ringmer in a semi final against Burgess Hill in about 2002 and completely terrify their defence, despite then being about 45 and barely able to run...”
Another fan dug out some anonymous references gleaned from an exchange on the Nomad Sussex football site dating back half a decade: “For a while Herbie Smith was up there with Dalglish as my football hero after one of the old Brighton Centre five-a-side tournaments sometime in the early 80s.
“I think he was playing for Littlehampton but to my eight or nine-year-old eyes he won the competition pretty much on his own. I remember a Lewes v Whitehawk game when Herbie and Tony Flower went in for a 50/50 ball.
“It was late season and there was this huge cloud of dust. When it cleared they were eyeball to eyeball with neither prepared to back down. It was a brave ref who got in between them.”
Another post, clearly from an ex-Rook, said: “Herbie Smith. What a legend! I’m still to see thighs like it... all oiled up and his shorts tucked into his pants! He must have been 6’2” and 15 stone and didn’t have an ounce of fat on him.
“I joined Lewes when I was 18 back in 1991 when they were top of Ryman One. Midfield then was Geardy, Jimmy Quinn and Rico. They were hard men.
“I was playing for the reserves with Paul Stokes, Paul Boxall and some other really good young players when we lost to a Worthing league side 4-1 in the cup. Me and Stokesey both got sent off for fighting. Anyway, when I got back to the Dripping Pan, I heard Chealer had been sent off in the First Team game and manager Sammy Donnelly had thrown a wobbly and was gunning for me because he’d heard I had also been sent off.
“At Lewes there are windows the whole length of the front of the clubhouse. As I started to walk past these windows I could sense this absolutely huge geezer (Herbie) staring at me the whole way. He had black sunglasses on and sported a mohican hairdo. He made Mr T look like Arnold out of Diff’rent Strokes!
“When I walked around the corner and opened the door, Herbie was standing there right in my way. He growled something like ‘What are you looking at boy?’ I was lost for words and pretty apprehensive, to say the least.
“Luckily for me, Sammy pulled him away and then introduced him as our new player. Sammy added that if I wanted to get sent off for fighting then he would be pleased to arrange a fight with this new guy! Herbie just looked over his glasses and growled!
“I played alongside him for a year or so afterwards and found him to be a nice guy who was actually a big softie. He was a cult hero with the kids.
“At Littlehampton one year I remember a whole crowd of youngsters chanting ‘Herbie, Herbie, Herbie’.
“Fantastic times... “