On the ball with memories of Jeff Astle

Dorset Echo: GREAT PLAYER: Jeff Astle GREAT PLAYER: Jeff Astle

FOLLOWING the article about Terras star Jeff Astle (Looking Back, February 18), reader Mr Selby contacted us with his memories of the great footballer.

He said: “I was known as ‘Astle’s Mate’. The cricket team at Wellworthy’s was skippered by Tony Hobson, the-then captain of the Terras, and as Jeff had just joined the football team he asked Tony if he could play a couple of Evening League games to keep fit.

“So he called us all together and asked us if Jeff could play. We all agreed so Tony walks around the dressing room introducing Jeff to everybody.

“I was sitting next to Alan Hoskins who stood up, looked Jeff in the eye and said: ‘Can I ask you something?’ Jeff nodded and stepped back because Alan was about 6ft 5ins and built like a Centurion tank.

“So Alan said: ‘How the hell did you miss that open goal against Brazil?’ and from then Jeff became one of us.

“He was quite a decent cricketer and we won the six-a-side knockout competition. He was also my skipper and I got to know his wife – who was known as The Duchess – and two daughters very well.”

Mr Selby added: “Jeff and I also cleaned windows together and he was a very comical person, full of jokes and mad as a hatter.

“When he came back from the Channel Islands one time he had spent all his money so I suggested he push his wallet down the drain and tell his wife he’d dropped it there.

“He did just that, but she phoned the council and they managed to retrieve his empty wallet! I wasn’t allowed in their flat for a month! He was a great guy and I have many fond memories of that former England centre forward. He certainly knew where the back of the net was!”

Thank you Mr Selby.

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