Gallery Nine

Back to Gallery 8    Forward to Gallery 10

While the T and Country School almost certainly had a football team since its beginnings it wasn’t apparently until the mid-60s that a fierce rivalry broke out with our neighbours Hereward House in adjacent Strathray Gardens.

For any youngster England’s World Cup win of 1966 had done wonders to introduce them to the beautiful game.

From there on there was an eagerness to replicate the talents of Moore, Hurst, Peters and co in our playground and at pitches on Hampstead Heath, Regent’s Park or Primrose Hill.

Geography teacher Ken Johnson who arrived in about 68 did much to encourage the sport and turn us into a good little team. Through a contact of his at Hereward House called Mr Fish we began a series of regular ‘derbies’ with them throughout the school year.

I can still remember being in the junior school and the joy of being picked to play with the seniors in my first match against Hereward House in Regent’s Park in 1967. I thought we had a good team but we lost 13-2 and Peter Nissen – who’s still my oldest and best mate – was in goal. I’ve never let him forget that day. It was deeply humiliating.

Our pride was deeply dented and we continued to play Hereward House, unfortunately losing more matches than winning until about 1969.

Players in our team from the late 60s include Mahmood, Matthew Rees, Alfie Nathan, Isaac Molayem, Alex Priest, Julian Estherson, Gary Bolton, Sheff Omar and a Persian guy named Ali who had a shot like a rocket. He was our Bobby Charlton.

Many of the football crazy T and C pupils would get to school a good 30 minutes before assembly to start the first of the day’s do-or-die games in the playground.

We also played the trendy King Alfred’s School from the Hampstead/Golders Green border on North End Road but they proved too strong and always beat us.

We kept a nucleus of good players throughout the late 60s but in about 1970 the tide finally turned and in our smart kit of red shirts, black shorts and red socks we started to whomp Hereward House on a regular basis.

By now we had a dedicated sports coach - a young ex-university grad who was studying to be a physio but whose name I’ve forgotten.

We were also joined in our playground games by our Maths teacher John Meuleman and the Scottish Science teacher Mr McDermott who had a memorable scrap with Alex Priest on Hampstead Heath.

In the ‘A’ team from 1971 were a new blood of young arrivals at the school such as Jeffrey ‘Nipper’ Isbet, Tommy the Polish goalkeeper, Demetri Belegris, Alex ‘Ox’ De Groot, and Uday Gadre.

On one memorable occasion we played in Regent’s Park and were cheered on by the girls – a fact that deeply riled the all-boy Hereward House. We won 2-0 and we felt like we’d won the World Cup ourselves.

I left the school in 1973, having been soccer captain for two years and often wonder what became of the T and C football team afterwards.

It would be great to hear other recollections of those Halcyon days or in fact see any other pictures of the T and C teams.

Apologies to any names I’ve omitted. It’s a very long time ago.

Mike Baess

Left to right in the photo at back are: Alfred Nathan, Pete Lucas, Sebastian Crewe, Bruce Blair and Timothy Bloomfield.
Middle row left to right: Eric Taylor, Dave Phillips, Pete Nissen, and Matthew Rees.
Front row left to right: Mike Baess, Lewis Dodd, Robert Maxwell, and Chris McAuliff.

Perhaps other people will add their memories or pictures. Football at the school was a big thing, for the boys at least.

Back to Gallery 8     Forward to Gallery 10