Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tonbridge Blog is back....

Tonbridge blog has been left unmanned for the past few days but there really was no need to worry about my safety or, for that matter, my sanity. I wasn't stuck in the tunnels under the Castle whilst looking for hidden treasure, nor was I ill or injured. There were teenagers in Mr. Books over the weekend, but hopefully keeping the business going and not partying (I'll have to have words maybe!) It's nice to see so many comments being posted while I was away; perhaps I should let you all just write the whole thing and be done with it! Actually the reason for my absence was my attending the funeral of a family friend up North and I decided to make a weekend of it and stop at my Mum's for a few days. The funeral was for Ron 'Canonball' Cockerill who no one in Tonbridge has probably ever heard of; but in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area, let me tell you, the man is a legend. He was a great servant of Grimsby Town Football Club from about 1958 to 1969 and got the nickname from his extremely powerful boot which was used to great effect in a number of free kicks during his early days at the club. He was also a gent off the pitch and a great inspiration to the younger players. Grimsby are now playing in the Blue Square Premier League but, during Ron's day they played the likes of Chelsea, Man City, West Ham and the other top sides. They were never a massive club themselves but they were certainly a formidable force back then. His funeral was like a trip down memory lane with all the players I remember watching as a kid in the late sixties and seventies in attendance. Among them was ex England manager, Graham Taylor, who played for Grimsby Town from about 1962 to 1968 as a fellow defender with The Canonball. Graham gave a moving tribute to Ron during the service at Grimsby Crematorium which left everybody present wiping a tear from their eye. It was a great testament to the man that there was such a large turn out of so many ex players and friends. But to me Ron will always be my mate's dad who tried to teach me to kick a ball with my left as well as my natural right foot on the school field at the back of their house. I never did quite master it but that was probably my fault and nothing to do with the coach!

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