Nostalgia: A game for the boys – but who’s that girl?

Football used to be strictly for the boys – until the girls proved they could play the game just as well.

But back in the 1940s-1960s, when these photos were taken, the only time you were likely to see a girl at a game was when she was cheering from the sideline.

Crawley History

Crawley History

So who is the little girl in the team photo?

These photos were loaned by former Crawley Town player John Howe and he is curious as to the identity of the child smiling for the camera with the men of Three Bridges Football Club.

Mr Howe said the photo was taken some time in the late 1940s or early 1950s and he believes Stephenson Way now runs where the pitch used to be.

His father, Len Howe, is pictured second from the left at the front with Bernard Barker – owner of Barker’s taxis – second from the right.

Third from left on the back row is F Hollingdale, whose family owned Hollingdale’s shoe shop in Three Bridges Road, next to LC Down electrical goods store and with a bakery nearby.

When the new town was developed and companies began to take up residence in Manor Royal, works football teams were a common sight.

The photo of the Bowthorpe and Hellmans team was taken after they were crowned champions of the Mid Sussex League Division 4 for 1955-56.

Len Howe is pictured third from the left on the front row and Arthur Pattenden is on the far left on the front row.

John Howe said Bowthorpe and Hellmans was the final factory before the Beehive.

The site is now occupied by the Metrobus depot.

When it came to schools football, the team from Northgate were a force to be reckoned with in the 1950s.

The line-up of boys in our photo was taken c1955 and shows the Northgate team and a representative team made up of lads from the other schools in town.

John Howe, who attended Pound Hill Junior School, is pictured second from left on the front row while his school mate Peter Sait is on the far right of the front row.

Others he recognised were the goalie Keith Dyer, who attended Three Bridges, Tich Goodege (back row, second left) and Alan Ladd (back row, fourth left) who played for Northgate.

Next we have the Hazelwick School under 14s in 1960 under the watchful eye of PE teacher Mr Jepson.

In the back row, from left, were Roger Wilson, Robert Lee, Mick Clapp, Fred Mitchell, unknown, Eric Williams.

In the middle row, from left, were Roy Bateman, Mick Denman (capt), John Howe, Peter Smithson.

The only name provided for the front row was Paul Leppard who is on the right. Paul was a talented musician as well as a footballer.

The proud bunch of lads clutching trophies and holding one of the players aloft were members of the Bridges Boys Club in April 1965.

The team - who were all under 18 - had just won the Crawley Senior Cup, beating Silent Bloc 5-2 at Town Mead.

The team were, from left - not including the little face peering over the player’s shoulder on the left - Tich Goodege, John Howe, Barry Steer, Peter Sait, Brian Helm with Dick Howsome on his shoulders, Mick Denman, Alan Ladd, Ray Davis, Brian Rogerson and Peter Love.