In memory of his service to our league
This article is by way of a tribute to Albert Daniels. Our Albert passed away many years ago but those of us that knew him have not forgotten him and the great devotion and time he gave to the League.
Albert wasn’t a senior Officer of the League, but he was one of the Management Committee for many years and as such he performed many helpful duties above his remit, for instance, he was always available for a discipline hearing and all kinds of business that would crop up like disputes about teams playing ringers, although dear Albert, not wishing to offend anyone would wind up with a few splinters on his backside by sitting on the proverbial fence.
In the many years that I knew him, l can’t recall him missing many meetings, he was there same time on the dot every Tuesday evening, whether we had business to deal with or not, he just seemed that he liked the company of the rest of us, Alec, Jack, Ted, Macca, Kevin and myself, and in those days we were part of the furniture too.
Although getting on in years, Albert also managed to be on duty at the Marshes every Sunday, whilst some of us were on duty managing our league games on the East Marsh, Albert volunteered to organise our games at the other venues. This was a great help to the League for Albert coped as well as anyone with the problems that we all know crop up regularly and the clubs always trusted him to sort things out because I don’t know of a case when we had any complaints to deal with.
I have mentioned that Albert was getting on in years, but to look at him you wouldn’t have guessed it, he had very boyish features and I think he worked on into his seventies. He was a long distance driver who lived in Hoxton and often come straight to our meetings after a tiring days work. I got to know him when I first came back to the Hackney & Leyton League as a player with MG Sports after some years playing in the London Sunday League, our headquarters at the time at that time was another working man’s Club called Hackney Volunteers, and Albert used to sit with my Club Secretary and me having a couple of beers until he was called away to sit at a table with a few geezers l barely knew.
Obviously I got to know him better after those early encounters, and I learnt that he was involved in Management Committee affairs of which I was later to become involved in. However Albert was also the Secretary of Hoxton FC and being as he lived in Hoxton it was only right that he had a leading role in running that particular club, and what a football club they turned out to be when Alec Pretlove, the League’s Chairman at the time, took over as Manager and with a few new players they went on to win many of the Leagues Senior trophies, but in spite of much success Albert was never boastful about his input in running the club, he retained his modest ways and stayed in the background, but you could bet your last penny that he would be at the Marshes every Sunday morning watching and helping to run his beloved Hoxton FC.
Albert was also a long standing Arsenal supporter, of course he would be as he lived within walking distance to the old Highbury Stadium, and he was amongst friends because there was no shortage of Arsenal supporters who loved the ‘Gooners’ and they also chiefly made up the Hackney & Leyton Committee. You could bet your life that if you lived anywhere in that area or near it, then you were most likely to be a ‘Gooner’ and Albert was one amongst us, there was Alec, Ted, Macca, Jack, and me, that is until a another infiltrator, Jermaine, who supported Spurs came on the Committee and gave Kevin Doolan a bit of company. Of course as supporters of the 2 North East clubs there was frequent arguments between us, but I can’t ever remember Albert even raising his voice.
E N T E R E D I N T O R E S T 2 0 1 8
You would think that by coming from an area like Hoxton, a very tough area in the East End, brought up on Pie & Mash and surrounded by ‘boozers’ where the main source of entertainment was a punch up to end the night, and where geezers like our ‘Macca’ who incidentally is built like a ‘brick sh---house’ had to survive, and then we had a gentleman like Albert who lived his life along with his family quite happily and content and never seeming to have any worries.
Sadly his years caught up with him and although we didn’t know the reason for it at the time, he missed quite a few meetings and also Sundays which was unheard of if you knew him. Beginning to be concerned we asked Macca, who knew the family well, to diplomatically ask Albert’s wife if there was anything wrong because we didn’t want to give the impression that we were putting any pressure om him to get back to his so called duties, because to be honest we was missing his input and organisation skills at our other venues.
It took some time for him to tell us that he had been diagnosed with cancer and did not want to disclose it to all and sundry, but now we all knew the bad news he would take up his duties again.
And so he did, and you would never have known he was ill, he attended meetings again and never mentioned his cancer or anything about it, nothing at all, not if it was responding to treatment or if it was terminal, just nothing. He still came to meetings and was there to watch Hoxton on Sunday mornings as always, in fact he didn’t even look ill, and we imagined that any treatment he was getting was making him better, but we all kept our thoughts to ourselves, we wouldn’t bring the subject up at all.
I particularly remember one very sunny Sunday morning at the Hare & Hounds ground (Leyton FC), at one of our Cup Finals and Albert turned up looking as fit as a fiddle and full of the joys of spring and in the same mood as us all and acting as he hadn’t a care in the world. He immediately took over at the door to the Changing rooms and didn’t let anyone pass through without a players’ pass. He was right on the ball and seemed and looked his old self and it was hard to tell just how ill he was.
However, almost as we were just beginning to think he was OK and he was over his illness, his faithful wife LIL phoned Macca to say that Albert had passed away, Quite frankly the bad news came as a shock, I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly didn’t expect it, I imagined all was well as he never once complained of any discomfort, not once, he surely was a remarkable man for not showing any signs of depression or pain, and I for one don’t see how that’s possible.
So I think his memory and service to this league is well worth recording, he was never a Senior Officer but that was Albert, he just liked to stay in the background and he was a true Eastender, not a plastic one like you see on the ‘telly’ he was the real McCoy and true to style he had a areal Cockney funeral where the buffet included A massive tub of jellied eels of which I am ashamed to admit Ted and myself demolished as best we could because we were the only ones that loved them.
That memory will stay with me forever and every time I eat Jellied Eels now, I always think of our Dear Albert. One of the best!