Tribute by Johnnie Walker
Your football boots will always have a place on the pitches at the Hackney Marshes
By now most of you, especially older members, will be aware of the sad passing away of our dear friend, Treasurer, & former Chairman Alec Pretlove. Alec meant so much more to this league than mere titles, he was a real part of the furniture so to speak and he played from the time that the league was formed, then went on to manage teams, and eventually became Treasurer and Chairman of the league.
I am privileged to have known Alec almost all those bygone years, and he and I have served as league officers together for a great number of those times. I well remember Alec taking the rolls of Chairman & Treasurer and doing an amazing job of running both offices at the same time even though some difficult times cropped up from time to time. But in spite of occasional times whenever problems arose, he along with Jack Walpole steadied the ship and kept the league viable and strong through those stormy periods.
As I say, Alec was always involved with this league from the very start but I first met him when my team, Coach and Horses FC played his team in a friendly fixture at our ground in Shepperton as we were both in different Leagues. Our private ground was situated behind a pub and the reason teams didn’t mind coming all that way for a game is because the pub always entertained the two teams after every game, and this being in the days when a few liberties were taken regarding booze and driving, and Alec’s team were no exception.
After the game when we were all eventually turfed out of the pub, their driver didn’t know the way home so he said he would follow us. So we set off and we had got about half a mile down the road when we heard a massive bang behind us and to our amusement Alec’s lorry had driven into some geezer’s garden wall and damaged it beyond recognition into a pile of bricks. Alec never forgot that time and always twisted the story by blaming our driver by stating that he pulled up too quick.
That was our first meeting and when I eventually returned to play in the Hackney & Leyton League we formed a real friendship as we had common ground remembering our previous encounter. Alec was already on the Management Committee when my team, MG Sports, joined the League again and Alec soon was to be elected unanimously as Chairman. He and Jack persuaded me to also become a member of the committee and eventually Alec asked me to become Vice Chairman.
Alec to his great credit also agreed to take the office as the Hon. Treasurer, this was a position of trust and it couldn’t have gone to a more honest man. Alec was as true and straight as any person could possibly be and earned the trust and respect of all our teams. He was hardly ever challenged regarding his figures and on the rare occasion when he was he would take the time to provide the claimant with a calm and considered explanation that invariably stopped the accusers in their tracks.
I don’t know how he managed it but as well as being the Chairman & the Treasurer, he also managed a very successful football team, namely Hoxton FC, who won many of the Leagues Senior Trophies over a number of years. He was so proud of his team’s achievements, and rightly so especially as one of his sons David was an important and very talented member of the team.
As always, Hoxton, like other highly successful teams before them, became older and eventually retired from the league and Alec also was beginning to find the work load was taking up too much of his time and this led him to resign his position as League Chairman. I was then elected to take over as the Chairman, a position I hardly wanted at the time because I was aware that Alec would be a very hard act to follow as he was so popular with everyone.