September 6, 2022
A Brit has organized a replay of a school football match after 50 years of feeling guilty for scoring a “foul” goal, reports the Good News Network.
Graeme Jones admitted to shoving a goalkeeper who had the ball in his hands, “ten yards” over the goal line in the dying seconds of a match to earn a “dubious” draw in September 1972.
But the former Royal Navy training instructor said he was determined to “put right a wrong” after learning of the result’s lasting impact on his aggrieved local rivals.
It was no mean feat either, as Jones had to spend 18 months assembling the same line-up from the Gayton Primary School team, in the Wirral, who took on St Peter’s School half a century ago. And before the game—played on Saturday, August 27—they even recreated an old squad photo that had appeared in a local paper when they were just ten years old.
Jones’s bitter rivals went on to take a stunning 6-2 win in the one-off geriatric grudge match.
Although he was left feeling disappointed with the final result, Jones said he could now put his “demons to bed”.
“We got stuffed because they had to bring on a couple of [younger players],” said Jones. “But my demons have been put to bed and my conscience is clear now, and we would have still lost regardless.”
He added, “As I said before if we lose, we lose, and I wanted to turn a wrong into a right.”
It became all the more urgent to put the matter to bed since, during 2020 lockdowns, when the idea of organizing the game came to Jones, he discovered that his neighbor from the St. Peter’s team had never forgiven him for playing dirty all those years ago.
“He told me, ‘I remember that game, and I’ve never forgiven you,’” said Jones. “‘You shoved the goalkeeper about ten feet behind the line in the corner kick in the dying minute, and your school PE teacher [the referee] gave the goal.”
“I was a center-half back in the day, and I just came up and bulldozed my way through,” he reminisced. “You wouldn’t get away with it today.”
Over the next couple of years ,Jones went about tracking down every former player who’d been in his school team’s original starting line-up. He had to bully a few and plead to others—but he managed to get the exact, albeit greyer, starting team as before.
The two teams played a 30-minute-a-side match at nearby Heswall football club’s ground, with a raffle set up to help buy Jones’s old school a new team kit.
And though Jones said that “the best parts of him are in a hospital bin” and that the team of golden oldies wouldn’t attempt another match, he said they would continue to meet up and renew their bonds following the now iconic fixture, with 522 years of memories between them all.
Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork