Looking Back: By George, he’s a football stalwart

Morecambe Grammar School 1st XI
Morecambe Grammar School 1st XI

I spent a pleasant hour recently with a young man who was secretary, trainer, manager and general factotum of Morecambe Grammar School Old Boys in the years after World War II.

George Stevens recalled: “Following the Second World War a number of Morecambe Old Grammarians met at the George Hotel, Torrisholme in 1946 and after a well-attended meeting decided to approach the Morecambe Grammar School Old Grammarians committee and the Headmaster of Morecambe Grammar School, Mr H. H. Palmer, to see if it was possible to launch a football team.

“Both these parties agreed and it was decided to go ahead playing friendly matches.

“The following year it was decided to apply for membership of the North Lancashire League”.

For season 1948-49 the team was entered in Division II Section “B” of the North Lancs League and finished in a creditable 3rd place behind Heysham Reserves and Lancaster NALGO.

For six seasons MGSOB’s played in the North Lancs League before joining the Lancashire Amateur League (LAL) in 1954-55. They had previously been members of the North Lancs League for six seasons prior to World War II from 1934-35 to 1939-40 inclusive.

During those years in the “LAL” George was joined on the touchline by a young cub reporter, Mike Whalley, who went on to become editor of the Morecambe Visitor.

Mike remembers reporting on these games and quite often he would have orders from the Bolton Evening News – introduction and teams before the kick-off; 25 words quarter-time; 25 words half-time; 25 words three-quarter time; and final result and scorers. It doesn’t sound much now but it entailed Mike sprinting every time to the public phone box on the corner of Dallam Avenue and Broadway (cursing when he found a starry-eyed girl ringing her beau) to get the reports through.

Fortunately, faithful coach George Stevens (standing next to his bucket of ice cold water) would bring Mike up to date when he returned – good old George, the backbone of grassroots football.

George later became deputy transport manager for the old Morecambe and Heysham Corporation buses.