FA honours Charlbury Town FC's Keith Claridge for half-century of service to sport

Keith Claridge with his long-service award

Keith Claridge with his long-service award Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

WHEN Keith Claridge started his love affair with his town football team, the sporting landscape was a different world.

The European Cup was in its infancy and had only ever been won by Real Madrid, the world transfer record was £93,000 and English football was dominated by the likes of Burnley, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday.

Mr Claridge, who retired this summer after 54 years with Charlbury Town FC, said that the biggest change was that, back then, there were fewer things for youngsters to do.

He said: “The interest isn’t there now because there’s a lot more things for youngsters to do so they don’t all show the interest.

“They start at eight so by the time they get to men’s football they want to do other things.

“I don’t think it’s as competitive as it used to be – there’s still some good players but it’s not as evenly matched.

“The league was bigger and everyone showed more commitment then.

“Running a team is also a lot dearer now – years ago people used to do things voluntarily but there’s fewer people involved now.”

Mr Claridge, 69, started playing for the club’s boys’ team aged 15 in the Witney and District Minor League in 1960.

He graduated to the men’s team when he was 18, playing right wing-back, inside right and right wing.

He was part of the first Charlbury team to win the Witney and District League Premier Division in the 1970s before retiring in his late 30s.

After about two years away from the game, he returned as manager for the youth and men’s sides, before taking up a secretary role.

The self-employed decorator, who works with his wife Janette, was given the Doug Margetts Award, handed out by Witney and District FA for long service.

Mr Claridge, who has four children and two grandchildren, said: “I got involved because I lived in Charlbury and years ago you had to play within a five-mile radius of where you lived, so you tended to stay in the same village.

“Being manager was difficult because people drop out on a Saturday morning and you struggle to find a replacement.

“I’ve met a lot of people through football and I’ll quite often see referees, managers and players.

“Some opposition players you don’t want to meet again but when you’re off the field it’s fine.”

Club secretary Russell Jeffries said: “We are extremely proud that Keith has been recognised by the Witney and District FA for his dedication and long service to football, and the club is grateful for all of his hard work and commitment over the years.”

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.


Our top stories

Jayden trial: Jake Blakeley tells jury his killer brother was evil

Oxford Mail: Jake Blakeley, 18, from Didcot

8:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

A TEENAGER accused of helping his brother bury the body of Jayden Parkinson wept in the dock as he was told to look at photos of the two graves.

'I'm glad my evil ex has been jailed for injuring me'

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

A WOMAN left with life-changing injuries after her violent boyfriend pulled her car’s handbrake on the A40 said she is glad the “evil” man has been jailed.

Johnny Mullins backing Oxford United's quality

Oxford Mail: Johnny Mullins

9:00am Saturday 24th January 2015

Johnny Mullins says Oxford United’s squad have the quality to get themselves out of trouble even without help from new signings.

Haggis and a wee dram on menu for Burns Night

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 24th January 2015

FAMILIES and friends across Oxford are coming together to celebrate Sunday’s Burns Night in style.

Delight at decision to replace whole water pipe in Normandy Crescent

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 24th January 2015

RESIDENTS have welcomed Thames Water’s decision to replace the water pipe running through a flood-blighted street as “a step in the right direction.”

A34 northbound re-opened after lorry crash

Oxford Mail:

8:28am Saturday 24th January 2015

THE A34 northbound between Marcham and Milton re-opened this evening after the road was closed when a lorry crashed into a ditch last night.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:18am Sat 30 Aug 14

Myron Blatz says...

Retired? I hear Oxford United are looking for new players, Mr Claridge ....
Retired? I hear Oxford United are looking for new players, Mr Claridge .... Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree