From the 1963/64 season onwards I played regularly, initially for the reserves and as time progressed more for the first team. Facilities were improving too. We used the gymnasium at Knebworth House for winter training and we had a coach to take us on some of the longer journeys for away trips. One such journey was to Saffron Walden in the middle of winter. As we set off the fog started to come down and got heavier during the journey. It seemed to take forever to get to the ground but eventually we arrived……..in Colchester, needless to say the game was postponed.
There were many works sides in the County League at this time with excellent facilities. The best amongst them were ICI (Plastics), Sun Sports, Tabulator Sports and all the de-Havilland clubs.
For our home matches most of us met up first at the Station Hotel, where a pre-match warm up involved consuming a couple of pints of brown and mild before arriving at the rec. in just enough time to get changed before kick-off.
One of the most successful teams in The Herts. County League at this time was Leavesden Hospital. They had previously played in the Spartan League and the London League and had excellent facilities with a stand. It was heavily rumoured that their first team consisted of individuals employed because of their footballing ability and not because of their skills in looking after mentally ill patients. Playing at the ground was always difficult as patients were allowed to run about in a fenced off area opposite the main stand. They were supposed to be supervised by staff but invariably they would hurl verbal abuse at the players and sometimes throw objects onto the pitch. Understandably play usually moved to the far side of the pitch where the stand was.
At the conclusion of 1963/64 season Leavesden Hospital were Premier Division champions, North Mymms won Division One, Colney Heath Reserves Division Two and Hitchin Town “A” Division Three. Leavesden Hospital completed the double defeating Rickmansworth Town 3-1 in the Aubrey Cup Final. Knebworth finished third in Division One, in which only two teams were promoted but as the second placed team was Marconi Instruments Reserves, Knebworth were promoted to the Premier Division. Knebworth Reserves finished a respectable fourth in Division Three.
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