REST IN PEACE LEW WATHEN
It is with great regret I announce the passing on of CTFC Ex-Secretary Lew Wathen.
Lew died in hospital on Boxing Day morning after a long illness. I have no other information but will update this site as and when details are confirmed.
Lew was still an Honorary President of the Midland Combination after being Chairman from 1989 to 1994.
Lew was with Coleshill for many years. First as treasurer then secretary from 1967 to 1972 before being snapped up by the League.
He was, right up to the end, a Coleshill supporter. He was, as often as his health would allow, at the games and only a couple of months ago I interviewed him in regard to Coleshill's history. His mind was sharp and his passion undiminished.
I'm sure I won't be the only one to say that his sort are few and far between and he will be sorely missed.
Lew is pictured below with the successful team of 1966/67, back row far right. He was treasurer at that time. Also in the picture: Back Row: D. Davies, J. Clayton (secretary), H. Deeming, E. Deavin, J. Dicken, J. Lines, C. Lyons, L.Bradley, B. Griffin (manager) and Lew. Front Row: R. Sanders, G. Davies, J. Carroll, M. Curtis, A. Ewan. The team are pictured with the Aston Villa Shield, the Coleshill Charity Cup and the Queens Hospital Cup which they won that season. Coleshill finished second in the Birmingham Youth and Old Boys Mercian League which prompted them to join the Worcestershire Combination the next season.
Picture from the Coleshill Chronicle Herald Friday 8th September 1967.
Another picture of Lew which I have just recieved. Same year as above but at the presentation night. Lew is on the left of the back row. Also standing far right is John Clayton. Not sure of the person between them? Sitting down far left is D. Davies and the remaining seated are family and friends. The three trophies and individual medals are on display on the table.
AN INTERVIEW WITH LEW WATHEN
Q. When did you first get involved with Coleshill Town?
A. I first got involved in the early 60's. Bernard Knight was the secretary. There were two teams in Coleshill and "The Hall" were the better of the two and moved onto the Worcester Com while we stayed in the Mercian League. Hall had a great team but were badly run and their facilities were poor, they eventually got kicked out of the Com because of this. We managed to persuade most of the Hall players to come over to the "Town" and we quickly became successful. John Clayton had taken over as secretary by then after Bernard Knight died, I took over as treasurer. Bert Griffen became manager and in the 1966/67 season we won the Aston Villa Shield at Villa Park. We beat Hillbrook 1-0 Roy Sanders scoring. We then beat Kingsbury in the final of the Coleshill Charity Cup 2-1 Roy Sanders and Frank Baird scored. In the final of the Queens Hospital Cup we drew with Mile Oak 1-1 at full time at the Jack Mould ground at Solihull, Roy Sanders again scored. Butch Bradley and Frank Baird scored in Extra Time. We finished runners up to Christ Church in the league missing out on the title by one point but we had applied to the Worcestershire Com and moved on at the start of the next season.
Q. Did the players get paid?
A. Yes. Bert Griffen and Percy Hastings started a tote. I took it on and it became very successful. Other clubs joined in. We were clearing £250 per week with a First Prize of £9.10s. We paid the players expenses but they wanted wages and I didn't want to pay them. It was one of the reasons I left, that and health reasons. We used to put on a coach for the players and supporters all paid for by the "Tote".
Q. Who do you remember being the best players?
A. Les Dolphin was the best tactitian I ever met, Bernard Dicken was very good too, I learnt a lot from Bernard. Pete Garnell was a great keeper. Roy Sanders the best finisher I've ever seen, once scored a hat trick in 68 seconds, and generally scored over 50 goals a season. Later Colin Davis rarely finished with less than 40 a season. Oscar Deeming was excellent and of course there was Tim Rawlings, ex-pro with Walsall and West Brom. I think he was the catalyst to the success because everyone knew we were ambitious and wanted to join us. As far as I know he is the only person born in Coleshill to play pro football. Tim left in 1971 to get more money elsewhere; he actually dropped down a league.
Q. How was it in the Midland Combination?
A. We had a decent first season in Division 2 of the Com. We finished second to Whitmore and reached the final of the Presidents Cup. We lost 4-1 to Moor Green but they put out most of their first team, we would have beaten them otherwise. We also retained the Coleshill Charity Cup. We won Div 2 in 1969/70 but couldn't get promoted because of the facilities at the Memorial Park. Percy Hastings was the driving force behind getting a pitch at Packington Lane which finally resulted in promotion to Div 1 for the 1975/76 season although I had left by then.
Q. The Coleshill badge changed in the 70's, do you remember what the original was like?
A. The old badge had a bird on it, an Ostrich I think! The Wingfield Digby Trust secretary designed it based on the Digby Crest. When the Colts joined forces with the senior team they ran a competition to up date the badge and that's why it is as it is today.
Q. What is your connection with the Midland Combination?
A. I left Coleshill in 72 and became Honary Vice President for the league but had no voting rights. I later got more involved and as Vice President I then could vote. I then became Vice Chairman while Les James was secretary and then in 1989 became Chairman. I left the post in 94 but have been an Honary Vice President ever since. I don't have much involvement but I try to go to presentations etc.
Many thanks for your memories Lew Wathen. My intention is to write a book on the history of Coleshill Town Football Club and Lew Wathen will definitely have a place in it!
Up Date: Lew's funeral will take place at St Peters & St Pauls Church, Church Hill, Coleshill at 11.00am on Friday 7th January.
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