Joe Bloggs:An Unlikely Hussar Part 36 How my army football success led to my love of German football

QRIH Football team 1970 colour

My football throughout my time in the army thus far had been an important part of my training for athletics as well as a great way to enjoy myself with my team members and work colleagues. Our Queens Royal Irish Hussars team of 1970 was easily the best I have ever played in. After my Commonwealth Games disappointment in 1970, I still believed I had a couple of decathlons left in me. I continued to compete in high jump, long jump and sprints as individual events and won many more medals in various competitions. However, I decided to shelve my decathlon ambitions for the time being and enjoy playing all my other sports. I would spend more time on my football skills and develop my ability in that sport because many coaches had told me that with my speed and ability to head the ball accurately, I could be a very good centre forward. The advice came from people whose opinions I respected because they were themselves good footballers and coaches, so I took it. The army, as ever, played a big part in supporting me and enabling me to do this. I found that I enjoyed the game much more when I was playing as centre forward as it was much more challenging than my old position of right winger and I really began to excel as a player. As a team we won all the football competitions in Dorset in 1970, including the Dorset League Cup as well as the Cavalry Cup at Burton Court in London. The coach and other ten players must all get credit for those victories.

The regiment moved back to Germany at the end of this year, so it was a busy time. While making up MFO boxes, packing and labelling them and carrying out engagements with the band until our instruments, music and uniforms had to be packed, I kept up my fitness and strength by doing lots of cross country running with Johnno Johnson, Terry Reddings and Charlie Allen. I intended to join a German athletics club when I arrived in Paderborn, so I wanted to be in good shape. Eventually the instruments and uniforms had to be packed so it was very busy but since it was all well organised it was easy to cope with. Although I knew Germany well, I had never been to Paderborn before, so it was an exciting prospect to be stationed there but sad to say goodbye to friends and teams in Dorset. Once the crates and boxes had been collected, my family drove in two cars to Harwich to board the ferry to the Hook of Holland. The children particularly enjoyed the excitement of going on the car ferry and driving through the Dutch, Belgian and German countryside to reach Bergen and their grandmother’s home. We stayed there for a few weeks while awaiting news of a married quarter to be available for us. I drove down to Paderborn to look around my new posting and since no quarter was available, to look for private accommodation to rent. It was a nice area but I had no success in finding a suitable place to live. However, there was no shortage of offers from local football teams seeking me as a player. To start with, a footballing friend of mine, Graham Haig, of the 4th 7th Dragoon Guards, came to see me and said he had told his current team, Tus Sennelager that a good player he knew would soon be coming to Paderborn so they should speak to me. Reps from Tus Sennelager came to see me in Bergen at my mother-in-law’s house and explained their team background, its owner, their aims and terms and conditions to me. At the same time, officials from another team in a higher division also visited me and offered me excellent conditions including a house a car and finance as well. They were lovely people, but unfortunately their town was too far away from Paderborn for me to travel daily in to work, so I had to turn it down. I hit it off straight away with the Tus Sennelager reps, especially Oscar Heining who was an ex professional footballer himself. He invited me to visit the club and view its facilities, so I accepted. The club included players from all over North Rhine Westphalia, as well as workers from owner Juppi Peitz’s massive engineering business and even some Polish and Jugoslavians.

My Barbadian soldier friend, Stan Burke was living in Sennelager at the time, so he said I could stay with him while visiting the club. I took him up on the offer over the next few weeks while the brand new house the club had offered me was being completed. Commuting between Bergen and Sennelager on the autobahn took up too much of my time, so in the end I accepted the club’s offer. I was very grateful to the club owner, business man Juppi Peitz, and Oscar, his production manager for their kindness in offering me this brand new house and for the other help they gave me. The house was in open countryside in Ostenland, fifteen miles from Barker Barracks in Paderborn and five miles from the school in Sennelager that my children would be attending. Thankfully, the army provided transport to and from school for army children living outside camp. We soon moved in and got to know our friendly new neighbours. With the family settled, I now not only had my army work and sport commitments to fulfil but also those of being a footballer for Tus Sennelager.

If you want to know how I went on to achieve my ambitions in international sport and music around the globe, then click on the “follow” pop-up button at the bottom right hand corner of this page, and sign up, or follow me on my “Jane Joseph author” page on Facebook. Earlier parts of the story are also found on this website. If you want to find out what happened in my later life when I returned to help develop my birth country Guyana in South America, then order “The ElDorado Affair” by Jane Joseph ISBN 978-0-9932409-0-4 published by Sapodilla Press available in paperback or Kindle from Amazon.co.uk, order it through Waterstones or your local book store via Nielsens teledata or read it in Kindle format ISBN 978-0-9932409-1-1 available worldwide on Amazon.com

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