When The Wood saw stars…

Last week I teased that David Evans had been granted access to a remarkable local football artefact, the souvenir program and signed photo of a star-studded charity football match the took place at Walsall Wood FC’s Oak Park ground on Sunday, October 20th 1963.

I’d heard much said about this unusual sporting occasion: That stars like Sean Connery and Tommy Steele played on the hallowed turf in Walsall Wood. I’d always thought the claims fanciful – but no, I was wrong: The match did indeed happen.

A celebrity eleven at Walsall Wood FC with some remarkable signatures. Who can you spot? Click for a larger version – thanks to Mr. George Taylor for generously sharing this remarkable material.

And it did feature… Sean Connery, Tommy Steele, Des O’Connor and a whole bunch of other stars of the day. Lord alone knows how a Fire Service Charity based in the Midlands and a relatively small local football club pulled this off.

But they did. You can peruse the program by clicking on the pages in the gallery at the foot of this post or by downloading it in PDF form by clicking here.

David wrote:

I received a phone call from Andy Roper, President of Walsall Wood Football Club a week ago. This amazing copy of the souvenir programme and the autographed photo has been very kindly donated to the club by the executors of the late Mr Jess Teesdale.

Mr Jess Teesdale was present at this amazing event and was himself a successful local footballer who had a trial for Shrewsbury Town FC.

Along with this wonderful artefact two trophies that Mr Jess Teesdale won during his football career have been kindly donated to the football club to be awarded by them to deserving players in the Junior sections, in his memory.

This is a lovely gesture by Mr George Taylor, not only to make this offer to the club, but especially to offer to Brownhills Bobs blog so that this piece of local history can be appreciated by the many readers of the site, nationally and internationally, and also that it may be preserved for posterity digitally.

David Evans
January 2019

Thanks to George, Andy and David for a really remarkable bit of communal history – which also goes to so that sometimes, the truth really is stranger than you can actually imagine..

Were you at this match? Did you stare open mouthed as the great and the good arrived? Did a star sign something for you?

What do you remember of the day the stars played at Walsall Wood? Please do comment on this post, email me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or add your two penneth on social media.

Click on any page in the gallery below to see it full size.

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5 Responses to When The Wood saw stars…

  1. Barry Gilkes says:

    I remember Harry Fowler , aka Flogger Hoskins “Army Game”, coming onto the pitch before kick off , bending over in front of the crowd and dropping his shorts Lol

  2. Edwin Barker says:

    My name is Edwin Barker and at this time I was Special Constable attached to Shelfield police station, now turned in to flats, I was assigned to control traffic at the crossroads of Lichfield Road, Salters Road and Brownhills Road, being so busy I was not able to see the match, but I believe a good time was add by all.

  3. Toni walker says:

    At that time my parents were still living in the house next door to the pit canteen where my mother worked. The entrance to the canteen was just the other side of a privet hedge by the back door entrance of the house. I visited there and saw all the stars arrive and leave after changing. The house was bought by the coal board and used as offices.

  4. Chris Selby says:

    The report in the Walsall Observer makes interesting reading. Over 4000 spectators and the hope that £350 would be given to charity. The match was delayed by 45 minutes which must have been a bit hairy for the local constabulary. No sign of Sean Connery or Des O’Conner . Final score 3-3.

  5. J Stokes was J Tonks says:

    I went to this match and saw Sean Connery and I remember thinking he’s not so good looking off scene

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