Outstanding

Sir, May I add my heartiest congratulations to those I am sure have been heaped on Desmond Williams, the former King Alfred’s School pupil and master, and the boys of the VWH Schools FA, for crowning their outstanding achievements by becoming National champions.

Defeating Newcastle Schools 12-11 on penalties at Hull in the ESFA Under-15 Trophy final must be the pinnacle of his long spell as manager and yet, I know, he will have passed the credit to the boys, to those who have helped him and to the parents, who have also given immense support over the years in good times and the less successful years.

From the days I knew him as a keen footballer, cricketer and hockey player at school, through his Coleshill United days with North Berks football, he played with vision and silky skills like Glenn Hoddle and encouraged everyone else to play with true sportsmanship and dedication reminiscent of the now oft-derided days of true amateurism when the game was played competitively but fairly, for enjoyment not gain, when players paid match fees to play and did not ask, before signing registration forms, how much “expenses” they could claim.

The range of his service to schoolboys’ and men’s football as player, administrator and team manager for almost 50 years must be without parallel in the B&B FA area (maybe nationally?) and if anyone deserves to be awarded the county’s Lionel Gibbs medal for outstanding service to the sport then, in my view, Des Williams must be a candidate not only for the range and duration of his service but for the fine example he has set on and off the field.

Winning is fine but it is also through his example in coping properly with defeat and disappointment that he has shown rare leadership.

Jack Loftin Charlton Village Road Wantage

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