Pope - Pyne
Steve Pope was a forward who started with Uxbridge and joined Hayes from Woking in January 1991 at the age of 24, scoring on his debut at Bishop’s Stortford. Over two seasons he made 37+9 appearances and scored nine goals. He left Hayes to study PE at Chichester University and later played for Bedfont.
Either side of World War II Jack Poxon made a significant mark on local football. A versatile player, who could play at inside-forward, centre-forward and wing-half, he had started with the highly successful, but short-lived Park Royal team, which effectively merged into the even more successful Southall side, which reached round 3 of the FA Cup in 1935. He first came to the attention of Hayes supporters in February 1936, when he was sent off while playing for Southall against Hayes, along with Leslie Smith, after being involved in a fight which had been building throughout the match. Both players received a caution from the Middlesex FA. At the time he was a serving member of the RAF and regularly played for them in representative matches. He joined Hayes for the 1936-7 season and was selected as reserve for the England amateur team against Northern Ireland in Belfast, thus missing Hayes’ London Senior Cup semi-final match, but he never gained a cap. Early in the following season he returned to Southall, but was back again, via Romford, in February 1939. His appearances were limited to one in 1939-40 because of his Air Force duties, which saw him posted to the Midlands and North, where he guested for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United. But he was back at Church Road for the first post-war season, before departing to Southall once again for the 1946-7 season. He played his final games for Hayes during the 1948-9 season – over a period spanning 13 years he made a total of 85 appearances and scored 40 goals. After a spell managing Uxbridge reserves, he was appointed to the Hayes selection committee for the 1955-6 season.
Tony Pratt was an unlucky member of the successful side of 1956-7. He came to Hayes in November 1955 from Woking, where he had been since 1950, having been a regular first-team player for two seasons. He arrived at the end of Hayes’ worst-ever start to a season and immediately claimed the right-back position as his own, although he went on record as saying that he found coach Jock Weir’s defensive tactics ’confusing’. Next season, he was once again the first-choice right back, but when he took a Saturday off to get married, his place was taken by Ian McKinlay. McKinlay’s form was so impressive that he kept the position and Tony Pratt was moved to centre-forward to replace the ineffective Johnny Bartholomew. Tony was an immediate success, scoring six times in four games, but then the goals dried up, Bartholomew resumed at centre-forward, and Pratt was left without a position. In the rest of the season he played only one more game, at right back, missing out on the Amateur Cup run and the Athenian League championship. It was no surprise when he left to join Uxbridge at the end of the season, before returning to Woking in 1958. During his spell at Hayes, he made 42 appearances and scored seven goals.
Goalkeeper John Pratt was one of a series of schoolteachers who played for Hayes in the 1960s and 1970s. He had previously played as an amateur for Aston Villa, when he got a post at Holland Park and joined Hayes early in 1965. He soon settled as first-choice keeper and, despite breaking an ankle in January 1966, recovered his confidence sufficiently to be selected for the Athenian League side against champions Leyton in September 1967. He left in December 1967, when he moved to a post beyond Wycombe, and joined Amersham Town. He had made a total of 118 appearances.
Paul Priddy was another goalkeeper, from Brentford, where he had been playing as an amateur and was described as a 'very promising young goualkeeper' at the time. However, he played only the opening match in Hayes’ Isthmian League debut season in August 1971 before being replaced by the more experienced John Overton from Kingstonian. Paul later joined Maidenhead United, Wimbledon and Walton & Hersham, before returning to Brentford in 1975. He spent two seasons playing league football before moving to Totting & Mitcham United, Wealdstone and Oxford City. He rejoined Hayes in 1980 on a 1-year contract and made 67 appearances, missing only two games and conceding 71 goals. At the end of the season he was named Sportsman of the Year. During his time at Hayes Paul was selected for the league side against Combined Services. In 1981 he returned to Brentford, becoming one of the few examples of a player who had rejoined a league side from non-league football not once, but twice. He came out of retirement in November 1983 to play for Hampton and sustained an injury which necessitated the removal of his spleen. He was goalkeeping coach at Aldershot in 2003, when the photograph below was taken.
Continuing the theme of schoolteachers, Martin Priestley was a PE master at Christ’s College, Finchley, following on from George Robb. He stayed there until his retirement in 1996 as Deputy Head, and was last reported as living at Dunstable. He came from Lincolnshire, where he had played for Boston United in the NPL, and studied PE at Carnegie College, Leeds. He then came south to get his teaching diploma at Borough Road College, where he captained the winning team in the National Colleges Cup, and played for Walton & Hersham and then Finchley. He was introduced to Hayes by Tom Tranter, who was trainer at both Hayes and Borough Road College, and joined for the 1970-1 season, making 42+4 appearances at full-back, scoring twice. At the end of the season he joined Southall. He was a gifted sporting all-rounder, participating in athletics events in the summer as a quarter-miler.
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