Sunday 14 March, 2021

Local football has lost a legend with regard to the passing away of  Dick Widdowson. Dick was involved in the start up  and running of Archdales FC in the early seventies and continued to be involved both as secretary and best supporter for many years.Archdales ran both Saturday and Sunday teams and became a local force on both days.Originally they were based at the old Archdales club before moving up to Claines Lane where they had a lease for ten years paid for by Sainsbury’s who were interested in moving onto Archdales land.Dick without hesitation put all his efforts and time into making Claines Lane a good new home for the Dales and local football in general.The main pavillion and the pitches had never looked so good.

Dick also served on the Nursing Cup Committee for many years and was always available at the finals arranging the presentations and in some cases making the awards himself.

Dick was Archdales through and through and could always be found supporting them both home and away.On Sunday mornings Dick could always be found up on the firsrt floor of Archdales in the club room setting out his place in front of one of the only working  radiators to watch the game through the window keeping himself warm into the bargain.

The Referees changing room was also on the same floor and you had to go through the club room to access it. Dick would always ensure the room was ready and the shower was working and no other members were allowed to make any comments towards the referee in his passage through the club room following the game.He would remain in the clubroom until the referee was ready to leave and then invite the Ref down into the bar for a beer regardless of the refs performance.

The club in the early days was also a base for all the referees locally who would call back to the club for a beer following their games and always be made welcome by Dick who used to enquire  how they had got on in their games.He would always come over to me and let me know how the Referee had performed in the Archdales game and he did not pull any punches if he had any comments to make although always fair in his appraisal.

On one particular Sunday when I was watching the game Archdales had  a player sent off and Dick found me and asked me about the incident to which I advised casually that maybe a yellow card earlier would have prevented the red.

I thought no more about the incident until in the week when I received correspondence from the Worcester FA where Dick had advised the FA that I had been officially accessing at the game and I had stated that it was not a red card.This was Dick trying to support his player and his team and using all means to achieve it.I had to advise the FA that what Dick had reported was not accurate and learnt my own lessson not to comment about referees especially if Dick was in ear shot.When I next saw him and questioned him about the incident he smiled and shrugged it off  saying “it was worth a try”

Dick was a character in both football circles,cricket, horse racing and even at work.Dick finished his working life as part of the maintenance team up at the new Hindlip polce headquarters and I was involved in commissioning the heating system working with Dick and his colleagues.One morning I received a call from the property manager advising that the heating had not come on and Dick had reported to the property manager that it was the “Muffler Valve” that had failed.I had no idea  or knowledge what this was and was querious myself however on arriving on site discovered that the heating time clock had been left turned off and on questioning Dick about the Muffler Valve he advised that it would keep them all happy and was a good technical term that they wouldn’t understand.I recall that over the next few months the heating failed for various other reasons but it was always the fault of the “Muffler Valve” when Dick reported it taking the pressure of himself and his team

The Worcester League offers their condolences to Dick’s family and he will be greatly missed by  his  family and all who new him but will never be forgotten when it comes to Local Football and Archdales FC.Rest in peace Dick

Jeff Widdett Worcester League Referee’s Appointment Officer


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