We originally produced The Wingsaurus in 2013 as our way of celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary. It was, and indeed still is, our tribute to all things Welling United and which, when considered in the round, gives a real feel for the substance and fabric of the football club.
Gary Abbott – The saying “form is temporary, but class is permanent” was probably made for “Abbo” Must be one of the top scoring players ever in non-league and probably the only player more deadly in the area with his head rather than his feet! Very much a “marmite” player at PVR but scored some blinders for us but non better than “that goal” against Gateshead at PVR to guarantee our Conference survival for another season.
Darren Adams – The incoming part of Kevin Hales’ master plan swap deal with the French, Dazzlin’ rapidly became the terrace boo boy due to his lack of effort. Best remembered for kicking a Northwich player at PVR, prompting the whole crowd to chant “Off, off, off…” until the red card was brandished. Later seen at E&B&Q where he managed to earn himself a 7-game ban before the end of August. See Jailbirds.
Tony Adams – After admitting he was an alcoholic, everyone’s favourite donkey made his comeback marking Ollie Morah in a midweek, mid-season friendly at PVR. Most amusingly he had to walk past an off licence (see Squiffy’s) to enter the ground whereupon the first hoarding to greet him was advertising Bexley Council’s “Don’t drink and drive” campaign…
Tony Agana – Or ‘Aggy’ as he was affectionately known. Flying winger in our late Athenian League/early Southern League days who regularly terrorised tubby full backs. Star of the ‘Winger’ match programme for the 1983/84 season. It was a sad day when he was sold to Weymouth and went on to have a deserved career in the Football League with the likes of Watford, Notts County and Sheffield United.
Steve Barnes – Emerging from the youth ranks at the same time as his more famous namesake, Finnan, the midget on the left looked far better in a Wings shirt, earning The Times’ Untelevised Goal-of-the-Season award for one of his hat-trick against Bromsgrove before joining Finnan at Uncle Barry’s Birmingham. Never made it there and dropped down the leagues, including a loan stint back at PVR for the end of our relegation season.
Paul Barron – Striker in his youth days with the club. Went on to bigger and better things as a goalkeeper with Arsenal and QPR before returning to PVR. His stock at the club rose highest when he refused his wages after the 6-1 trouncing at Barrow.
John Bartley – The word “legend” is vastly overused in our eyes, but not in this case. Over his whole Welling career (including the youth team) he averaged MORE than a goal a game and, if you wanted someone to put away a chance and your life depended on it, then he was your man. White Socks’ first ever footballing hero so much so that the recent feline arrival in the Socks household now goes by the name of Bartley!
Bath City – 1987-88 FA Cup 2nd round loss; met in same round the following season. Replay at PVR with winners knowing they would host Blackburn Rovers. 2-0 down early on, we pulled one back through Terry Robbins before half time. They had one sent off before a Ray Burgess header and Phil Handford’s free kick sent us through. Goals and park end wall collapse shown on ‘Sportsnight’, which prompted Steve Rider’s “that game must be in doubt now” comment.
Laurence Batty – Fat former Woking keeper who got plenty of stick at PVR, even mentioning how much abuse he took in an interview with The Sun ahead of Woking’s trip to Everton.
Blackburn Rovers – To date the club’s only appearance in the third round of the FA Cup was at home to Blackburn. All the pre-match publicity was on the Wings with special features on both BBC and ITV local news and Nigel Ransom compared to Chris Waddle on a Match of the Day preview show. They scored early and John Glover had a header that many say crossed the line but wasn’t given.
Paul Booth – Laid back and skilful front man who could also be found under M for much travelled. A prolific goal scorer even in the woeful Paul Parker era teams he played in. Gloriously hit and miss; spectacular volleyed strikes followed by glaring misses. Almost singlehandedly kept us up though.
Eric Brackstone – Club President who was a high-profile presence around the ground on a match day up until his untimely death in January 2018. He was the club’s first major sponsor when his shop – Bettabuys – featured on the first team’s shirts.
Jody Brown – Appointed as Daysie’s successor. Picked up one point from his nine games in charge despite bringing in all manner of players including Rowan Vine and Darren Purse. Poor results were always someone else’s fault – his excuses included the wind (which didn’t affect the other team) – and should have been his downfall but the final nail in his coffin was calling the supporters uneducated, earning himself the moniker ‘The Educated One’. Never shy of spouting his opinion in print or online, he was often on Twitter within seconds of the final whistle… and for hours after that.
Nicky Brigden – Faithful right-hand man to Graham Hobbins who went on to manage the side in the Conference. Known for his shouts from the dug-out of “win it, do it” and “second ball”. Was sacked in the immediate aftermath of an FA Cup defeat at Kingstonian.
Ray Burgess – Superb club servant from the Spartan League right through to the Conference. Played over 1,000 games for the club, including nearly 150 at non-league’s top table. Unfortunately, also remembered for his five-knuckle shuffle aimed towards the Wings fans at Scarborough (he missed) when he was Kevin Hales’ assistant.
Butterfly Lane – Club’s first home ground with extremely limited facilities. Now reputed to be very run down. But at least it isn’t a housing estate. Yet.
Cambridge United – One down in 70 seconds; two behind inside three minutes and 3-0 after 20 was the disappointing end to another FA Cup run. The home side’s celebrations got them on ‘They Think It’s All Over’. The pitch invader knocking off the copper’s helmet (fnar, fnar).
Ceefax – Much missed – After that dull 1-1 draw with Slough drops us one place from 11th to 12th what could be better than getting home to find that we are no longer skulking around at the bottom of page one of Ceefax but are now top of page 2! There were disasters too – they had us drawing 1-1 away at Barrow, with ‘LT’ showing for latest score; then it suddenly refreshed and went from 1-1 to 1-6 FT, game over.
Geoff Chapple – Woking manager who hated Welling, once comparing the PVR pitch to Hackney Marshes after we’d had the temerity to hold them to a 1-1 draw. How we laughed when a hole appeared in the Kingfield pitch during a game later that season. Took over at Kingstonian and immediately showed what a hypocrite he was by signing four of our players, including Wayne Brown and Danny Smith.
Charlton Athletic – Darlings of Bexley Council who send their 1st team to kick off each new season at PVR.
Chewbacca – Who could possibly forget a few seasons ago when a rather strange character appeared at PVR dressed as the Star Wars character resplendent in a new Wings home shirt. During a break in play for an injury he ran onto the pitch and stuck in a decent cross to the far post. He was asked to leave the ground and was last seen walking towards Bexleyheath and almost certain death. Whoever you were mate – WIE salutes you!
CIC – Much-vaunted cheap and tacky money-making scheme. Probably.
Lee Clarke – Son of former Northern Ireland striker Colin Clarke, he had already won promotion to the Conference as part of a free-scoring St Albans team when Andy Ford signed him for the Wings. Not a fan of pre-season he had a slow start at PVR, prompting Ford to compare him unfavourably to his gran before farming him out on loan. Converted to an attacking midfielder under Daysie he flourished and was a natural choice as skipper, lifting the Conference South trophy.
Les Cleevely – Long-haired lunatic keeper. Trying to dribble round opposing strikers was funny if he was in the opposition goal, not so much if he was your keeper and you’d driven all the way to Macclesfield to see him do it.
Neil Clemmence – Always gave 100% whether 4-0 up or down. Decent fella too. Once scored with his bollocks.
Covered end – Ha! Ha! Ha! Only kidding…
Jamie Coyle – Right back in the early days of Daysie’s tenure he returned as player-manager in Mark Goldberg’s second season as owner. Quit after a mediocre year amidst rumours of interference from above only to resurface as joint manager at Ponces Park five minutes later while still running the Wings’ academy. Lasted slightly longer there before being replaced by Steve King, who also succeeded him at PVR.
Ian Crouch – See Jailbirds. Member of the Southern League Premier Division winning team. Now a referee who has somehow officiated Wings games at PVR.
FA Cup – Bath x 2, wall collapse, Sportsnight; Blackburn; Gillingham; Reading x 5; Swansea; Orient; Wembley, Kingstonian, Enfield, Clevedon; Cambridge United, Bristol Rovers, Lincoln City, Huddersfield Town. Heady days.
Liam Daish – Brought in by Paul Parker to try to rectify matters. Caretaker manager with three wins and a draw from four games before being shunned in favour of Adie Pennock. Took over as manager at Ebbsfleet where he had great success. Obviously.
Darlington – Foggy. We don’t tend to like clubs who celebrate winning the Conference at PVR on the last day of the season.
Jamie Day – Having raided former club Chelmsford in his first close-season at PVR, Paul Parker used his second summer to raid Dover. Daysie was the only one of the four recruits to survive to the next season as new boss Adie Pennock did some weeding. Seen as a surprise appointment as manager but boy were we wrong. After a short period raking in the Dinars at Gravesend he teamed up with Pennock at Forest Green before returning briefly to PVR to save us from Goldberg’s first failed stint as manager, picking up a manager-of-the-month award in the process but before his triumph was announced he’d departed again to join Pennock at the Gills. Now managing Bangladesh. See X-rated tackles.
Debt – See HMRC, CIC.
Lennie Dennis – (a dinner date with) A triple D here with ex Jamaican International and Wings striker Lennie Dennis. Now there really is a plethora of cooking programmes on TV but imagine the surprise when we heard news of the appearance of the ex-Wings man. I don’t watch it (honestly) but apparently three blokes trying to impress a lady with their cooking, and she selects a winner and takes them on a “date.” Anyway, Lennie did win to show his cooking might well have made more of an impression than his football.
Danny Dichio – One month on loan from QPR, scored four on debut and finished season as second-highest scorer. Great hair.
Richard Dimmock – Youth team striker who became the (then) Conference’s youngest ever scorer when netting against Morecambe at PVR. Went in goal at Kettering when Glen Knight followed Ollie Morah and Dereck Brown for an early bath as Wings hung on for 3-2 win with Wayne Brown lying poleaxed on the halfway line for last few minutes.
Disappointment – It is what being a Welling United supporter is all about!
The Educated One – See Jody Brown.
Erith and Belvedere – Cuckoos. We look forward to the day that they return to their side of the borough.
Exec Lounge – Fans voted for a covered end and got the exec lounge. Ho hum.
Fanzines – Of course you have one in your hands; well, virtually, kind of. ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ was a predecessor to WIE as was Flying High.
Loui Fazackerley – Long-serving player signed by Andy Ford as a striker before gradually drifting back, first to right midfield and then right back where he did a fine job during the championship-winning season and in the Conference after that. Popular with the fans he moved into the dugout when Jody Brown was sacked and was credited with saving the club from relegation that year though WIE think that had as much, if not more, to do with Alfreton being proper shite. Sullied his reputation the following season with his blind faith in KSA and the Three Amigos management team with Messrs McEntegart and Barnes. Relieved of his duties in the January before a stint as player and fitness coach at Dover.
Steve Finnan – “You should see what he can do in training” Graham Hobbins used to say. Was sold to be part of Barry Fry’s 50-man squad at Birmingham. He promptly went on holiday, got alcohol poisoning and missed pre-season. Dropped down to Notts County where he shone as a right back. Joined Keegan’s Fulham revolution. All set to move to Man City but last-minute interest from Liverpool saw him trade Craven Cottage for Anfield. Picked up a Champions League winner’s medal in 2005 despite being subbed at half time with the Scousers 3-0 down.
Fisher Athletic – Were one of Welling’s biggest rivals in the eighties. A trip to Salters Lane was always taken with a degree of trepidation due to the locals you would encounter at the ground, and also making your way to, and home from the ground. It was wise to keep one eye on the game and another on the lookout for things like bottles and other objects falling from the sky. They were just as bad on the pitch with probably some of the hardest (and that’s putting it politely) players that the Wings played against; Dave Mehmet, Barry Little, Paul Collins and the Shinners brothers. When the Shinners brothers ran out on to the pitch birds fell silent and people in nearby houses drew their curtains.
Five hundred and one – Bingo! Everyone’s a winner when playing guess the PVR crowd…
(Fallen) Floodlights – Mini tornado blew one over and the rest were condemned. Itmeant early kick-offs and one win and three defeats from four ‘home’ games at Ponces Park/Stonebridge Road which effectively cost us play-off place.
Flying High – Some of you may remember this as the fore runner to WIE. Anyway I think we all realised that, although it was our first delve into the fanzine world, some of the content was probably a bit near the mark and might have upset a few people. Anyway when the owner calls you at home on a Sunday night threatening all sorts it is safe to say that there wouldn’t be any more issues!!
Andy Ford – Worked wonders at Gravesend and Northfleet before a rather harsh sacking; Brief stint as assistant to Westley at Stevenage; Appointed as Neil Smith’s successor; brought Phil Handford back to save the club from relegation. Predictably quit over lack of budget and made to look rather silly when Jamie Day took largely the same squad from the lower reaches to the fringes of the play-offs inside six months.
Barry Fry – Has taken more than of his fair share of Wings players over the years. Abbo, Finnan, Barnes, Hanlon, Braham-Barrett. Was the star turn at club’s Sportsman’s evening when he stood on chair, whacked his head on the low ceiling before turning the air blue for 90 minutes.
Ghost goal – Ah, yes. This was the glorious occasion of, having missed him scoring the winner against Cheltenham, the News Shopper wheeled Sam Appiah back out on to the PVR pitch long after the final whistle for a photo of him ‘scoring’ the winning goal. Priceless.
Gillingham – Only league club to succumb to the mighty Wings. 0-0 draw at Priestfield followed by 1-0 victory courtesy of Mark Hone’s header in front of the club’s largest home crowd of 4,020.
Mark Goldberg – Three-times former Bromley manager who almost bankrupted Crystal Palace in his first foray into club ownership, he bought the Wings from the Hobbins brothers in 2016. Installed himself as manager twice. Uninstalled himself as manager in under six months, twice, with the club in the drop zone on both occasions.
Gumbi – Every club has its famous supporters although thankfully nobody like that fool at Pompey! One of my abiding memories was of an old chap who stood down the front at the road end. He was there for years and had no teeth so hence was christened “Gumbi” One time the ball went out of play behind the goal and was booted back on to the pitch – unfortunately it hit our old friend on the back of the head and he toppled over like a parrot falling off his perch! I heard a story he had emigrated with family or perhaps he just became too old to attend PVR any longer. RIP “Gumbi” – gone but not forgotten.
Guy Earl of Warwick – The pub right next door to PVR. Has had more landlords than we’ve had hot dinners. Also a source of tension between club and fans over the years with club believing that fans should drink in the Wings Bar however bad the beer was.
Kevin Hales – “I’m no quitter”. Except that he was. Ran away not long after sealing our relegation from the Conference. Remembered for his reactive substitutions. Needed the fans to tell him Paul Wilkerson was available to save us from his mate, Andy Harris. Should have risen up through the leagues as a youth team coach.
Halifax – Conference champions thrashed 6-2 at PVR on the final day of the season thanks to a Mark Hynes hat-trick. No wonder we swapped him for Dazzlin’ a few months later!
Phil Handford – Barney Rubble lookalike, playmaker (i.e. set-piece taker) in the late 80s/early 90s glory years. Remembered for his free kick against Bath. Later returned to PVR as assistant to both Pennock and Ford.
Richie Hanlon – Goalscoring midfielder who made his name during 1997/98 campaign. Another to join Barry Fry, he returned on loan for the start of the ill-fated 1999/00 season when he was played wide right by the tactical master Hales but still managed to be top of the club’s scoring charts despite being recalled in December.
Joe Healy – Underwhelming stint as a striker under Andy Ford, his return under Daysie initially raised eyebrows, but moved to the left side of midfield or attack he was a revelation and, were it not for his lack of pace, he would surely have played a lot higher. Fond of the spectacular, be it his non-league goal of the season away at Grimsby, scoring from his own half at Hemel Hempstead or his x-rated tackles.
Hednesford – Opening game 2-1 loss at PVR. Final game at their place needing to better Forest Greens’ result or three goals better if the same result. One up through Rivs, second disallowed when offside on-loan Steve Barnes tapped in on goal line. Missed penalty, red card for Ruthers and hit bar. Kettering subbed their keeper, Forest Green scored twice late on and we were relegated. Quiet afternoon really.
HMRC – Is paying them compulsory?
Hobbins – Without Syd, Graham, Barrie, Barry and Pam there would be no Welling United. They created the ultimate family-owned club even living at PVR during the club’s early tenure of the ground. Graham’s untimely death was a shock and things were a struggle off the pitch until they sold up to Mark Goldberg. Brothers Barrie and Graham were cruelly depicted as Laurel and Hardy in early editions of WIE. Good job we’ve grown out of that.
Hoof – Which has been the standard defensive tactic for all Welling defenders since the late 1980s. Particular specialists include Paul Copley, Wayne Brown, Russell Edwards and Anthony Acheampong. And we love them all.
Andy Hopping – Goalkeeper who started the home match with Bath in January 1995 with a broken collarbone. At 4-0 down within half an hour he was subbed. Nice one, Kev…
Duncan Horton – Made his name passing the ball back to Paul Barron before leaving for Uncle Barry’s Barnet, then Wycombe Wanderers before returning to PVR for a second stint. Hard as nails defender, best remembered at WIE Towers for kicking Clive Walker six foot in the air and taking his booking. Walker didn’t go near the ball for the rest of the game.
Inflatables – Started as one-off at Dorchester with pink flamingos; evolved into different one for each away game. Thankfully now a thing of the past.
Jailbirds – Derek Richardson, Ian Crouch, Tony Sinclair, John Parry, Kevin Dennis, Dazzlin’.
Colin James – Unsung star who turned a muddy bog into the best pitch in the Conference. Talents eventually recognised by Leyton Orient.
BBC Radio Kent – The club has never enjoyed the best of relationship with them. Welling’s not in Kent unless we have a big game when the Kent/London border moves to Roseacre Road. Have been banned by the club on occasion.
Kent Senior Cup – Victorious in 1985 v Dover, 2000 v Folkestone, and 2009 v Whitstable. Losing to Maidstone at Priestfield the day they got promoted. £12 entry – you’re having a laugh!
Steve King – Fashionista and non-league Harry Redknapp, King has left a trail of destruction in his wake since emerging at Lewes. It was no surprise when he pitched up in the managerial hotseat under Goldberg having thrown his hat in the ring on previous occasions when there was a vacancy. Despite on-pitch success it was also no surprise that relations soured off the pitch and after losing his third play-off final King departed PVR. Took over from Jamie Coyle at D*rtford a few months later and made it four play-off final defeats.
Knocking shop – No. 65; During latter Conference days Yeovil fans searching web for PVR discovered there was a flat of ill repute above Squiffy’s, workplace of ‘Joanne’. Accessed via the rear, fire escape-style stairs, it prompted plenty of entertainment on the road end terrace during breaks in play as unsuspecting punters arrived/departed.
Kings Lynn – Not the most hospitable place that I have ever been to see Welling play but fondly remembered for a penalty taken by the late Stuart White which, if you look up late at night, you can probably still see travelling through space!
Andy Legg – Former chairman of the supporters’ association turned referee. Known as Dr Skids by all at Bexleyheath Cricket Club. Was over-eager in responding to the plea over the tannoy for a qualified official in the crowd at Dartford’s Watling Street ground. Fell down the stairs of the stand in his haste, knocking himself out in the process. Concussion meant he remembered none of the evening’s events. But we did…
Lennie Lawrence – The Hobbins’ other friend in football.
Leyton Orient – 1-0 up through Les Berry’s early bundled effort the Wings defended stoutly until the last 10 minutes when Terry ‘sacked at half time’ Howard and Mark Cooper scored. Kevin Hales also featured for the home side in a match refereed by Graham Poll.
Loans – Synonymous with donations. The ’42’ which turned out to be 41/39/whatever who raised 60k in a week to save the club from the taxman.
London Senior/Challenge Cup – Remembered mainly for a 12-0 win against Southall back in the day. We’ve won the Senior Cup on two occasions in 1989/90 and 2018/19. The Challenge Cup was won in 1991/92 when we beat Dulwich in the final at Hayes Lane, which saw crowd trouble on the pitch after the game.
Main Stand – That creaking, rusty and wooden structure that somehow is still standing after many years of rain, wind and clearances (see H). Despite being tarted up in the early 2010s, it is still the quintessential non-league football stand with pillars blocking the view, wooden seats and grumpy occupants who come to life when an opposition player lunges in on a Wings man in front of them.
Malcolm – Another famous fan who is still with us and still gives his encouragement week in week out from the cricket ground side. A real fixture at PVR and absolutely loves his football and will talk to anyone and everyone about all things Welling. WIE salutes you sir!
Maurice Munden – Goalkeeper who did the rounds of Kent/SE London clubs; Exceptionally easy to wind up, he even ended up on the terracing at half-time in a pre-season friendly at Folkestone to confront one fan who’d been baiting him. Made one appearance for the mighty Wings, away at Gateshead – take that, Mo!
Mud – Synonymous with the PVR pitch in the early days until the club spent serious money on drainage and employed Paul Gillard and Colin James as groundsmen. Tony Pamphlett couldn’t help himself but to throw some of it at Wings fans when playing for Dartford at PVR. Well, his team were on their way to a 2-0 defeat.
Nuneaton – Booted out of Conference in 1987 on a technicality (not having enough seats), they were in financial disarray and earned us the first of our relegation reprieves.
On a Wing and a Prayer – Short-lived (though not as short as Flying High!) fanzine during the FA Cup glory years.
Open-air toilets – Lovely, not. Derided by home and away fans alike though they offered one (dis)advantage if you positioned yourself well – you could watch the game through a gap in the wall.
Pacing – As in pacing up and down. Welling leading by a goal with minutes to go. Why do we keep giving away corners? Why can’t we just clear it? These things and more lead to significant pacing about on the terraces, which, no doubt, is the main reason that they are in such a worn-out condition.
Park View Road (PVR) – The Theatre of Nightmares was once Fortress PVR, a ground opposing teams were delighted to leave with one point, let alone three. Those days returned with just one league defeat in 18+ months under Daysie’s management team (first time round). PVR is the name of the road. How very old-fashioned. Most grounds are called “Something Stadium” or “Something Park” nowadays, so how about a name change for us. Our suggestion is Road View Park.
Paul Parker – Having played for Manchester United and played in a World Cup surely management at our level would be a doddle. He started reasonably well, and we had a decent first season but then loco in the first Conference South campaign signing most of Dover’s rejects (Jamie Day excluded) and going on to use about 40 different players in half a season before he thankfully got the boot. We feel like screaming at him “Andy Arnott, Lee Spiller… WHY???”
Parking – The lack of parking space at PVR means the adjacent streets take the hit on match days and opposition team coaches all but block the road outside. Of course that could have been fixed had the gates on E&B&Q’s side been installed sensibly. But at least the club doctor gets the opportunity to mow down a few supporters driving to his car parking ‘space’ near the burger van on a match day!
Jack Parkinson – Signed by Andy Ford from VCD it appeared the gamble had backfired after a handful of disappointing performances saw him farmed out on loan to Margate. Come the end of the season he was not only a regular but also skipper and in the following three seasons he frequently attracted the attention of league clubs. The only debate seemed to be whether to play him at the back or in midfield, though WIE doesn’t consider that a debate at all – centre half every day for us. Trials at Bournemouth and Southend and an on/off move to Stevenage made it all the more disappointing when he signed for Woking.
Penalties – D*rtford. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…
Adrian Pennock – It was a big gamble by the Hobbins to appoint him over caretaker Daish, he continued the latter’s salvation from Paul Parker’s disaster. Spent most of his two full seasons in, around or indeed on top of the table, picking up several Manager of the Month awards, only to fade when it mattered. Buggered off to take on an academy role at mentor, Tony Pulis’s Stoke City and was often seen in the dugout when Sky had to lower themselves to showing the Potters.
Play-offs – Despite all the promise of the Pennock (twice), Ford (once) and Day (thrice) eras it took a while to finally nail down a place and then, having made a shambolically organised final at Ponces Park, the team didn’t turn up.
Andy Pugh – The only good thing Neil Smith did for the club was to bring in a young Pugh on loan from Gillingham. The move might only have yielded two goals in two months, both sublime strikes against Bromley, but the seeds were sown. One of Daysie’s first moves as manager was to follow suit, bringing back a player two years older, wiser and stronger, the highlight of this three-month loan spell being his hat-trick in the 5-0 thrashing of Woking. It was no surprise that Day was in for Pughie on his release by the Gills and 18 months of running defences ragged saw the striker seal a move to Cambridge United. We won’t mention the disappointment of him turning up to play for d*rtford. Bugger…
Mark Quamina – He’s only here because his name begins with Q. And we were desperate.
Queues – The insistence on adults/kids/passes turnstiles and refusal to use the E&B&Q ones leads to big queues – see “Right money only“.
Racing Post – National press exposure for the Wings, not through Barrie’s betting exploits but a report of a trip to Weston-super-Mare in which the paper rather ludicrously claimed that the travelling fans ran onto the pitch and chased the referee off at the end of a game which we’d won thanks to a 98th minute Danny Kedwell penalty. As if WIE’d do anything like that, eh White Socks…
Nigel Ransom – Another true legend of Welling and his appearance record alone is quite staggering. I think my best Nigel story was during an away game when he was about to be cautioned for a foul in a case of mistaken identity. Now the real culprit was Adrian Lemoine who was already on a yellow card. Not to be deterred Nigel told the ref it wasn’t him and pointed to his fellow defender. The ref duly issued the second yellow and then the red to Lemoine and we had to play on with ten…cheers Nige! In the still of night at PVR you can probably still hear the cries of “Nigel’s ball” and, if you’re really lucky, “You’re a goat, referee”. Earned his first red card in a Wings shirt in his 999th game.
Reading – Mammoth 1989 FA Cup second round tie before the Police wanted 10 days between replays and the FA thought penalties were great. A gritty 0-0 draw at Elm Park was followed by a 1-1 draw AET at PVR, John Glover equalising minutes after a twice-taken penalty had given the visitors the lead; both games refereed by Philip Don. So it was back to the open-air away terrace at Elm Park in the pissing rain for another backs-to-the-wall 0-0 AET, Trevor Booker missing an open goal with the last kick after Clemmo’s header came back off the bar. Three days later it was take IV at PVR. The Wings dominated the first half down the slope, taking the lead for the first time in the tie through Terry Robbins’ diving header but two second half strikes from Steve Moran ended our FA Cup adventure. But that wasn’t the end of our battles with the Royals. 22 years later we returned to the town for a first round fixture, this time at the Madejski Stadium with the home side perched on top of the old division 3 and captained by a certain Neil Smith. More importantly the referee was ginger tosser Hegley who sent off Peter Overton before Jamie Cureton scored the only goal of the game.
“Red ball!” – Les the tannoy man who, erm, was the voice of the PVR tannoy throughout the Athenian League, Southern League and early Conference days. Was extremely partisan and known for his shout of “Red ball” every time the ball went out for a throw-in. Rumoured to have fallen out with the club over a cup of tea.
Relegation – It had been a long time coming – and many thought we were immune due to the Conference’s very local HQ (in Crayford) – but in 2000 the inevitable happened and the club suffered relegation for the first time in its history. Take a bow, Kevin Hales. Despite dicing with the drop from the Southern League/Conference South relegation didn’t rear its ugly head again until after Daysie had returned us to the heights of the Conference where we survived for two seasons before finishing rock bottom in the third.
Tony Reynolds – Another to sign from Maidstone with a point to prove Rambo patrolled the left flank during his playing career. Most likely remembered for breaking his neck head-butting the post – and playing on – during the 5-0 win over Merthyr that followed Nicky Brigden’s sacking. Jumped at the chance to be manager when Kevin ‘I’m no quitter’ Hales quit. He started off like an express train until a 5-0 thrashing at Margate derailed his futuristic 4-3-3 formation; the 5-3-2/3-5-2 reaction got bogged down in the winter but produced a spirited late run to grab fourth spot on the final day. “Judge me when it’s my team” syndrome struck the next year as his team avoided relegation with a week to spare.
“Right money only” – Oft-heard cry from the gates or the season tickets/passes turnstile whenever there’s a queue to get in. WIE can’t work out why it’s right money only…
Anthony Riviere – Fleet footed noughties wing back/winger criminally wasted since he left us at various other clubs. He could have played League football, but instead fell out with Paul Parker and underachieved thereafter.
Terry Robbins – Midget striker Inchy was signed from Crawley Town to provide the goals once scored by John Bartley and immediately struck up a partnership with Gary Abbott. Harried defenders and chased dead as well as dying causes he had a habit of scoring against – and pissing off – Kettering which is fine by WIE. Rather less successful spell as manager before having a belated stab at the big time with Barnet.
Kieron St Aimie – or Kieron Lloyd Junior Minto-St Aimie to give him his full name, KSA for short. Shit.
Engin Salih – Back in the days when Fisher were throwing their money around, he was their keeper for a while and took some merciless stick from the terraces at PVR. At the end of one game he snapped and climbed on to the terrace at the Park End to remonstrate with the fans. After the initial shock (and much laughter) he was dragged off by teammates. We retired to the bar for a shandy and then I drove a couple of mates home. Imagine my surprise when, waiting at Welling corner to turn right, who should pull up alongside but Mr Salih. My mate wound down the window and tapped on his window – the look on his face was priceless as he revved up and shot off straight through a red light!
Charlie Sheringham – Son of Teddy ‘enjoyed’ one season at PVR before buggering off for the riches on offer at Bishop’s Stortford. ‘Guess the age of Teddy’s latest girlfriend’ and ‘Is she older than Charlie?’ were popular games on the PVR terraces whenever Teddy put in an appearance. Probably. Now taking the filthy lucre on offer at Ponces Park while Teddy impresses his companion with the Priory Centre, Orchard Theatre and Bluewater.
David Smith – Left winger, part of the deadly attack during the Southern League winning season. Another to join the club from Maidstone, he went on to enjoy a career in the Football League with Gillingham, Bristol City, and Notts County.
Neil Smith – The first managerial appointment following Graham’s passing saw Barrie and Barry attempt to emulate the successful Adie Pennock gamble in giving Smith his first managerial role. That was where the similarities ended though, his reign a disaster from day one as the team struggled in the league, edged past the might of East Barkingside in the FA Cup and were dumped out of the Trophy by Wealdstone. A 4-0 hammering at Hampton finally put him – and us – out of misery. Now doing surprisingly well as manager of Bromley having previously been assistant to current PVR supremo Mark Goldberg. Captain of the Reading side that knocked us out of the FA Cup in 2001 and, alongside Tim O’Shea, was part of the Gillingham team that became our only Football League victims in 1989. We should have known!
Southern League – 1985-86 title win by then record 23 points, sealed with a 3-3 draw at Crawley Town. Believe I took a cold drink or two that particular evening.
Southport – Not our favourite opponents – we failed to pick up a point at Haig Avenue – though it is one particular contest at PVR that sticks in the memory: 1-0 down when John Farley’s attempted clearance cannoned off Glen Knight’s back we swiftly equalised through Tony Dolby. Steve Perkins notched two own goals and was hauled off before half-time to save the Hobbins the cost of a match ball. A valiant comeback down the slope reduced the half-time deficit from 4-1 to 4-3 before a breakaway goal sealed defeat.
Malcolm Spratt – A blast from the past who many of you possibly won’t remember. Malcolm Spratt was the foil up front for Mr Bartley. Now when Sky commentators tell you how the foreigners have brought diving into our game you can now tell them that is rubbish as Malcolm Spratt introduced the concept of diving over 30 years ago! John Bartley always used to loiter around the penalty spot like a true predator – not because that was where his teammate would always put the ball but because he knew there was a fair chance of a penalty being awarded when Spratty got anywhere near the area!
Squiffy’s – Offie next to the ground, below the knocking shop. Was a bathroom shop before becoming the club shop when the club had half a clue commercially. It didn’t last…
Supporters’ groups – There has been a few down the years. Currently we have WUSA and beforehand there has been (in no particular order) the Supporters’ Association, WUISA, Wings Supporters United. If you’re not a member of WUSA please consider joining and getting involved.
Swansea – Another glorious FA Cup failure. City centre traffic congestion afforded the travelling army a police escort to make the delayed kick-off. Paul Barron was cup tied because of his Cheltenham dalliance so it was Jeremy ‘glue gloves’ Parsons between the sticks. Nonetheless Joe Francis scored a belter to put us ahead, Duncan Horton gave away a penalty before Terry Robbins restored our advantage for a 2-1 interval lead. Then it all unravelled, and we suffered the long journey back on the end of a 5-2 beating.
Syd – Barrie and Graham’s father Syd was known for being Sam Bartram’s understudy for many a year at The Valley. He was with Charlton from 1937/38 and then again after the war in 1946/47. He also played for Charlton during the war too when he played against Arsenal in the League South Cup Final but was on the end of a 7-1 defeat. He had previously played for Bexley Heath and Welling on the 6th April 1935 away to Canterbury Waverley in a 1-1 draw.
Steve ‘Teddy’ Payne – Allegedly walked into PVR one day to offer financial support: “what can I do to help?” and received the reply “we need someone to help out behind the burger bar.” Backed the club for several years as well as helping Pam serve the much-vaunted hot dogs in French sticks that were popular with both home and visiting supporters. Sadly no longer with us.
Teletext – ITV’s version of Ceefax and a godsend in the days before the internet and mobile phones for following matches that you couldn’t attend. One up away, goal scorer Robbins. A glorious long-range strike or scuffed in from close range? Who knew until the local newspaper came out the following Thursday? Then many minutes of nervous pacing around the living room, refreshing the page every few minutes. Cue premature celebrations when the clock hit 9.45pm; we must have held on. But then, sadly and inevitably, a 1-0 win turned in to a 2-1 defeat; a penalty in the 89th minute before the injury time winner.
Andy Townsend – Probably the club’s most famous product, Townsend spent five years at PVR, not that anyone would pick that up from the passing mention in his autobiography and his desperation to get off the subject whenever ITV were showing Steve Finnan playing for the Republic of Ireland. Was sold to Weymouth where he only had enough time to have a quick look round the place before he was sold to Southampton. No doubt we had a sell-on clause in place. You what??!!
Trees – Or more specifically one tree in the middle of the terrace at St Albans City football ground which was the reason for our prolonged spell in the Conference. It was a protected species and the ground committee for the Conference had to visit the ground to ratify their application for promotion. Welling had finished third bottom in the final relegation place and survived thanks to the committee’s ruling. Meanwhile, the tree in the corner of PVR vanished overnight and our Conference place was assured. Anybody would think that a Hobbins was on the ground committee. Erm, hang on a minute…
Typewriter – The technology of choice at PVR for decades. Years after the rest of the world switched to word processors and then computers season ticket holders continued to receive their renewal and fixture list bashed out on the faithful Olivetti.
“United!” – The oft heard chant of the PVR faithful. That is all.
FA Vase – Hmm. This wasn’t a great competition for the Wings. In the early 1980s when Tony Sitford was manager we were the highest ranking team in the Vase. A shoo-in for a decent run and Wembley glory. Until we drew the might of Three Bridges away and duly lost 1-0. The kick off was delayed because of the late arrival of the Wings supporters’ coach. In the end we wished that we had failed to find the ground.
Terry Warren – Former Wings striker who appeared on Blind Date in 1988. And maintained his abysmal scoring record. Absolute top bloke who sadly passed away in 2019. RIP Wizzer.
Mark Watson – Striker signed by Kevin Hales from Bournemouth in the summer of 1997, he looked a decent prospect in pre-season but was utterly shit once the real stuff started. Took three months to open his account, a tap-in he celebrated with a cupping-of-the-ear to the PVR faithful.
Lew Watts – Signed from Gravesend and Northfleet as a midfielder but converted to right (wing) back and then centre half by a succession of managers. Earned his ‘Bud Boy’ moniker through his extra-curricular activities that generally involved being spotted by fans downing several bottles of Bud in various local establishments. Was sponsored by WIE during our less than spectacular webzine period with the promise of a Bud for every goal he scored.
Paul Websdale – Former chairman by virtue of his family ties. That being he is Pam’s brother-in-law. So he was the perfect choice for chairman given that he’s got a different surname to Hobbins. With Mark Goldberg’s arrival he moved on to an honorary position within the club that secured him access to free cups of tea and cake.
Welling Building Services – Announced the biggest sponsorship in non-league in the 1990s only to be trumped a few days later. Built the Exec Lounge as part of the deal.
Harry Wheeler – Nearly relegated St. Albans during a brief managerial stint at Clarence Park so natural choice as coach for Goldberg. Remained in post during Daysie’s month in charge before moving up to the hot seat with as joint manager with Tristan Lewis. Another to depart having failed to impress, citing his position as untenable he pitched up as head coach at the Billericay madhouse within hours. Sacked, reappointed and sacked again there with a short stint (spot the theme) at Maidstone sandwiched in-between.
WIE – Us, the fanzine. Over 50 issues published and still limping along. Thank you to all our contributors and those of you who have bought copies over the years.
Wings – The team’s nickname. See here for the full story of how it was fallen upon.
Stuart White – Right winger in the late 80s and early 90s, Whitey is third in the club’s appearance chart. Sadly perished in a car crash in South Africa in 2010, aged 47. RIP.
Woking – Their fans, known as the Tarquin Army to us, are narrow-minded and hugely deluded about the size of their club and the sumptuousness of their Kingfield home. To hear them talk about themselves you would think they were some sort of sleeping giant. As we know, Kingfield is a soulless collection of corrugated iron with one ridiculous stand dominating. Have become real rivals over the years.
Worcester City – Did the double over us in Southern League winning season. Their chairman Dave Boddy kicked up a fuss about playing on a Sunday in the Trophy in 2007. Turned up with more hangers-on than combined previous turnouts at PVR but were sent home with their tails between their legs when goals from Martin Carthy and Des Boateng overturned their early lead. The game ended on a sour note when Boddy threatened to report the Wings for failing to prevent his manager, Andy Preece, from storming the stand to confront the referees’ assessor, despite them dealing with the fatal stroke suffered by Graham Hobbins during the game.
X-rated challenges – Now we have had some for and some against in this category. My favourite being Duncan Horton and, in particular, the look of absolute fear on the face of ex Woking and Chelsea favourite Clive Walker anytime our Duncan got within ten yards of him!
Youth – The bedrock of Welling United FC over the years. Clubs our size are by their very nature selling ones and what better way to survive than by spotting, nurturing and developing your own talent. Many of those players listed in this Wingsaurus came through this very route. The YTS scheme that produced both Steve Finnan and Steve Barnes – and Dean Frost, less we forget – were probably the highlight.
Zeke Rowe – Or Ezekiel Bartholomew Rowe to give him his full name. Another in the long line of loanees from Uncle Barry Fry, he was brought in late in the 1998-99 season as the club attempted another Houdini act. Joined permanently in the summer, was on fire pre-season and then… he was shit. Had an impressive tattoo, erm, apparently.
Chris Zoricich – Kiwi who pitched up at PVR during Kevin Hales’ tenure. Played a mid-season friendly and one league game at home to Slough before buggering off. Went on to skipper the All Whites.