Our latest feature is written by Darren Norton. Father of three, a regular down at Grange Lane (North Ferriby United) and a Bridlington Town programme contributor. Married to Adele, in his spare time, Darren has worked for the Royal Mail for over twenty years.
These are Darren's words ...
My first thought was that this would be a pretty daunting task, especially on the hero front. As I fast approach forty , I’ve watched football from every level , professional to pub league. Over that time I must have seen hundreds, probably thousands of players. A few names sprang to mind straight away. Dalglish, Platini, Rush, Baresi, Zico, Zidane, all played the beautiful game the beautiful way. Skill in abundance, they dominated their respective positions and era’s. Player’s like Butcher, Reid, Adams, Souness also came to mind but more for their influence and passion, a key ingredient in any sport. But the more I thought, the more my earlier influences came back to me. I grew up on the terraces of Boothferry Park, then home to Hull City, from the age of seven in 1980 and that’s where I discovered my first hero, flying winger Brian Marwood.
Marwood graduated through the youth system in 1978 and made a total of 191 appearances for the Tigers before being sold to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in 1984. He would later move onto Arsenal, where he earned his first and only England cap. For five years the diminutive Geordie terrorised the old Third and Fourth Divisions with his pace and trickery, almost single-handed carrying the Tigers to promotion in his final season with them. As an impressionable kid, this crowd pleaser certainly caught my eye, so much so that despite playing right back for my junior teams I insisted on wearing his trademark "Number 7" shirt. The coincidence that we also played in amber and black was not lost on me either. For those ninety minutes on a Sunday morning, I was "Brian Marwood."
As for inspiration, well I guess I’m in a fortunate position. As a kid growing up, I didn’t need encouraging to play football. I got my early football fix watching my brother and cousin play for a team that my Auntie founded. Flamborough Seabirds FC were a village team playing in the district league on a Saturday afternoon. My cousin, Tony Grand, was captain and centre half. As a player he was a fearsome sight, tall , long hair, with his two front teeth missing, a player that took no prisoners. Years later when I played open age football, I would like to think that he and I shared certain similarities. Not always the fastest or most skillful, we both made up for it in passion and endeavour. Today, he’s a family man in his mid fifties, but his name is still remembered in local non-league circles.