Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My Hero - My Inspiration : Rob Hornby

Born in Nottingham in 1962. Rob spent a great part of his youth in Birmingham. Currently married to Hazel, they have an eight year old son, Shawn. Rob also has three sons from a previous marriage.

At the age of 27, Rob fought and beat the disease, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

In his own words, Rob describes himself as "a very positive person, who lives for today”

These are Rob’s words, this is Rob’s hero and inspiration.



Being raised at a early age from a one parent family was hard, in fact so hard that when I was just two years old, my mum returned home from work to find our house burgled and my bed slashed. This was when my mum broke down and I nearly ended up in care, as she couldn’t cope. In the 1960’s people were looked down on as being one parent mums, but my dad had legged it when my mum became pregnant.

My Grandad and Grandma lived in Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and asked my mum to move from Nottingham and they took me under their wing, whilst my mum could go out to work.

My grandparents did everything for me, bought my school uniform, took me on holiday and when we went on holiday every year my Grandad would take me to see Rhyl FC.

When I was eight, my mum met my step dad who would turn out to be “My Hero and My Inspiration“, always guiding me the right way through school and also taking me to West Bromwich Albion every week as a season ticket holder.

Bob Hazell (Wolves)
I was also in the Boys Brigade and played in goal on a Saturday morning, centre forward was Bob Hazell (left) who went on to play for Wolves & QPR. My step-dad Derek would turn up on the bus to every match and though I wasn’t the best of keepers would never moan at me but encourage me to do better the next week.

At the age of fourteen, his advice stood me well, as I went on to become the Birmingham Boys Brigade goalkeeper for two seasons, going to places like Northampton, London, Sheffield.

When I left school, he helped me find a job, but I wanted to return to Nottingham to try and find my real dad. I think it was a matter of wanting to know who I was. Sadly it didn’t turn out too well, as when I tracked him down, he told me to “clear off” in certain words as he had other kids and didn’t want to know me. This was a hammer blow to me, but Derek was there to pick me up.

In 1990, at the age of twenty-seven, I fell very ill with Hodgkins Lymphoma and with two sons aged three and one, it was very frightening as the survival rate at the time was  only 15%, in fact Marti Caine passed away whilst I was going through chemotherapy. Derek and my mum would travel fifty miles every week to see me and see that my kids were okay. It was whilst on chemo, that Derek told me to go out and get fresh air, even if only going to a football match. Whilst in hospital, he bought me up a newspaper and Dunkirk FC were at home in the FA Vase that Saturday, so we went.  I kept going and became Programme Editor and then went on some of the “Northern Groundhops” and then “SWPL Groundhops” meeting  some great people and having a superb time.

The cancer left me having three Grand Mal fit’s a week, which I still have to today, which has become part of everyday life to me.

When in 1999, I got divorced, my mum and step dad helped me a lot and when I met Hazel in 2001, they would drive me from Lichfield to Mansfield to see her before I moved in with her.

When we announced our wedding for 2003, Derek knew that Hazel’s parents were no longer with us, so he got out his cheque book and took Hazel and her two children and got them kitted out for the wedding.

I was asked to go on to the Central Midlands League Committee and wasn’t too sure about it to be honest, but Derek was there for  advice when I needed it again. I went on to the CMFL Committee and he said, “as you go on the 'groundhops', why not set one up yourself, I’m sure they would be popular..”

I was a bit unsure but took the idea to the meeting and was asked if I could guarantee crowds of 100 at each game, I said I don’t know unless we try.  The first match on the Saturday morning was at Greenwood Meadows with a crowd of 302 which is still a ground record for them today.

The 'Groundhops' became more popular and Derek was always keen to know how they were going.

Four years ago, Derek sadly passed away. He had been on a kidney machine for the past twenty years and had four transplants, although they were rejected by his body, they gave him that extra few more years on this planet.

At 'groundhops' I do always try and give two minutes thought towards Derek, as he was the one who backed me to give it a go. As I am organising the Notts Senior League Groundhop this season, I wasn’t sure how popular it would be and only time will tell, but the coach is full and advanced ticket sales are going well. Hopefully we will get more tickets sold before the event, which takes place on the 19th & 20th April. 

Rob finally adds, "I feel and believe that I am being “watched from above” by someone and I think you can see now why Derek was My Hero and My Inspiration".


1 comment:

  1. "Nice article Rob."

    Tony Incenzo (TalkSport Radio)
    via twitter