OBITUARY: Harry Cripps
Wednesday 03 January 1996
'Arry Boy, as he was affectionately dubbed, was a rather rotund left back who tackled ferociously and strove constantly and courageously for a dozen or so seasons as the Lions rose from fourth division mediocrity to the brink of the top flight.
But Cripps represented infinitely more to Millwall than his highly respectable tally of 444 senior appearances and 40 goals. A warm, humorous individual, he enjoyed a rich rapport with the toughly self-sufficient denizens of Cold Blow Lane, who saw him as one of their own. He played the game seriously but he revelled in by-play with the crowd.
Other players, many far more gifted than the somewhat ponderous though not unskilful defender, were equally committed to the cause and a few of them were as combative (though that took some doing). But none of them could count on a welcoming roar just for taking the pitch or be allowed such good-natured leeway on making a mistake. Indeed, a significant part of the Cripps appeal was that he could take criticism, and was never a moaner no matter how dire the circumstances.
'Arry Boy had arrived at The Den in June 1961, a 19-year-old reeling with the shock of being rejected by West Ham United. A keen competitor, he soon became established in the first team and played a crucial role in the Lions' two successive promotion campaigns, from the fourth and third divisions, in 1965 and 1966. Thereafter he was a model of consistency, enjoying a stint as skipper, holding the club's appearance record for a spell and still being an important member of the side when Millwall just missed reaching the first division in 1972.
After that the ageing Cripps switched to midfield, where his lack of pace was less exposed, until he moved to Charlton Athletic in October 1974. That term he helped his new club reach the second division, subsequently serving them as assistant manager to Andy Nelson.
In later years Cripps managed non-league Barking, was no 2 to his old friend Bobby Moore at Southend, coached a variety of amateur sides and worked in insurance. But it is as the very epitome of Millwall FC that 'Arry Boy's place in football folklore is assured.
Henry Richard Cripps, footballer; born East Dereham, Norfolk 29 April 1941; played for West Ham United 1956-61, Millwall 1961-74, Charlton Athletic 1974-75; died 29 December 1995.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Latest in News
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
Winter Solstice marks shortest day of the year
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Geography ...
Competitive: Nielsen: We are seeking an enthusiastic intern with a passionate ...
£23 - £30 per hour: Morgan Hunt: A fantastic opportunity has arisen within a c...