Fan's Eye View: Roy Dwight

IN THE secure, cosy carapace that is our modem existence we look to football to provide us with life on the edge. There is no football welfare state to protect the weak, the careless or the merely unfortunate. To the victor, all the spoils of conquest, to the defeated only despair, desperation and utter failure. Never were the highs or lows of the game felt more vividly than in just 23 minutes in the life of one player 40 seasons ago.

When Roy Dwight walked out onto the sun-drenched Wembley turf with his Nottingham Forest team mates to face Luton Town in the 1959 FA Cup final he must have believed that he had tasted already the extremes of human experience. Just four months previously the Reds had endured the most humiliating of defeats at the hands of Tooting and Mitcham. Forced to play on a treacherous, frost-rutted surface on which no modern referee would tread, even to perform the most cursory of pitch inspections, Forest were 2-0 down and staring ignominy between the eyes. Ravenous journalists were turning over in their minds the headlines that would announce the cup upset of the decade. However, a face-saving draw was achieved and the replay duly won. Now 100,000 joyous voices welcomed the players onto the ultimate field of dreams.

Nine minutes into a game whose early stages Forest had dominated Stewart Imlach pulled back the ball and Roy Dwight volleyed a thunderous shot into the roof of the net. The Forest end of the ground erupted. A 12-year- old watching my first "away" game, I remained silent. The whole Wembley experience had been just too much to take in. My mind simply could not accept the fact that Forest were winning. The goal had to be disallowed. Why were all of these fools cheering? Could they not understand that there must have been a foul or an offside flag. Even the players were celebrating. Were they mad? Slowly, the truth dawned and I exploded like a delayed- action bomb. What Roy Dwight must have felt at that moment is beyond comprehension. Five minutes later and Tommy Wilson added a second. Forest were coasting. Oh dear, someone went down injured. Who was it? It seemed to be Roy Dwight. Then he was getting up, thank God. Now who was injured this time? It was Roy Dwight again. They were bringing on the stretcher. Just 32 minutes gone and Dwight's game was over, his leg broken. What depths of despair he must have trawled as he was taken to hospital, leaving his colleagues to scrap it out in defence of their lead for another hour. Later, as he watched them parading the cup around the stadium from his hospital bed he must have been able to put "mixed feelings" into a new realm.

My abiding memory of Roy Dwight, however, is not of that day of triumph at Wembley. Early the following season I was waiting outside the changing room in the pursuit of autographs. The last one to emerge was known to be rather difficult. He pushed past us, met his wife and strode out of the ground. We followed at a discrete distance. As luck would have it he boarded the same corporation bus as us. Eventually a brave soul crept forward and asked for his autograph.

"No, son," the player snapped. Two points reflect the gulf that separates the modern game from that of yesteryear. Firstly, if being asked to sign an autograph after a game was an unwelcome intrusion into that player's privacy, then what would he have made of the sort of media attention the likes of Paul Gascoigne endure? Secondly, can we imagine a Premiership footballer going home by bus?

Half an hour before this incident occurred Roy Dwight had emerged from the changing room, still using his post-Wembley crutch. Immediately he was mobbed by young fans. Spotting his plight, a policeman moved in. He sensed that he was not needed.

"Alright, Roy?" he asked. "Fine," our hero replied as he set about our autograph books. What a player, and what a great bloke. Today's footballer is as big a celebrity as the greatest pop star. Four decades ago that was not the case. Even Roy Dwight's greatest admirer would agree that he was not as big a name worldwide as his nephew although young Reg Dwight had to change his name before he found fame in the world of popular music. In Nottingham, however, older folk will still ask: "Elton John! Isn't he Roy Dwight's nephew?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album