When duty was pleasure

Sports letters
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The Independent Online
Sir: Your correspondent Phil Haynes, in reminiscing about Charlton Athletic, evoked the memory of the only time I saw Eddie Firmani play.

Whilst doing my square bashing at RAF Hednesford during National Service in February 1953 we were pressganged aboard buses - I was one of the many who would gladly have volunteered - and transported to Molineux to support the Brylcreem Boys against the Army.

Both teams were full of stars, each player belonging to a League club. Ron Flowers and Malcolm Finlayson were in the RAF side and Albert Quixall was the best known Army player. Man of the match, however, was Firmani who ran the Army defence ragged with asparkling display during which he notched five goals - the final result something like 7-0. Even though the Army keeper was a Scot, Fraser (Sunderland), he kept the score within reason.

It was vintage football but after hours of boredom pounding up and down the barrack square; we yearned for anything remotely different.

Incidentally despite his dual Italian and South African nationality, would Firmani have qualified for England through residence? After all he qualified for National Service.

Yours, Ken Beighton Pontefract West Yorkshire 18 January

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