will appear here. For most recent entries see Spring
George Aitken (Watford trainer)
following obituary based on his time at Brighton and Hove
Albion can be found at www.theargus.co.uk
A stalwart of
Brighton and Hove Albion's glory days has died at the
age of 78.
Aitken was manager Jimmy Melia's right-hand man
during the glory days of the early 1980s when the
Seagulls reached the FA Cup final.
Born in Midlothian,
Scotland, in 1928, Mr Aitken was thrust into the
spotlight with Scouser Melia after manager Mike
Bailey left the club in 1982.
Mr Melia was
previously the chief scout and Mr Aitken the reserve
team coach, and they combined to propel Albion to the
famous 1983 Cup Final against Manchester United.
Mr Aitken, who lived
in Hove, was eclipsed by Mr Melia's media persona,
but was happy to take on a backroom role, helping to
mould, without the credit he deserved, a team which
came very close to lifting the FA Cup.
Ex-player Jimmy Case
told The Argus: "He was a great character, a
great friend and coach right the way through my time
at the club.
invaluable, very encouraging. I was an older player
but you still looked up to people like that.
was in the front line with his white shoes, but
George was very much part of everything going on.
"He was right
there in terms of the workings of the club and
picking the team. He was well respected for his
knowledge of the game."
Mr Case added:
"His house overlooked the Goldstone ground and
he could sit in his bedroom and watch the
Albion legend Mark
Lawrenson said: "When I first met him it was an
extremely vibrant time for the club.
never got carried away. He had seen it all before. He
was a very wily old fox.
"He was from
the old school, a good, honest, true, loyal man.
"He knew his
football, knew his players and liked a laugh. He had
one of those infectious laughs."
secretary Stephen Rooke said of Mr Aitken at his
testimonial dinner in 1988: "He may never have
reached the dizzy heights attained by many of his
friends and acquaintances over the years but he
represents a rare breed, in fact the very lifeblood
of our national game.
George is a very private person but his reliability
and honest, down-to-earth approach has, quite
rightly, earned him enormous respect throughout the
Mr Aitken, a hard
but fair centre back, played for a number of clubs
including Hibernian, Middlesbrough and Workington
before moving into coaching.
He joined the Albion
in 1976 and remained with the club for a decade.
Mr Aitken said on
his dismissal: "It came as a total shock to me
to be sacked without any reason."
His son, Bruce,
played for Albion Reserves and Worthing.
Eric Eggleton lived
next door to Mr Aitken and his daughter Elizabeth in
He said: "His
death came as a complete surprise. He wasn't 100 per
cent fit but then who is? He certainly didn't seem
"He was one of
the best neighbours in the world. He was wonderful
and we're missing him already."
John Vinicombe, The
Argus's former Albion writer, said: "George
Aitken knew the game inside out while preferring to
leave the mucky world of club politics well alone.
"He wasn't a
limelight man. The boot room was his milieu, not the
9:31pm Sunday 27th August 2006
Many thanks to Soccer History Summer
2007 edition, issue 16, for
in UK for £4-50 via cheque made payable to 'Soccer
History Ltd' at 26 Saxon Street, Lincoln LN1 3HN)
See George's Wikipedia entry at George_B._Aitken
Bert Slater (Watford)
www.thecourier.co.uk offers the following obituary.
click through to the original site to see a picture of
Bert with medals he won as a player:
Bert Slater, stalwart keeper with Dundee FC
during the clubs great run in the European Cup
in 1962-63, died yesterday (21 July 2006) after
collapsing during a round of golf at Brechin Golf and
Squash Club, Trinity.
He was 70.
His wife Jean said
last night, He died peacefully doing something
Musselburgh Grammar School and joined Falkirk FC at
the age of 17. He had been playing for Edinburgh
juvenile team Broughton Star when they reached the
final of the Scottish Under-17 Cup.
didnt win the cup, Bert and six others were
picked up by senior clubs.
Bert was signed for
Falkirk by Bob Shankly, later to be his manager at
were a full-time club, Bert was a part-timer, which
allowed him to finish his apprenticeship as an
electrician before turning full-time.
He also had the good
fortune to be with Falkirk when they beat Kilmarnock
in the Scottish Cup final of 1957 at Hampden.
Like every other
young man Bert had to do his National Service and
went into the Royal Signals.
However, although at
one point it looked like he was to be sent to Cyprus
he was instead posted to his native Edinburgh and as
a consequence was able to play more football than
ever, turning out regularly for both Falkirk and the
It was during that
time he was capped for Scotland at under-23 level
against Wales and also played for Scotland against
In 1959 Bert moved
to Bill Shanklys Liverpool as a swap for the
Anfield clubs Tommy Younger.
Liverpool were in
the second division at the time but achieved
promotion in Berts third season with them.
Then in 1962, Bert
was called into the managers office and found
both the Shankly brothers there.
Bob told him he
wanted him to sign for Dundee, and as the Dens Club
had just won the Scottish League Championship and
qualified for Europe, Bert signed the contract even
before Bob could fill in the wages and conditions.
Bert spent three
seasons with Dundee and was then with Watford from
1965 to 1973, latterly becoming assistant manager.
Unfortunately a boardroom battle ended with a change
of directors and Bert, and the rest of the backroom
staff, were sacked.
For several years
after that Bert turned his attention to golf and got
a job in the administration of a new course in
Bert, his wife and
their two daughters then emigrated to Spain, where
they spent six years running a bar in Fuengirola. He
also found time to be assistant manager and coach
with Fuengirola FC and also ran the pub team.
On the familys
return to Scotland he became a part-time coach with
Hibs and in summer coached at the Ian St John Soccer
Camps in Aberdeen and Musselburgh.
Then in 1987 Bert
was asked to return to Dens again, this time as chief
scout with coaching responsibilities, and he
immediately set up a network of scouts covering the
Bert is survived by
his wife, his two daughters and a son.
Roger Griffiths (Hereford United)
Griffiths, who has died at the age of 61, was the
of Hereford United's celebrated Giantkillers side
who was actually
born in the county.
The talented full-back was in his second spell
with the club when
Colin Addison's side embarked on their remarkable
FA Cup run and his
contribution to United's epic victory was
Griffiths suffered a broken bone in his leg in an
with goalkeeper Fred Potter during the
third-round replay with
Newcastle United at Edgar Street but played on
for more than 75
minutes with the injury before making way for
"I remember him shouting to me as he limped
off `Go on Rick, get a
goal'," recalled George, who was to oblige
his friend with the extra-
time winner in the 2-1 victory which caught the
imagination of the
"He was a lovely guy," added George.
Griffiths' performances in that famous season
earned him a place on
the 125-strong short-list of all time Cup heroes
this year by the FA.
But by the time of the 1971-2 Cup run, Griffiths
had already written
his name into United's history when he became the
club's first ever
substitute in a Southern League match against
Bedford Town in August
1966. He was the club's player of the year in
Griffiths was also on the bench for Hereford's
first Football League
match at Colchester in August 1972 and, still as
footballer, played a handful of league matches in
After 250 games and 26 goals in a distinguished
career, he left
Edgar Street at the end of that season when the
club went completely
full-time and moved on to play at Cheltenham Town
He then had around 10 years as player-manager at
before hanging up his boots at the age of 42.
In recent years, he had had no involvement with
football but had
turned his attention to golf. He had completed a
round in blistering
heat at Leominster Golf Club on the day before
He worked for more than 30 years in the
maintenance department at
Sun Valley and retired earlier this year.
Peter Isaac, who played with Griffiths at
Hereford and at Worcester,
as well as being the trainer of the Giantkillers
side, recalled `a
"Roger was a lovely fellow and such a
rock," he said. "He was always
concerned about other people and was the sort of
man that Hereford
United was all about.
"He was a true Herefordian and a real
battler on the pitch. When I
was working at the club and someone was needed
from the Giantkillers
side to present a prize then we would always ask
Roger. He was
always delighted to go.
"The news of his death has really knocked me
Addison, the player-manager of the Giantkillers
side, was similarly
shocked to hear of Griffiths' sudden passing.
"Roger was a great lad and a very
under-rated player," he said. "He
always gave everything and there was never any
fuss or bother with
"He will be sadly missed - for the
Giantkillers side it is like
losing a member of the family. It has come as a
Roger Griffiths leaves a widow, Caroline, two
sons and a daughter.
His funeral takes place at Norton Canon church at
11.30am on Monday.
Summer 2006 news can be found at ...