Wes Maughan played for Cambridge United during the mid sixties - here is the story of his football career starting at Southampton where as a youth team player he scored twice at Old Trafford.
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Ted Bates was quite a good Manager. He was keen and energetic and I always got on well with him. That is not to say everyone did but that may have been because he didn’t tolerate those not giving 100%. His love for the game and his energy served both Him and the club well. I don’t think he had any other interests other than football. Southampton was quite a well organised club from the first team down to youth team and that was largely due to Ted and his assembled team. The success the Club had in moving from the old 3rd Division to the 1st Division (now Premier ship) in a few years was evidence of this.
I guess you would say the stars at the Club during my time were Terry Paine and John Sydenham, the wingers (I keep in touch with both who live in South Africa and Australia repectively). Terry was a member of the World Cup winning squad and John played for England B. They provided a lot of chances for George O’Brian and Derek Reeves the two strikers along with Tommy Mulgrew a ball playing inside left. That forward line of Paine, O’Brian, Reeves, Mulgrew and Sydenham was a settled group who seemed hardly ever to get injured depriving upstarts like me a chance. Eventually I sought a move to get more first team opportunity and Harry Johnston signed me for Reading.
Not too long into my spell there I developed a niggling groin injury which I tried to play on but obviously it affected my form and made it worse. Eventually I visited a specialist who ascertained the injury was quite serious and would take some months to clear up. It is a long story but in a nutshell Reading thought they could get some of my transfer fee back from Southampton and took them to the Football League under the pretence that I had bad eyesight and they should have been told of this before the transfer (I had slight short sightedness and wore glasses for driving). At a rather farcical hearing the case was thrown out and at the end of the season Reading did not offer me a renewed contract. I never felt my slight short-sightedness affected my play in any way
I had four successful seasons of full-time football. After my two full time years with Chelmsford there was unrest in the club resulting in the manager, Billy Frith leaving. Non league clubs always felt they could get better players from the League during the close season and although I had had two successful seasons I refused reduced terms and signed for Cambridge United, who I knew were a good club and had a good team. Roy Kirk was a players’ man and quite a good motivator if I recall but, like many managers in those days in non league football, he was not really a great coach.
I didn’t realise I was the first substitute used by United. I never liked being a substitute as you never knew whether you would get game time and how much. Fortunately it didn’t happen too much. I was released by Bill Lievers mainly because of the reason mentioned previously about managers signing better players from the Football League. There were players who stayed some years at United, i.e. Rodney Slack and Jackie Scurr, but I was at that time ready to move to part-time and concentrate on another career so I took a job in London with an American firm and signed a one year part-time contract with Chelmsford City and then played four years with Bexley United and one with Brentford Town.
Being a Salvationist it would be easier today to play pro-soccer. When I signed pro in 1957 it was quite frowned upon to be associated with professional soccer with its gambling (football pools) and drinking at the grounds. Times have changed and along with it the Salvation Army. I could write a book on it (now that’s an idea).
I am Chairman of the Trustees Board for The Kenya Trust and am still heavily involved with it. I am on the social support side where we raise money for projects that introduce water facilities into drought areas and also specialises in providing better conditions for deprived children (orphans and those with some disability) in Homes and Schools.