Football League star headlines Common's big day

Little Common footballers past and present donned the boots for a special day at the Recreation Ground.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:58 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:33 pm
One of the teams in the under-36s match. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney

Four teams of players, including Cambridge United defender Leon Legge, turned out for the Ken Cherry Memorial Event on Sunday.

The event was held to remember club founder Ken Cherry, who was still chairman at the time of his sudden passing in January, and celebrate Common’s 50th anniversary.

"Sunday was an excellent day, really well turned out," said Common player-manager Russell Eldridge, one of Ken's grandsons. "There were over 60 players across the two games and probably in total another 100-odd people plus attended through the day.

Jamie Crone on the ball during the under-36s match. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney

"We're thankful for everyone that was able to attend, and I've already had some kind messages saying what a good day it was and how proud Ken would've been."

Eldridge was particularly grateful to Legge, who made the journey south from Cambridge despite the team being called in for extra training on Sunday morning at short notice.

The 31-year-old Legge was born in the town and played his youth football for Common before rising through the non-league game into the Football League with, initially, Brentford, and subsequently Gillingham and Cambridge.

Legge, who scored for Cambridge in their 2-2 draw at home to Carlisle United in League Two on Saturday, brought with him a signed shirt which will soon be on display in Common's clubhouse.

Andy Atkin on the ball during the veterans' match. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney

Two football matches were played - a veterans’ match at 1pm followed by an under-36s game at 3pm. The teams were made up of past and present Common players.

The likes of Gerard Moyse, Chris Scott, Craig Willard, Mickey O'Callaghan, Steve Mote, Jon Saunders, Chris Copley, Steve Morris and Graham Morris played in the veterans’ match.

Lee Carey, Ricky Mote, Sam Thompson, Ben Eldridge and Wes Tate joined existing Common players, including Eldridge, Lewis Hole and Jamie Crone, in the under-36s encounter.

Both games ended in honourable draws and in true Common style, there were plenty of goals. The veterans' match finished 5-5 and the subsequent game was 4-4.

Spectators enjoy the day at Little Common Recreation Ground. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney

As well as the football, there was food, a bar, a raffle and bouncy castle. Proceeds from the day will go towards a memorial bench for Ken and Common are now considering holding staging a similar sort of event on an annual basis.

Eldridge added: "A lot of hard work went into it and we're thankful and we're thankful to everyone who helped. From our point of view it was a really successful day."

Ken set up Little Common FC back in 1966 and was very much the driving force behind its rise to where it is today as a senior level club with a thriving youth section, first class clubhouse, floodlights and spectator seating.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!