Local football manager turns author
ONE OF Worthing's most successful Sunday football teams now has its glorious recent history in print thanks to their ex-manager turned author, Haydn Potter.
The popular boss of The Clifton from 1998 to 2004 masterminded a remarkable haul of three Sussex Premier League triumphs in five years.
Where Can I Find Eleven? details some great Clifton matches but also gives an insight into just what went on inside the notoriously boisterous Clifton dressing room.
Turning a competent Sunday League side into back-to-back Sussex Champions was no mean feat, especially under the pressure of taking the reins from local legend, Terry Tribe. Having the cream of recent Worthing talent helped. Mark Croft, Chris Punter, Mark Wood, Stuart Sell, Mark Price, Gavin Jones, Lee Gibbs, Jan Miller, Peter Brackley and Steve Pickles were held in the highest esteem across Sussex.
But who could mould these players, along with the rest of the Clifton squad, into an all-conquering machine? Haydn Potter could.
The age old question of whether they were "The Greatest" is still open for much debate. Two other teams from this part of the county, could rightfully lay claim likewise.
Wilf Hugill's "Durrington Youth" side of the late 60s boasted names such as Ross Gumpright, Ricky Sopp, Dave Treagus, Micky Streeter, Peter Cairns, Dave Cooke, Pete Sebry, Jimmy Quigg, Peter Crees, Phil Bonetti and Lee Plummer.
As could Bob Culley's supremely talented AFC George of the late 80s, who included Duncan Green, Dave Clark, Andy Reid, Wayne Wren, Micky Phillips, Paul Clarey, Pat David, Paul Bennett and Dave Menzies. Culley's men dominated the Sussex FA County Cup, winning it four times on-the-bounce.
While The Clifton teams have been good, it is difficult to see how they would been able to cope with the kind of quality those two sides possessed.
That's the beauty of football, though. Wonderful teams through the ages and pub debates all round.
Worthing is not often thought of as a hotbed of football. However, a quick look back paints a different picture.
One thing is for sure. All who have been part of The Clifton over the past 10 years should be doubly proud and thankful to their ex-manager. To have left to them an actual hard copy of a team's history, on and off the field, is not only special at this level of football but also a testament to one man's hard work, dedication and sheer love of the game.
The major thing that stands out when reading this book is the amount of hard work, headaches and problems that people like Haydn Potter have to go through so that many others can benefit.
Potter's meticulous preparation for each game left no stone unturned, while his "pass, move and call for the ball" philosophy certainly reaped its rewards.
As Ex-Cliftonite and Worthing midfielder Mark Croft put it: "Who would have put a softly-spoken, mild-mannered gentleman in charge of an unruly, undisciplined mob? The Clifton did . . . and just look at the results."
Book Price: 9.90.
Available from: Premier Loft Conversions, 2 Becket Buildings, Worthing, BN13 1QD. Tel: 01903 266581
Review by Shaun Berrett and Leighton Treagus