“THE GENTLEMAN PLAYER”
Born in Kennington, South London, the year 1879,
moved to Clacton, with his family as a boy.
His father hated football as cricket was his game,
perhaps his son would like it too, his pride and joy.
The College he attended was called “Ascham”,
with a brilliant up and coming football team.
In one of their games he excelled himself
and that was the start of a dream.
The Clacton Gazette had noticed him
and wrote in the paper that day.
“Woodward’s unselfish play noticeable”,
what a shame others can’t be that way.
With division two championships well in hand,
the only way now was up.
His skills improving with every game,
winning the Essex Junior Cup.
Aged twenty one he moved to Chelmsford
and after a good look around,
played games for Harwich and Parkeston
and also for Colchester Town.
In 1902 he was picked to play,
for the South at Whiteheart Lane.
Once again he shone and was spotted by Spurs
and for twelve years was their best known name.
His first England game against Ireland,
was in February, the year1903.
Once again with the “magic” in his boots,
England won a 4-0 victory.
For the next ten years as a regular,
he Captained England’s winning teams.
Carrying the flag at the Olympic games,
the fulfillment of many a dream.
But by far the greatest moment,
in Paris, came England v France.
The year 1908 and make no mistake,
15-0, they were thrashed, with no chance.
Woodward the hero, netted eight of those goals,
the like of it not seen before.
Lean and fast as a Greyhound,
again and again, he scored.
In 1908, it was Holland’s turn,
Stamford Bridge, at the Chelsea ground.
Once again Woodward netted another 6,
the cheers could be heard miles around.
After many more games he joined Chelsea,
then came the outbreak of war.
Special leave from the Army was granted,
back to normal and football once more.
His sporting attitude was second to none,
before games players hands he would shake.
After tackles, no grudges or fighting,
a leaf from his book, more should take.
His final season in 1919,
would fulfill his Father’s dream.
At forty years old he would take up the bat
and Captain Essex County Cricket Team.
After retirement from Football,
came a Farm and some Pigeon racing.
The running of a Dairy in Frinton,
with ease, his life he was pacing.
During his time with the Middlesex Regiment,
where he’d been wounded, he often felt poor.
In a London Nursing Home all alone,
he died at age seventy four.
Vivian Woodward will always remain,
for the great sport that he chose to play.
“The Gentleman Player”, remembered with pride,
“Centre Forward”, of his day.
Elaine Fearn. 05.