I want to write a short article about my friend Ken Spence. Ken was a hugely influential person on a bunch of young men in the late 60’s and 70’s. He was our Football Manager, and his football team took over his family!
Ken still is and was then a football fanatic. A Wolves supporter born in sight of the Molineux. He tells in his ‘Treasured Memories’ document that on Match Days he stored bicycles for 3d and tandems for 4d, with motorbikes at a tanner in their backyard! And I thought that Liverpool and Everton fans had the world monopoly on those types of money making ventures and entrepreneurial skills.
Sadly at the time of writing this we have lost a former Royal London player in Roy Hinde aged just 62. Ken was at the funeral in Gnosall as was a number of former players including Dave Wiley, Frank Hill, and Geoff Knight.
I mentioned that we took over his family, and we did!
Royal London players turned up at his house in Kitchen Lane almost every day. Ken’s wife Jean and her three young Girls ( Gail Jane & Lyn ) got used to all manner of players whilst they got ready for school in the mornings or when trying to have their tea, do school work in the early evenings, or week ends! Almost at any time players were turning up and disrupting the Spence’s family life.
But Ken and Jean were great, they laughed with us, Jean scolded us when the pranks went too far,or when we lay on the front garden after too much drinking! Ken and his grey Zephyr 4 acted as our taxi, coach, and when we were in trouble…the first telephone call was often to Ken!
He was the ‘Brian Clough’ of Royal London! His word was law, but he was also a great motivator, more than that he had a great sense of humour! All of us in the football team liked him and his family. His team at that time of mostly teenagers, kept him and his family on their toes. As the years moved on I think we all as young men recognised the tremendous sacrifice Ken had made in running our Club.
Ken Spence went onto act as Secretary of the Wolverhampton Sunday League, he has and still has today a huge range of football friends.
Most of the Royal London players were from Ashmore Park & Woodend. In those early days the Royal London had some good players off the Ashma! Steven Skitt, Dave Wiley, Keith Howell, John Cromwell, Robert Bradley, Keenan Clarke, Dave Clarke, Robert Prior, Dave Grimstead and Stuart Richmond. The lads from Woodend were Peter Blanton, Frank Hill, Brian Hill and even Robert Hill played for one of Ken’s teams, Paul Daniels, Roy Hinde. There were also Maurice Mincher,Ronnie Dunn ,Alan Dunn and Tony Dunn, ‘Basher’ Bowen. There were more but those are the ones that spring to mind that played for Ken’s teams.
I am sure all of those mentioned and many more will testify that Ken was a great guy, often going the extra mile to keep us safe, and keep us in our most impressionable years safe and well. He was a magnificent influence on a whole bunch of young men for many ,many years. Ken and Jean both play a role in their local community in Fallings Park where they moved even now.