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Then & Now

A 50 year-old photo of the university football team has rekindled friendships for one Nottingham alumnus
Connect Community Then & Now

What aspect of your time at university gave you friends that stand the test of time? For Alan Williams (Industrial Economics, 1964), his time on the university football team is what he remembers most fondly about being at Nottingham.

Words: Lily Fairless

“We all looked forward to playing for the university on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons,” said Alan. “We tended to regard them as the highlights of the week. Away games could mean travelling to London, Liverpool or Manchester and we often spent social time with other members of the team.

“My favourite memory is the semi-final of the AFA Senior Cup in 1963. The competition had been delayed by the weather and the match against Ilminster was arranged on a neutral ground in South London. The icing on the cake for me was equalising with 38 seconds to go (as confirmed by the referee afterwards) then going on to win in extra time, which was followed by winning the final at Wealdstone FC in Harrow.

“One important result of playing football at Nottingham was joining a London football team, Corinthian Casuals, where a couple of others from Nottingham played. Later on, I occasionally played against those I had met at university and I helped arrange reunions for players from my time at Nottingham, the first of which was in the 1990s. We also arranged a couple of golfing days and the occasional meet-up in London.”

After sharing his university football team photo in our Memory Lane feature this spring, which generated lots of correspondence from old friends, Alan has expanded the network of football connections that he has kept up with over the decades. 

“I’m still in touch with four or five players, and they are still important to me, even if now contact is largely by email and the occasional phone call.” Looking back at his university days, Alan would tell his younger self:

"Enjoy the times that you have at university and make the most of them. You might not realise at the time how special they are!"