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Sholing FC legends on their way to Wembley
11:10am Thursday 8th May 2014 in News
They are two of the club’s greats.
For years they were both involved in the good times and the bad of Sholing FC, including the countless promotions as they started their climb up the leagues in the 1960s.
Now Bill Boyle and Arthur Fox are preparing to go somewhere a far cry from their former stomping grounds like the Southampton Common and Riverside Park.
On Saturday the pair will take their places as guests of honour in the Royal Box in Wembley as their beloved club appears in the final of the FA Vase.
Former captain Bill, who is said to be Sholing’s oldest fan, started playing for the club under its former name of Vosper Thornycroft in 1960 – the same year he got married to his wife Joyce.
The 80-year-old developed a reputation as a no-nonsense, toughtackling centre-back when he started out for them in Southampton Saturday Junior League.
Soon enough he captained the side, and retained the armband for 16 years. In his time he saw them get promoted an astonishing nine times as they went up to the Southampton Senior League.
Bill said: “We were a good team. Every Saturday I was in trouble with my wife for playing so much.
“We never, ever thought the club would get this far, we were just happy to win the Junior League.”
Bill and Arthur are not the only long-serving Sholing officials preparing to march to the arch.
Current co-chairman Trevor Lewis has also been associated with the club for decades, having been assistant manager back in the mid-1970s.
Despite the club growing its fan base significantly, Bill believes the family values have never changed, adding: “The atmosphere at the club has stayed the same through the years. I just love the club and I want them to go on like they are now. You cannot get any higher than champions, and you cannot get any better than playing at Wembley.”
While playing for the club he also worked at Vosper Thornycroft for 47 years.
Bill will be joined by his former team-mate Arthur in the Royal box when the Boatmen take on West Auckland Town on Saturday.
Arthur has been involved with the club for more than 50 years. He played as a goalkeeper from 1963 to the 1980s, and even after that he brought his boots just in case his talents were called upon.
Three months ago the 74-year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and last Saturday manager Dave Diaper even asked him to give the team talk. Dave said: “He gave the team talk to the lads last Saturday, and I think it helps the players to be reminded of what the club means to people like Arthur, who have been here for 50 years or more.”
Don’t miss our interview with Arthur Fox in the Daily Echo’s superb 16-page Sholing FA Vase final supplement tomorrow.
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