Clive Wilkin

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It was with great sadness that we learned recently that our dear friend and teammate had been taken from us far too soon.

Clive was the humblest and kindest of men and a complete gentleman. He was loved and will be hugely missed by all the Many Shades.



Last weekend, a memorial lunch was held for Clive at the Amex Stadium, home of his beloved Brighton & Hove Albion.

The occasion was a wonderful celebration of Clive’s life and an opportunity to swap stories and memories.

Throughout the lunch, Clive’s shirt was visible on his seat in the stand below.



You may be aware that Clive, having been an experienced bus driver, was an avid vintage bus enthusiast and it was great to meet up with his fellow enthusiasts who brought along a fine working example (sorry – I don’t know the make/model!) which Clive had helped to restore.

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Our thanks go out to Clive’s wife, Josette, and family for inviting us along to be part of this wonderful tribute to Clive.

During the memorial lunch, a collection was made for Rowan’s Hospice where Clive spent his final few days. Anyone, wishing to make a  donation can do so via their website.



Rich Bonsey Memorial Festival 2019

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The Rich Bonsey Memorial 60+ Festival on 28th April was a huge success, and while the Many Shades of Grey won the overall festival, it was the three charities British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and Versus Arthritis who were the real winners, with over £600 per charity being raised.

To promote the three charities, we were pleased to field three teams made up of players drawn from clubs across the region, most of whom has had one or more diagnosis of : heart attack or stroke, joint replacement, or cancer.


The “Hearts” team (managed by David Hall)

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The Joints team

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The Cancer Research Team


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A big Thank You goes out to our two corporate event sponsors : Morgan Innovation & Technology and Snows Motor Group


Barry collects the prestigious trophy from Stew

We were all spoiled by the best buffet (cakes and canapes and goodness knows how much more) on the south coast, courtesy of Suzette and Natalie Gray.


South Central League  –  not what the doctor ordered

A somewhat patched up side from the Many Shades of Grey promised much, but unfortunately delivered less at the initial South Central Walking Football League tournament held at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium on Wednesday 13th March.

Pedantry alert!  When someone says a side was decimated, they usually mean that half or more of the players were missing.  But strictly speaking it means that one-in-ten of the players was missing.  This squad was more than decimated.  Out of eight players set to play on Tuesday night, two of them proved unable to play, leaving us with the bare bones of six for a 7 game six-a-side tournament.

Buoyed by the emergency loans from Knightwood and Southampton Strollers respectively of “Dax” and “Steve”, we at least had the opportunity to give players a rest as the day went on.

We started against Southampton Strollers, going down unluckily to a 1-0 defeat, in spite of hitting the post and keeping their keeper busy most of the game.  This was followed by a good competitive 0-0 draw against Fleet of Foot, a team we know well, and who proved pretty useful on the day.

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Next we faced Knightwood, and with Dax marking their danger man out of the game we won more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline suggests.  The goal was a classic Pete Brown finish.  In our next  game against the “All Stars” (who were drafted in to replace the unavailable Mountbatten), we started disastrously with a calamitous own goal in the first minute.  Although we huffed and puffed, we just couldn’t break them down, and so it was that it finished 0-1.

The fifth match of the day was against Pompey in the Community, the tournament favourites and eventual winners.  They had brought a typically mobile side along with them, and scored two good goals against us. In spite of this, the Many Shades battled on, and forced their keeper into several good saves, and restricted them to blatant time-wasting towards the end.  Highlight of our attacks was a stunning left-footed strike at goal from our player of the tournament Barry Ingram.

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Our last two games were played out by an ever wearying squad, firstly against hosts Eastleigh, who cruised to a 3-1 win courtesy of some dubious refereeing and one good finish; our goal came from Tony Elliott.  Finally we faced Gosport Neanderthals in a game that would decide who finished bottom of the league.  Gosport snuck home 1-0 thanks to a clinical finish after Dave Rowbrey had pulled off a brilliant save, with the rebound dropping kindly for the opposition.  So yes, we finished bottom of the league.  But we do it all again on 10th April!

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Your Many Shades of Grey squad for the day was somewhat depleted through injury and unavailability, but nonetheless gave a good account of themselves against some opposition of  great repute:  Dave Rowbrey, Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, Phil Hannam, Tony Elliott, and Pete Brown. Many thanks to Dax and Steve for trying their best to help us out.  Rich Bishop and Stew Russell were on hand to offer support and guidance (that worked well then).

Many thanks to hosts Eastleigh for an impressive post-tournament buffet, very much appreciated by us all and thanks to Phil for his photos.

FA People’s Cup 2019, not a good day at the office…

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With the development of the squad over the past year meaning that we had a younger age range to choose from, we found ourselves quietly confident of being more competitive as we rocked up at ROKO for this year’s  march to the arch.  Surely our young, agile, highly skilled athletes would more than hold their own against the might of whatever else the regional qualifier could throw at us?

Err… no.  First up were Gosport & Fareham Civil Service, who looked to be strangely familiar, very similar to Gosport Neanderthals.  In fact, they were Gosport Neanderthals.  Well, we knew they were quite good, but they were beatable.  Did we get complacent, were we too comfortable in our superiority?  Maybe, because after Pete Brown had put us ahead, we seemed to just switch off, and an equaliser followed by a late winner put our noses out of joint straight away.

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Next up were Pompey ITC Black (they had entered three teams, Black, Yellow, and Blue).  We knew they were good, as they were Pompey’s first team.  Sure enough their movement, passing and clinical finishing, honed by years of playing in the ROKO cages, saw them to a fairly comfortable 3-1 win.  The Many Shades’ goal coming from Mark Hughes.

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Straight away we were in action again, this time against the strongest team in the competition, Brighton and Hove Dolphins, who had been National Finalists in this competition last year.  Fast and physical, they totally dominated the Many Shades, pulling us apart as they attacked and closing us down instantly whenever we got the ball.  A thumping Chris Poirrier shot proved our only consolation as the Dolphins hammered six past the helpless and beleaguered John Kennett.

Due to a quirk of the fixture list we then had almost an hour to contemplate our 2019 FA People’s Cup experience thus far over a cup of coffee and a chin-wag.  Cages and unlimited touch seem to combine to beat us.  We felt that the results would have been very different on open pitches, six- or seven-a-side, and three-touch.  It would also be safer, without the crunching tackles from behind and the slamming against the boards that we had experienced and witnessed so far.  What we had experienced was simply 5-a-side football with some older blokes charging around.

So to our final game, and the wonderfully named Arthritico Mad Ryde (Athletico Madrid, gettit?) were challenging us to see who would finish bottom of the group.  We were determined not to let that ignominy happen to us, and stormed into a two-nil lead courtesy of Pete Brown and Mark Hughes.  However Ryde were equally determined to get something out of it, and with just over a minute remaining they had pulled back to equalise.  An inspired substitution, throwing the bruised Mark Hughes back on for the final minute, was just enough to swing it our way, and almost immediately Ian Thakore struck to regain the lead.  With Ryde now throwing caution to the wind, the last kick of the match saw Mark Hughes complete a spectacularly tense and exciting last few minutes of football to see us home 4-2.

The Many Shades of Grey squad was: John Kennett, Ian Thakore, Chris Poirrier, Dave Hall, Mark Hughes, Jeff Pickering, James McIlwaine, and Pete Brown.  Stew Russell provided one moment of inspired management; the less said about the rest of his moments the better.

Huge thanks to the fantastic turn out of Ultras who came along to support us.  If we miss any of you out, we apologise, but from memory it was: Frank Antony, Rich Bishop (and his personal food bank), Phil Hannam, Dave and Helen Rowbrey, Mick Sidwell, Ian Warren, and Pete Brown’s partner Karen.

Pete Dolamore, Barry Ingram, Colin Jeffery, and John Morgan all came along as well.  As the FA People’s Cup is also open to individuals to make up a team on the day, they joined in with Rod McMillan’s Solent City to experience three defeats and a draw in the other group.

So no triumphant march to the arch for us again this year.  But we can certainly say that another experience was added to our long and occasionally glorious history!

Many Shades of Grey feature in new Hawks book

Here at Many Shades Towers, we are all very proud to have been included in the new “A History of the Hawks 1998-2018” book.

The 4-page article, written by our very own Stewart Russell, details the journey from the “four old men in randomly acquired football kit” to the much travelled and much decorated significantly larger bunch that we are today.


The book is available now at the Havant & Waterlooville FC shop priced only £10.00.


With Mother’s Day fast approaching, what a wonderful surprise this would be for your beloved family member.

Bobby leads the way at successful awards night for Many Shades

Thursday evening saw the annual Havant Borough Sports Association awards night and, of course, the Many Shades of Grey were there in force. The promise of free tea and a buffet was enough for the lads to don their Sunday best and head down to Havant Leisure Centre for what turned out to be a very enjoyable and successful evening.

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Looking nervous in the bar prior to the presentations

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Martin and John bemoan the fact that the bar shutters are down

The first success of the evening came in the category of Senior Team of the Year Award which the Mayor presented to Stewart and James  for the Many Shades of Grey.

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Stew’s media training pays off

Following quickly on, Havant & Waterlooville FC were awarded the Club of the Year Award, not just for the first team successes in 2018, but also for the great work done by Hawks in the Community and the award-winning Westleigh.
With the team and staff en route to Gateshead for the big weekend clash, Stew and James stepped forward to accept the award on the club’s behalf.

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It was James’s turn to take to the mic with the Mayor and Lady Mayoress hanging on his every word – and Stew wishing he would hurry up and finish so they could adjourn to the Westleigh.

However, the biggest congratulations of the night go to our own Bobby De Ste Croix who won the Special Merit Award for his long goal-scoring career in local football.

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Congratulations Bobby – Well Deserved

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With Bobby unable to attend, James was on hand to collect his award

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Well done to all the winners and many thanks to Havant Borough Sports Association for putting on the event and having us along.

Many more photos of the evening can be found here

Our new motto: “We’re gonna need a bigger trophy cabinet.”

Winter Festival sees new winners

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A very chill wind was blowing in from the north as six doughty groups of players gathered together at Park Community School on Sunday 27th January.  Our first festival of the year was living up to its name – the Winter Festival.  Solent City, one of our guest teams, reported a sad depletion in numbers, with a catalogue of injuries and illnesses leaving them with just three players a few minutes before kick-off – one of their number even pinged a calf muscle in the warm-up!  We formed a Many Shades of Solent squad, lending three of our spectators and one of the original MSoG squad members.

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We opened with a comfortable 5-0 win for the Many Shades of Grey squad over Bognor Regis Boulders, with Lloyd Fowler and a Mark Hughes hat-trick doing the damage in the wind-assisted first half, followed up by a Pete Brown strike in the second half.  Meanwhile the Solent squad introduced themselves to each other courtesy of a well-deserved 2-1 win over Mountbatten.

The MSoG squad then beat the same Mountbatten team 1-0, courtesy of a debut goal from new signing Jason Burch, while the Solent squad were drawing 0-0 with Gosport Neanderthals.

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He’s in there somewhere – John keeping the chill out in goal

The Neanderthals then played a dogged defensive game against the MSoG, and a rare breakaway following a pass being blocked gave them a fortuitous 1-0 lead, which they managed to hold on to in spite of the best efforts of your lads.  The Solent squad also found the going getting tougher as they lost 2-0 to the very impressive Godalming side.

The MSoG were next on the list for Godalming, who stormed into the lead, and but for a blinding save from John Kennett would have been in total control within five minutes.  However the MSoG gradually began to get a stranglehold on the game, and a neat Lloyd Fowler goal brought us back to all-square.  Your lads looked the more likely to score, but Godalming weren’t top of the league for no reason, and they managed to score a winner shortly before the end.  At the same time as this was going on, the Solent squad were giving Bognor a bit more of a bashing, running out 5-1 winners.

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The final round of matches saw the MSoG beat the Solent squad 2-0, courtesy of a pair of James McIlwaine strikes.  Credit must go to Pete Dolamore in goal for Solent, who saved a Pete Brown penalty.  Although we didn’t have a record of scorers for Solent, we were assured that Tony Elliott scored two goals for them through the afternoon.

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A fine save from Pete D thwarts Pete B
Don’t worry Pete B – I’m certain this incident will never be mentioned again

The final positions (as revealed at Suzette and Natalie’s awesome buffet afterwards) were: winners with a 100% record, Godalming; 2nd were Many Shades of Grey (9pts), followed by Gosport (8), Many Shades of Solent (7), Mountbatten (3), and Bognor (1).  Huge thanks to referees Graham Wilson, Dave Lister, and John Morgan.

MSoG: John Kennett, Ian Thakore, Chris Poirrier, Jeff Pickering, James McIlwaine, Lloyd Fowler, Mark Hughes, Jason Burch, Pete Brown.  Playing for Solent were: Pete Dolamore, Barry Ingram, Dave Hall, and Tony Elliott.

Thanks to Paul Sumpner from Solent for the photos.

Many Shades v. Dambusters – Part II

Happy New Year everyone.

And so to the second leg of our tense double-header against the Auld Enemy. Our original foes from our first ever match, a side we had never beaten. A strong Many Shades squad assembled at the Silverlake on New Year’s Day, all sprightly and refreshed after a quiet night in with a mug of Horlicks at early bedtime.


Once again we were superbly refereed, which was just as well, as one or two (or two or three) of our lads forgot about the “no tackling from behind” rule. It’s always going to be hard work to even draw against Eastleigh Dambusters, so we were delighted to go in at the end of the first quarter 2 – 0 up. An early Pete Brown strike was followed up rather painfully by Lloyd Fowler adding a second just before the break. Lloyd had to be substituted with a knee strain, and Jeff Pickering‘s cameo of two seconds of no play at all meant he could claim to be part of the team to gain that 2 – 0 lead.

With a full squad to choose from, the Many Shades made full use of rolling substitutes to ring the changes and give players a breather whilst maintaining our shape. There was no additional score in the second quarter, but one of our senior gentlemen defenders conceded a penalty by wandering about in the forbidden zone that is the penalty area, and the Dambusters pulled one back from the spot to set up a ding-dong final quarter.
We held on well, with play sweeping from end to end, and both sides seeking the next, important, goal. Right at the death it seemed that it might be the Dambusters who claimed that goal, but the last kick of the match saw a rocket shot skim the outside of Man of the Match John Kennett‘s post.

The squad was: John Kennett, Barry Ingram, Ian Thakore, Pete Dolamore, Pete Brown, Jeff Pickering, Jeff Hooper, Lloyd Fowler, Keith Huet, and James McIlwaine. Once again Stew Russell shouted at them a lot.

Afterwards we were treated to a fantastic buffet and grandstand seats for the Hawks match, followed by half-time and full-time coffees. During the buffet, John was nominated to collect the Xmas Trophy on our behalf from Eastleigh FC’s CEO Kenny Amor.

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Stew doesn’t rest for a moment – the master tactician even used the canapes tray to explain his formation that pulled off the historic victory

Many Shades of 2018

2018 was an incredibly busy year for your favourite walking football team. Here is a quick reminder of a few of the highlights.

January saw the tenth anniversary of the Hawks’ famous run in the FA Cup. The Many Shades marked this occasion with a 60+ tournament. Fleet of Foot ran out the eventual winners just ahead of the Many Shades of Yellow and a long way ahead of the Many Shades of Grey. Details here.

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February saw the release of a Hants FA commissioned film about walking football which featured our January Festival. The final cut can be viewed here.

brought very exciting times at Westleigh Park with the Hawks’ first team pushing hard for promotion to the National League. Easter weekend saw many of the Many Shades helping out with the pitch covers to ensure that weekend’s crunch match with Weston-Super-Mare went ahead. More photos of welly-clad folk here.

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April was a particularly busy month with the Many Shades supporting (and winning) a Football For Cancer Charity day tournament which raised over £7,000 for the FFC fund. Well done to CJ for pulling together the walking football aspects of the day.

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also saw us remembering Rich Bonsey with the, now, annual 60+ memorial festival. For the first time in 19 attempts, the Many Shades were victorious at one of its own festivals. A raffle and quiz followed with all proceeds going Southampton University Immunology Research. More photos here.

— Warning : blatant bullying attempt about to happen!!

Also in April, The Many Shades of Grey were accepted as a worthy cause for the new Havant Borough Community Lottery.
With a weekly top prize of £25,000, please consider having a flutter and support your favourite walking football team.
For more details and to enrol, please click here.

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Bullying attempt over – back to the review …

The end of the April brought wild celebrations to Westleigh Park following the Hawks’ last gasp victory v. Concord had secured them the league title and promotion to the National League.
Unfortunately, the Bognor festival was held on the following day and, not surprisingly, an emotionally wrecked and just ever so slightly hungover Many Shades got off to a very slow start. However, once the caffeine had kicked in, we went on to win the Silver Cup notching up our biggest ever victory (10-0) against Bognor Boulders en route.
Below can be seen the Special One parading the fine specimen of a trophy after the next day’s training session. Full report here.

I’m sure we’ll all agree that we don’t all do what we do for awards but it is nice to be recognised now and again. And so it was in June that we put on our Sunday best to collect the Hampshire FA Walking Football Club of the Year Award for the second time. Full report here.

This tremendous achievement was followed up in July with us collecting the National League Trust Award for Best Project for Older People. Again, this was the second time we had received this award. A well deserved “Double-double” that warranted a limited edition commemorative shirt.

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saw high temperatures across the UK but the Many Shades found appropriate methods to keep cool during training sessions including laying under Martin’s sprinkler. More photos of sweaty over-50’s here.

Despite numerous phone calls to FIFA, they refused to re-schedule their “World Cup Final” which clashed with the Many Shades Summer Festival in July. It was their loss as many forewent the preamble to watch the Many Shades take the real World Cup in style. Lengthier report here.

Jumping forward a bit, November saw perhaps the Many Shades’ greatest performance when, some would say against the odds, we were crowned Solent League Champions. Sporting our new “Snows” shirts, we beat off strong competition in the final round to claim the trophy which, report has it, is still in James’s grasp.
Full report here.

Which brings us to December and the first leg of a Boxing / New Year’s Day double header against our old rivals, the Eastleigh Dambusters. A hard fought match finished 1-1 leaving everything to play for on 1st Jan and the squad under strict orders to get to bed early the night before.

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So there we have it – what a year! Apologies if I’ve missed out your personal favourite; take a look through the blog for a reminder of some of the other Many Shades related goings-on.

A BIG THANK YOU to Stew Russell for organising pretty much everything and thanks to everyone else (you know who you are) for all your time and effort to keep the Many Shades of Grey bandwagon rolling.

Happy New Year Everyone – see you at Eastleigh on New Year’s Day.













Many Shades v. Dambusters – Part 1

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With the Hawks‘ first team at home to the Spitfires in the afternoon, the Boxing Day pre-match entertainment shifted to the Silverlake where Eastleigh Dambusters kindly offered to host the Many Shades to help work off the pigs in blankets and set us up for the evening’s turkey curry. There simply isn’t a pitch open in Havant Borough on a Bank Holiday.

Brilliantly refereed to Hampshire FA’s rules, two evenly matched sides battled through four 12-minute quarters. It is difficult to pick out moments of particular noteworthiness from the first quarter, as the Many Shades played a very competent and effective possession game, but had to be alert to Eastleigh’s counters when they got on the ball.  John Kennett in goal pulled off one particularly good save to keep them at bay, but otherwise it was a good shift from everyone.

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Pete B turns on a sixpence

The second quarter saw substitutions to ensure that everyone got a game, and there was no real change to the pattern of the match, with chances few and far between as defences dominated and both goalkeepers looked assured. Keeping much the same side for the first half of the third quarter, we hoped to draw the Dambusters’ sting and use our fresher legs to good effect in the final quarter.

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Lloyd fires in a shot

It looked as if we had managed the tactical substitution game perfectly when mid-way through the final quarter Lloyd Fowler finally broke the deadlock with a cross-shot just inside the far post. However Eastleigh simply redoubled their efforts, and eventually a shot was well blocked by John only for the ball to spin up and over him and under the bar.

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You put your left leg in –
James gets in some hokey cokey practice in preparation for hogmanay

Your Many Shades of Grey players for the day were John Kennett, Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, Mick Sidwell, Keith Huet, debutant Phil Hannam, Jeff Pickering, Lloyd Fowler, James McIlwaine, and Pete Brown.
Stew Russell shouted at them a lot. [Didn’t he just – Ed]

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So, with the tie evenly poised at 1-1, we return to Silverlake on New Year’s Day for the “away” leg with everything to play for.