Supporting role: Hendon fan Derek Beech shares his highlights and low points

Hendon fan Derek Beech

Hendon fan Derek Beech - Credit: Archant

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, Derek Beech reveals his favourite player, the best goal he has seen and his worst memory during his time following Hendon.

FIRST MATCH: An FA Trophy tie at Claremont Road against Slough Town in January 1976. It was an enthralling 2-2 draw and such a great crowd. I met fans who are still there now, like Simon Lawrence and David Ballheimer, and the guy with the bugle – and I have been hooked ever since.

WHY HENDON? My oldest friend Ben had started going earlier in the season and encouraged me to go along. I passed Clitterhouse Park, with Claremont Road at its peak, each day on the walk to and from home in Childs Hill to Whitefields School so it was an easy attraction.

FURTHEST AWAY TRIP: A pre-season friendly at Bridgewater Town in Somerset in August 1980. It was only a round trip of 315 miles but in those days cars didn’t seem as fast as today, and I recall us returning to north-west London in the wee hours after a 2-0 defeat.

FAVOURITE PLAYER: I have had the pleasure of witnessing a number of Hendon legends in action - Rod Haider, Gary Hands and Bobby Childs, to name but a few. However, Alan Campbell stands out for me. There is something about a strong centre-half mixing it in both penalty areas.

FAVOURITE GAME: The play-off semi-final at the end of the 2014-15 season against Metropolitan Police FC, because of the atmosphere and the excitement at the end, knowing we were just a game away from potential promotion to the National League South. It was electric.

BEST GOAL: It has to be Chris Seeby’s lob from about the halfway line last season against Billericay Town, in his first game back after a prolonged absence due to injury.

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HIGHLIGHT: Having got married and then had a child, I didn’t get to see Hendon for many years, although I kept in touch with their performances through the Sunday papers. Then, in September 1995, I was down in Yeovil with work, supporting a trade visit by a Japanese Navy Admiral, I and learnt that the technical publications manager of the company we were visiting was part of the coaching staff of Yeovil Town.

That visit coincided with an Isthmian League Cup tie so, while the company managers wined and dined the Admiral, the project manager and I went to the game. A few Hendon fans had made the long midweek trip and, after Hendon had initially gone a goal behind, I went and joined my friends to see us come back and emerge 3-1 victors – much to the annoyance of my hosts.

WORST MEMORY: The coach journey from hell back from an FA Cup defeat to Waterlooville in 1976. The coach had problems and finally died a death on the A3 in Hindhead. That was ok for the adults as we were outside a pub, but I was left on the coach until the replacement transport arrived.

With that said, the poor refereeing in the 2015 play-off final against Margate ranks as equally bad. Having a man sent off so early for what later proved not to be a dismissible offence ruined the game, and our chances of promotion.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS PHOTOGRAPHED HENDON GAMES? Photography was something handed down to me by my late father. Having got my first camera one Christmas and started lessons on processing at Whitefield School, I started taking my camera with me. Today cameras are more forgiving - you can fire away and deposit 100s of images on the memory card, whereas back then you had 36 images per roll, which were expensive to buy, let alone process.

I trust the fans of Hendon and the readers of your publication appreciate the images of the games I produce and I hope they interest new fans to come along and experience the club for themselves.