A chance meeting in Kuala Lumpur reminded
me that I have been meaning to pen an article
about two former Nottsborough players who are making a life for themselves out in Australia, and one in Southampton. When I went out to watch some of the Ashes series in Australia in the winter I arranged to meet Tony Bell (Belly) in Sydney and Rob Chamberlain (Chambo) in Hong Kong on the way home.
An E-Mail last week from Rob Chamberlain reported a random meeting in Kuala Lumpur airport with another old Nottsborough favourite Steve Whitelock (Whitey). Let me allow Steve to describe the meeting. “I bizarrely bumped into Chambo in Kuala Lumpur. My wife and I were heading to Oz and spent a few days in Singapore. We decided to take a day trip to KL and just as I was heading through passport control I heard someone shout "Whitey" across the arrivals hall, and it was Chambo. The weird thing was that I had emailed him two weeks earlier thinking he was in Hong Kong and had asked to meet up with him as we were stopping there on the way home but never heard back! Sadly that was all the time we got as he was in KL for two days and we departed for Oz the following day! On the plus side I did spend some time with Belly in Sydney which was great!”
Steve Whitelock was a real goalscorer for Nottsborough and I remember especially a game against West Wickham at Corkscrew Hill when he dismantled a normally superb defence to record a 4-0 win in a period when even a draw at West Wickham was a result for us. Steve must have been pretty good because he makes my Nottsborough “All Star” team. His best season was the 2003/2004 season when his 36 goals saw us promoted to the SAL Senior Division and reach the AFA Senior Final. He is perhaps more well-known for his quite absurd goal celebrations. Steve now works for Aviva, based in Croydon, although he lives in Southampton with his wife Sarah. Steve has obtained dual nationality as a Swiss and British citizen. He has been coaching a side in the Hampshire Premier League and last season they won the league. Steve has had to pack it in though because of a hip injury to go with the very nasty head injury he suffered whilst playing for Nottsborough when a specialist advised him not to play football again due to a weakened skull fracture.
Chambo played for every one of Nottsborough’s 4 teams. He started in the 1’s when we were in the old Southern Olympian League and he scored 13 goals in our first season in the SAL, contributing to our promotion out of Division 3 at the first attempt. A bit later on Rob developed a passion for Aussie Rules and he became very successful. He balanced this with football for Nottsborough. As the club rose up the SAL Rob was happy to play for whichever team needed him and I think he played in pretty much every position, including starring in goal on a number of occasions. He was good enough to play in goal for the 1’s as well.
Rob works for Astus who have been excellent sponsors of Nottsborough for the past two seasons. Having set up a branch of the firm in Hong Kong, Rob has now left to do the same thing in Singapore. Rob and his partner Karmin got engaged in Queensland recently and the two of them have bought an old wooden Queenslander (1908) near Lake Macdonald, near Noosa on 2.5acres.
Belly has been the guy that all of us have been trying to get to see. Tony lives at Bondi Sydney and he treated my wife and I to a meal out in Sydney when we were out there. Tony works for ninemsn who are Australia’s biggest content website. It is a joint venture between Microsoft and channel 9.... Channel 9 is one of the big commercial stations in Australia. His job title is group sales manager and his role is to manage a group of sales people who sell online advertising to media agencies.... Same job as Grover (Mark Grove) just on a website and not a newspaper. Tony and his partner Jen have a little girl called Ava. Ava had a successful operation 2 weeks ago to remove a tumour in her chest. She still has some more chemo to go, and she isn’t even one yet!
Tony was another of the Nottsborough boys who helped the club blossom within the Southern Amateur League. He played in all three divisions and was another player not afraid to drop down the teams when required. Tony’s top moment for Nottsborough was probably scoring the goal that won us the Surrey Senior Cup in extra time against Old Wokingians in 2003. In the following season, that saw us reach the AFA Senior Final, Tony made 22 appearances for the first team. He was a non-stop all-action player who had a surprising amount of pace out wide or breaking through the middle. As he came towards the end of his playing career he helped Nottsborough 1’s prepare fitness wise, before deciding he was moving to Australia.
The thing about all these three lads is that they all miss playing for Nottsborough. Wherever they are in the world our website is the first one they go for when they switch on their computer.