Last year I was going to do a post and I just never got to it. I’ve lost what I had written but it’s the one year anniversary of the passing of Jack Rawlings, or as he was known to JE and me, Grandad. To others he was Dad (or sometimes just “silly bugger”).
He was, by all accounts, a very good footballer when he was young and this was proven by him playing for Great Britain at the ’48 Olympics. He also had hair, apparently. I obviously inherited all that great footballing talent but due to a lack of ambition and lack of practice I just didn’t play anywhere near as well as I probably could have if I had tried (or something like that).
I often think of him whenever I watch Arsenal play – I imagine he would think Ozil is soft, that Danny Welbeck is no Charlie George… and Arsene Wenger, while a great manager, is certainly no Matt Busby. I’m pretty sure he would have had a lot to say about the crazy money being sprayed around the Premier League now and comment on how much DiStefano would have fetched on the current day market (he was better than Neymar!).
His footballing career was curtailed by the war but I also read it was cut short by something else: “At Hayes he had little to show for his greatness – one further cap, before he spoke his mind and was ignored ever more”. That trait? That I may have inherited as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure due to a lack of ambition and a lot of practice I’m about as good as I could be at that.
I always hate it when people show pictures of someone that died as they were in their younger days. I didn’t know my Grandad when he was 25, I only knew him when he was older and married and with adult children (obviously). So that man that played for GBR? I obviously didn’t know who he was only who he would become. The picture shown above is almost 70 years old, so here’s a more recent one which was taken as part of the “memories of 1948” site that was put together for the London games in 2012.
My grandmother used to say that when you died you would fly around the stars – I would like to think that he’s be up there having a kick-around.