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Ray Wilkins: Senrab were masters at honing technique

19 Apr 2011 00:26:54

Ray Wilkins: Senrab were masters at honing technique

There are a lot of current and past footballers who have every reason to be saddened by news of problems for Senrab Football Club, the most prolific source of football talent in the London area. I am one of several England internationals who have a lot to thank the club for in our development towards a career. When I was a nine-year-old in Hayes there were not many kids' leagues where you could get a game and it was not until I joined Chelsea at the age of 10 that I learned about Senrab.  Senrab graduate: Ray Wilkins is one of several England internationals to have played for the club I was in a Chelsea catchment with Tommy Langley, John Sparrow, Ray Lewington and Teddy Maybank and we attended Chelsea training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Stamford Bridge. Our chief scout then was a guy called Eddie Heath and he was the man who suggested that all of us join Senrab so we could get some match practice. Though I was already playing for my school and the district, this was a chance to get involved with a local club atmosphere and I found it incredible. We played on Hackney Marshes and Wanstead Flats. I used to go over to Wanstead on a Saturday night and stay with our goalkeeper Johnny Westwood and his parents. What I enjoyed was the way the club focused not so much on winning - though down the years they have won plenty - but on technique. They focused on passing, dribbling and tackling, which I guess is why Eddie wanted us to go there. I can't remember how many sides they ran but I do remember that after we became professionals Chelsea continued using Senrab for teenage development. There are so many of us who owe a debt of gratitude to Senrab but I guess things have changed now, with clubs liking to keep young players under their own wing. I feel sure there is still a place for this kind of club to continue to feed the grassroots and there is still the chance that late developers can come from what has been a rich source of talent.  Save Our Senrab! Some of the biggest names in football plead to save their famous boys' clubDon't blame Rooney! Brooking says lack of respect in football starts at grassroots levelBale and Wilshere feature in PFA Premier League Team of the YearAll the latest Chelsea news, features and opinion  Explore more:Places: London, United Kingdom


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