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Ted Hardy - an obituary

By David B4/12/2020 18:44Fri Dec 4 18:44:34 2020

Views: 1570

Hendon fans of a certain age will remember with great fondness the relatively short time Ted Hardy spent as Hendon manager. He joined the club in late 1985 following a disastrous start to the season but things still looked very gloomy on 18 March when we played our 31st match of the Isthmian League season and were beaten 5–0 (it wasn’t that close). We had 20 points and, above us were all 21 teams, including Epsom & Ewell, who had played 23 games and were on 29 points.

What happened in those last 11 games, plus a dramatic Middlesex Senior Cup final v Southall at Enfield (we won 2–0 with an extra-time double from Colin Tate), was the stuff of Hendon legend. We won six and drew five of the last 11 games, including a double over Billericay Town, culminating in a 4–1 victory over Slough Town at Wexham Park. We finished 19th in the table, four points and two places clear of relegation. Ted brought a raft of superb players to the club, including Roger Wade, Tony Gibson, John Knapman and Steve Parsons.

The following season was the longest in Hendon history, in term of games, as we played 75, including a void game with Harrow Borough in the Middlesex Senior Cup quarter-final replay. It was void because Harrow had been incorrectly advised they could select two ineligible players (both signed after the first, drawn, tie). When the match was played again, Harrow raced into a 3–0 lead and missed a penalty. After the break, Colin Tate scored 22 seconds into the period, and we added two more before the hour mark. Then a floodlight pylon went out, school end, Earlsmead side, and referee David Elleray was happy for the match to continue – Ted was less happy, even though we were struggling to fit in games with our fixture congestion. The match went into extra time and we scored 17 seconds into the second period, then added another in the last couple of minutes to seal a 5–3 win.

We also went up to Burton Albion and drew 1–1 in the semi final of the GMAC (General Motors Acceptance, or Premier Inter League) Cup. The semi-final replay ended 3–1 to the Greens, after extra time, and we went on to play and lose to Kettering Town in the final at Rockingham Road. We also lost in the AC Delco (Isthmian League) Cup, 3–2 to Bognor Regis Town at Windsor. We also finished fourth in the Isthmian League, our joint-best finish since 1974.

Ted left Hendon early in the 1987–88 season, his assistant Micky Janes taking over. We finished that season going to Wembley Stadium in the Russell Grant Middlesex Charity Cup, beating Wembley FC 2–0, with goals from Dermot Drummy and Iain Dowie, the latter signed by Ted, and he former re-signed by him.

Hardy was a taskmaster, gruffly expressing opinions without fear or favour. He was something of a “Marmite” character, fans either loved him or hated him and a few Greens fans really didn’t want him at Claremont Road, but those who realised he was what the club needed absolutely adored him. His stories of football kept players and fans enthralled when he held court in the bar after games. His passion, however, shone through, and he extracted the very best out of players. His style may not have been the most expressive of Hendon managers, but the team, filled with experience, more often than not found ways to win.

When the full list of Ted’s honours are shown, his time at Hendon will be little more than an afterthought, but what he did for the Greens will be remembered with great fondness.

Ted Hardy, the oldest man to lead out a team at a Wembley cup final, retired in 1999. I attended his last match, at which the Daggers’ goalkeeper was named man of the match. After the game I spoke to him about retiring and his last game. His words summed him up, “I can’t believe the goalkeeper got the man of the match award, it’s what he is paid to do.” Ted nearly returned to management in December 2007, at Leyton – where it all began for him almost sixty years earlier – but after watching us beat Leyton 11–1, he decided against it, saying “these kids would not listen to me.”

Ted Hardy, 1929–2020, Rest in Peace

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