IT was 65 years ago that a 17-year-old schoolboy made his debut at senior level before going on to become Warrington’s most famous footballer, writes Garry Clarke.

Destined to be a World Cup winner with England, Roger Hunt donned the colours of Stockton Heath FC (now Warrington Town) for the first time during their Mid Cheshire League encounter with Linotype on November 17, 1955.

It was not the most auspices of starts to a career which would bring many honours, including the ultimate prize in 1966.

Warrington Guardian:

Roger Hunt, back in 2005

Fifth in the table, Stockton Heath crashed to a 4-1 home defeat against league leaders Linotype in what the Warrington Guardian described as “the worst display of the season” although the article did report “one of two debutants in the Heath team, left winger Hunt had a good game”.

Born in nearby Golborne, on July 20, 1938, he grew up in Culcheth and attended the village junior school where as a 10-year-old boy he played his first organised games of football showing promise as a striker who could be relied upon to score a goal or two.

He moved on to Culcheth County Secondary School before gaining a place at Leigh Grammar School where association football was the preferred game rather than rugby union, which was then favoured by many grammar schools even in rugby league areas.

Hunt soon established himself as a young player of note in both the Leigh and Warrington areas and after his Saturday morning school games was much in demand in the local surrounding areas of Culcheth, Croft and Glazebury.

He explained he was attracted to the area’s biggest club, Stockton Heath, saying “They were asking if people wanted to go down for a trial, I knew they had a few Boteler Grammar lads, and I had played against them for Leigh Grammar, and we always lost,”

Stockton Heath’s manager at the time Freddie Worrall, the pre-war England international, in an interview with the Liverpool Echo in 1972 recalled his first sighting of the young Hunt: “I first saw Roger at one of our Sunday morning training sessions, he was stood on his own on the sideline completely absorbed in what we were doing.

“He intrigued me so much I sent a high ball over to where he was standing. He ducked under the barrier, trapped the ball and kicked it back.

“I went over to him and asked where you are from, Culcheth was the reply, I asked who he played for, and he answered Croft. I said it’s a fair way to come and watch us train, he said well I’d like to sign for you. And he did.

“He hadn’t been with us very long before he brought a teammate from Croft to join us, his name was Johnny Green a boy of great ability who later played for Blackpool in the First Division.

“The following week he brought another friend, I asked where he’d like to play, he said centre forward. I can’t say I was very impressed with his game. The following week he didn’t show up, so I asked Roger why and he said his mate had signed for Liverpool.

“Liverpool, I exclaimed, I didn’t think they were that hard up for a centre forward. Oh he doesn’t play centre forward Roger explained he is a goalie.”

The player in question was future Scotland international Tommy Lawrence who went on to play 390 games for Liverpool, the majority alongside his mate from Culcheth.

Part 2 coming soon