Sing When You're Winning: famous football fans reveal their allegiances
You would expect a Londoner who has worked with some of the finest comic talents in history to be more at home in the rarefied surroundings of Stamford Bridge or The Emirates, but when Saturday afternoon rolls around it’s the leafy Beveree Stadium in Hampton that’s Alan Simpson’s chosen stage.
Hampton and Richmond Borough’s president who, alongside his writing partner Ray Galton, created such classics as Steptoe and Son and Hancock’s Half Hour, first arrived in this leafy spot on the banks of the Thames in the autumn of 1967, and after a pint and a sausage has never gone anywhere else for his football fix.
"I’d been working one Saturday morning and left too late to get to either Brentford or Fulham (his first loves) so I picked up a paper and found that Hampton were at home in the Middlesex Senior League,” Simpson tells FourFourTwo.
“I turned up and had to ask 10 people where the ground was because no-one seemed to know.” and although the football might not have been as memorable as the classics he produced over a TV career spanning more than half a century, the handing over of a fiver towards the club’s floodlights fund transformed his football-supporting career. “I gave them the money and my address and didn’t think anything else of it,” he says.
Luckily Hampton took note of their high-profile benefactor and, after tracking Simpson down in Hollywood, asked him to take on the role of president two years later. “I thought I would turn up once a year and hand out prizes at the AGM,” Simpson says. “But after meeting the committee I travelled to an away game and have hardly missed a match since.’
One of Simpson’s first contributions off the field, after his initial donation, was to shell out £861 for a new terrace and the club’s ground – which recently received the grading required to enter the Blue Square Premier – now features a stand bearing his name.
So does Alan Devonshire’s current side, flying high in the Conference South and probably more in tune with the club’s other famous comedic fan, Paul Merton, know all about their president’s past?
“I reckon they do,” chuckles Simpson. “If they don’t then I soon tell them."
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