THE name of Alick Jeffrey will always be an emotive one for Doncaster Rovers followers and a name inextricably linked with that club.
There has never emerged from within their own ranks a more talented young player than him. The young Alick was a footballing prodigy who happened to be bigger than your average schoolboy but immensely more gifted as well.
Hence his debut for Rovers while still a 15-year-old schoolboy.
It is more than half a century since he burst onto the scene, quite clearly a special talent.
This week, a rare and precious piece of international memorabilia from those long gone days came up for auction just to serve as a present-day reminder of the Alick Jeffrey talent.
On the Wednesday night this week that a 17-year-old (Raheem Sterling) made his debut for England, this was a reminder of when a precociously-talented 17-year-old Alick Jeffrey was selected for the England Under 23 side back in 1956 - and they didn’t pick lads of that age then for that team, and certainly not if you were outside one of the fashionable footballing centres.
One of Alick’s two Under 23 caps was put up for auction to help raise money at the Luey Jacob Sharp dinner at the Keepmoat Stadium - the money raised going towards the LJS Foundation set up by former Rovers favourite Billy Sharp in the aftermath of his baby son’s tragic death.
The cap belonged to Rovers chairman John Ryan, a huge fan of Alick’s. Rather than occupying space in his house any more, he felt raising some money for a great cause would be more beneficial.
“A rare opportunity to have ownership of one of the most valuable pieces of memorabilia in Doncaster Rovers history,” said John.
So, why only the two appearances?
Well, on his second appearance, at 17yrs 9months, in October 1956, Alick suffered a badly broken leg against France at Ashton Gate.
The break was such a bad one, and medical care not being what it is today, he had to retire the following year. Six years later, however, having played non-league and lived in Australia, he returned to play over 200 games for Rovers across six years to 1969.
His tally of 139 goals for Rovers was at an average, as near as makes no difference, of one every two games.
Alick’s return north from Bristol, with his leg encased in a full length ‘pot’, was by train.
I recall a former colleague of mine telling me that when it arrived at Rotherham station, they actually took out the train carriage window so that Alick could be removed on the stretcher.
It would have been some months later as a very young kid, that I had my first siting of this local hero in Rawmarsh (where he lived).
Playing on some spare land (yes, at football), I can vividly recall seeing this man, on crutches, walking along the road at the top. It was Alick Jeffrey.
Oh, and that cap.
It went the other night for £1,300.
THE other day FIFA released their latest world rankings of the top 10 footballing countries.
Have a go, ask a mate, if they can name the ten.
I will wager that everybody will pick Brazil. Except, believe it or not, they weren’t in the top ten listed!
The list: Spain, Germany, Argentine, Portugal, Italy, England, Holland, Colombia, Russia, Croatia.
Yes. No Brazil!