THE ARKLEY HERALD (1972-1982)
The Arkley C.C. newsletter, cum insult-fest, the “Arkley Herald” – Angels Sing (yes, pathetic play on words, sad really) first started to sinisterly land on door mats in South Hertfordshire and North London in May 1972. It was an early year leg break that bizarrely got an idea spinning of an Arkley red top to rival the scorching soaraway “Sun” (there are actually more boobs in the Arkley Herald) and do battle with “The Gruaniad” to be kign of the mispront. To be totally truthful it wasn’t actually a cricketing leg break, it was a footballing ankle break and it occurred on 25th March 1972 in Margaret of Thatcher milk snatcher’s Finchley on 25th March 1972. The Easter osteo break was sustained by a would be raving reporter (what a difference an A makes!) from Planet Cricklewood, one appropriately anagramised Brain Wanders or the unscrabbled Brian Andrews. This unlikely lad had previously made just a handful of totally inept performances for Arkley CC but now he was mercifully rendered hors de combat on the greensward all season due to having two inch nails holding the shattered joint in the appropriate place ‘twixt right leg and right foot.
Despite ‘A’ Levels looming at the time our wounded soldier wanted something with more gravitas to get stuck into so the Arkley Herald was conceived and born in very short order. Just to prove the inept performances on the pitch were no fluke the production of a summer weekend newsletter aimed at enhancing the match day experience (yeah, right) turned out to be just as inept. The first (and potentially last) edition for the second game of 1972 (the first was cancelled) was to explain the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why of the 1971 -72 close season – the Who, What, When and Why were fairly easy to explain but the How and Why were a different kettle of rhubarb entirely. Originally produced weekly (some said weakly (there’s that damning rogue A again!) with a print run of, erm, one. That was until playing member “Saint” Peter Tait offered a buckshee photocopy service courtesy of his works photocopier “after hours” (ask no more!) so that everyone could “enjoy” their own copy in the privy at the home, sorry, that of course should read, in the privacy of their own home. Peter didn’t know quite what he had let himself into as the original copy of 4 sides grew like Topsy over the years with some editions running to over a dozen pages – a veritable monument to waste paper! To complete the bespoke service Peter’s children Anne, Sally and Nigel would invariably collate the pages and staple them together ready for the editor to distribute them to an eager(?) public. Occasionally an extra colour supplement was added by the editor after the original pages had gone to the “printer” – this was more of the same total rubbish but printed on a sheet of coloured paper at great expense (4p a copy) to the editor. Some of the early editions were set out on foolscap paper which seems somewhat apposite but set up a few logistical problems when copies were made.
The first edition carried news of the club making a humungous profit of £19-63p at the annual antiques fair or jumble sale as it was more properly called (can’t get a pint and a pickled egg for that now) and that we spent a massive £30-94p on 2 bats, 4 balls, 1 pair of pads and 1 pair of gloves! Can you believe that match fees would set you back 12 new pence per game? (or 2/- 4d in the old money it had recently replaced) and 2p of that was for insurance which cost the club £3 for the whole season. To add insult to injury if you made a duck you had to pay an extra two and a half pence. The pitch at Barnet Playing Fields cost £18-13p for the whole season. The shock horror story of the bulletin was that, during the winter, there had been a suggestion of an amalgamation with two other local clubs, St. Peter and Crosskeys who were struggling for players. This proposal had, quite rightly, been hit for six by a buoyant Arkley who had quite a few youngsters finding their way into the team. The edition closed with a “Meet the Player” profile of new boy Deryck Hand who also played for Barnet CC. This was to try and encourage him to play for Arkley more often but as he only ever made 4 appearances for we maroon caps the article (less than complimentary, it has to be said) was another abject failure as Deryck remained with Barnet and did fairly well with them. Where is Barnet CC now however? – not in as good shape as Arkley CC.
Nobody was safe from the editor’s barbed biro, except the editor himself of course – I may be daft but I’m not stupid! – but efforts by the mercenary editor to secure money for a players’ safe passage through the pages sadly didn’t bear fruit and no filthy lucre changed hands!! All comments were made in jest and for a bit of fun in print. The manuscripts (there’s posh) were thumped out with two fingers on a manual tripewriter which lived up to its’ name churning out tripe by the yard. No word processors, laptops or spellchekkers in those days – quite quintessentially quaint. Titles and headings were applied in Letraset or traced typefaces from the editor’s facilities in the print industry. Some Arkley Herald titles were written out by family or friends of the editor and traced onto the original with the help of a light table at work or a rather Heath Robinson contraption of a sheet of glass, angle poise lamp, hand fashioned blocks of wood and sheet of hardboard at home! Most illustrations were shamelessly traced out of copyright from wherever they were found by the editor but a few were self-penned (the dodgy looking ones). The technology in those days couldn’t really cope with photos apart from black and white ones culled from newspapers (without permission). A great deal of midnight oil was burnt on production (throwing together) of the poisoned pages in a garret room in NW2 with the editor often not getting to bed until the early hours although of course typing (triping) was out after hours when the rest of the household (i.e. normal people) retired for the night. Almost all of the verbiage was written by the editor but occasionally guest writers supplied an article or feature that greatly lifted the standard of reportage.
In 1975 the bulletin migrated from that weakly production during the summer to a monthly issue throughout the year to give the editor a little more thinking, and sleeping time! Then in 1980 it was further downgraded to quarterly. Finally in 1982 there was just one edition (hurray!) to cover the whole golden jubilee year but it wasn’t completed until early 1984! This was the final proper edition of the newsletter which had become a household name, like slop bucket, in the ten years of its existence. It was issue number 135 and it bore the tag line “The newsletter that gets many requests – but still carries on!” but it didn’t this time as the editor began a long distance love affair with, and in, Wales – based in the hamlet of Star, the headquarters of several Arkley tours in the 1970’s and 1980’s. And yet an Arkley Herald of sorts did appear again occasionally, albeit spasmodically. Two page updates appeared in “early” ’88, December ‘88, March ’89 and February ’90 (issue 139) before rigor mortis set in completely and the Arkley Herald Angels sang no more.
…………Unless anybody else wants to orchestrate them again?!
Brian Andrews Star, West Wales June 2015
Arkley Herald Starting Jan 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald Starting March 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald May 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald June 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald Starting July 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald August 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald September 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald October 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald November 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald December 1975.pdf
Arkley Herald Jan 1977.pdf
Arkley Herald March 1977.pdf
Arkley Herald May 1977.pdf
Arkley Herald 1982.pdf