Well, just possibly …….
During the 1960s, John Devaney and Aloysius Bouwmeester were good friends who lived in the city of Elizabeth, just north of Adelaide in South Australia. John hailed originally from Liverpool whilst Aloysius had been born in the Netherlands capital city of The Hague. In 1968 and 1969 one of their favourite pastimes was playing subbuteo table soccer and they were among the founder members of The Charmouth and District Table Soccer League, John as Everton and Aloysius as Leeds United.
In January 1970 Aloysius visited John hoping to play a game of subbuteo, but this proved impossible as all the subbuteo equipment had been packed away in preparation for John’s family’s voyage to England. The two friends found other ways to amuse themselves, and then parted. It was the last time they saw one another – but that is soon to change. On 2nd July, Lou (as Aloysius is now known) will be visiting Lincoln with his wife Sue and staying with John and his wife Laura. So what has all this got to do with a postponed sporting fixture? The answer is simple: at 1pm on Sunday 5th July the Lincoln Flickers Subbuteo Club, of which John is president, will be holding an open competition at The Morning Star pub involving players from various parts of England – plus Perth in Australia, which Lou now calls home. The draw has been carefully arranged so that John and Lou will meet in the first match – forty-five and a half years after their postponed fixture on the other side of the world! If this doesn’t potentially constitute a record for the longest postponed fixture in the history of sport I’d be extremely surprised.
The photo accompanying this message was taken in 1967, and shows John (centre – aged 11) and Aloysius (right side of the picture – aged 12). When they confront one another across the baize on 5th July this year they will be aged respectively 59 and 60, and can be guaranteed to look extremely different than they do in the photo.
It promises to be a memorable and very possibly a highly emotional occasion. Places in the competition are still available.