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Without doubt Eastern Suburbs greatest striker in our club’s long history was John Wrathall. John was a dedicated and loyal Lilywhite and was referred to as a ‘one club man’.
His well-earned reputation for striking the ball with such ferocity struck fear into many an opposition goalkeeper…particularly when John was given the task of converting a penalty kick.
His many achievements were capped when he became the first player in the world to score 1,000 goals for a club…our club! After retiring from his playing career, he took his family to the UK to pursue his paying career in the then fledgling computer industry. John’s 1,000 goal milestone caused such a stir in the football world, that he was greeted and interviewed by the BBC on this achievement when his plane touched down in Heathrow…but that is for another Friday Flashback story.
So, when John went to the UK to continue his ‘proper job’, he was given the role of Eastern Suburbs talent scout: to search out and contract suitable players to pull on the Lilywhite strip.
Our then club Chairman, Jean Dannenburg, penned the letter outlining John’s talent scouting role and his requirements, which included the following tongue-in-cheek instruction where John is clearly told to disregard all player requirements and considerations should the great Bobby Charlton (now Sir Bobby Charlton of Manchester United fame) express interest in becoming a Lilywhite:
John was a gentleman and a thoroughly ‘decent chap’ both on and off the field. His name can be seen on our honour’s boards, both as a New Zealand representative and as a life member. He was an all-round sportsman, and his name also graces the honours board of the St Heliers Bay Tennis Club as a life member.