Working Lives

A Footballer’s Wife at Jarrolds (1950s-1960s)

Location: Norwich

Mary was born in York in 1920. Married to a professional footballer, she moved to Norwich with her husband when he became a coach at Norwich City. Mary joined Jarrolds after previously working for Curls.

My husband was a professional footballer. He went into the army as most men did, the Black Watch. After the war he played in Germany with all the other footballers who had been in the Forces. They beat every country they played against and I’ve got lots of photos. As soon as he was demobbed there was someone knocking at my mother’s front door. They were from Nottingham Forest and they wanted to sign him for £7,500 of which we received £10.

As we hadn’t a house to live in we moved to Nottingham into a brand newly built house with a bathroom, it was lovely, and we stayed there for three years.

During this time I was looking after my two children, I had a boy before my husband went into the forces, and ten years later I had my little girl who was born in Nottingham. My husband never got over the fact that she wasn’t born in Yorkshire. I didn’t work at that time, I didn’t need to as we lived quite comfortably in Nottingham.

Meanwhile another team was after him, West Bromwich Albion and eventually he signed for them for £12,500 of which we received £10. During his time there they went to the Cup final, which they won, I’ve got the whole match recorded, which is lovely, and I play it sometimes.

He was then getting to retirement age and was wondering what he was going to do and then the phone went and it was Norwich City. They were wanting him to move down there as coach, with Ron Ashman. He stayed there with about seven or eight different managers, right up to him finishing, when he was in his forties. I’m afraid that he died about 15 years ago.

We moved here and bought a nice semi bungalow, and that’s when I didn’t feel too good. I didn’t want to keep moving any longer and I had a bit of a setback. My boy was nearly 21 and didn’t want to move, so I had to leave him behind, but he eventually married a nice Midland girl and I have now got three grandchildren and am now a great grandma.

I thought that it’s no good I shall have to get a job to pass the time and I actually worked for Curls. The buyer from there said that I was a good saleswoman and why didn’t I go to Jarrolds with them. She had to give a month’s notice, I had to give two weeks’ notice and they didn’t want me to leave, but that’s how I came to Jarrolds.

Mary (b.1920) talking to WISEArchive on 2nd February 2006.

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