A man of his time

CLIVE Woods has no regrets that he played in the era when he did, rather than today's multi-million pound football industry.

Nick Garnham

CLIVE Woods has no regrets that he played in the era when he did, rather than today's multi-million pound football industry.

“I think when we played in the 1960s and '70s it was far more enjoyable, especially with the music in the '60s,” he said.

“In those days you knew all the teams and their players. Most teams regularly used the same 12, 13 or 14 players and you could name everyone, unlike today when you have such large squads made up of so many different nationalities.

“I don't have any regrets. Most players would probably say they would prefer to play now because of the rewards. You only need to be a squad player for a few years and you can earn £5million and then retire.

“When I played, if you got a £5 wage rise you were lucky!

Most Read

“Robbo [Bobby Robson] would call you into his office and as soon as you sat down he would stand up and look out on the pitch and say 'wouldn't you love to play on there?' and 'do you know how much you earned last year?' although the figure he then quoted was before tax!

“He would then tell you he was giving you a rise but to zip it and not to speak to anybody else, but of course we all did, especially the local lads, although we were never sure how much of a rise players like David Johnson and Paul Mariner who he signed were getting.”

Woods said during his time at Portman Road several clubs were rumoured to be interested in signing him, most notably Dutch giants Ajax.

“Robbo never told me anything, so I don't know how true it was, although I was told Derby were interested in me when Brian Clough was their manager.”

He eventually left Ipswich in 1980 and joined arch-rivals Norwich - where he was born - for £120,000, playing regularly in his first season under John Bond.

“Ken Brown then took over as manager and for some reason he didn't seem to like me. I was there for two years and then they let me go.”

Woods is one of the few players to have worn both shirts who is still assured of a warm welcome at Portman Road, although it is more than a year ago since his last visit.

He occasionally goes to watch Norwich these days, after finally calling time on a playing career that carried on until he was 49.

He dropped down to play for Anglian Combination Premier Division side Newton Flotman, where he clocked up more than 400 appearances and even had one season as manager when they won the league.

Woods, who also turned out for Wroxham and Watton in midweek, finally finished his career playing for a season at Beccles, where former Ipswich Town goalkeeper Laurie Sivell was manager.

He still watches Beccles, as son Andrew - he also has two daughters Tara and Jaime, who has two children - now plays for the club.

After turning 60 in December, he retired at the end of January after 25 years working as distribution manager for electrical chain Bennetts.

“I enjoyed working there all those years, but not like you would playing football, as I had to get up at a quarter-to-five in the morning!”

Woods, who underwent an operation to remove half his left knee last October, is looking to spend more time playing golf when he is fit again.

He took up the game a couple of years ago and plays at Dunston Hall and Bawburgh Golf Clubs as well as with the ex-Norwich City players golf society.

Woods, who was previously married, still lives in Newton Flotman with Carole, his partner for the past seven years.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter