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Quorn's 'Mr Football' eats, sleeps, thinks soccer

Loughborough Monitor - 27th November 1959

Quorn's "Mr Football", 39 year old Len Sutton of 8 Peel Street, Loughborough, who, in his own words "eats, sleeps and thinks football", is featured in this week's Sportrait.

Len, the former Leicester City player, first played for Quorn in a Sunday League game, at the age of 12 and has since completed 24 seasons with the club. He is now team manager and despite his suffering from a knee injury nearly 20 years ago, he trains twice a week and turns out when needed. Many a youngster is unable to keep up with Len at training sessions.

Len signed amateur forms for Leicester City in 1943 and the following season gained a place in the reserve side. Then came his debut in League football which he will always remember for Chelsea beat City 7-1 and the famous "Ten-Goal" Payne played havoc with Leicester's defence. He played regularly for the reserves for three seasons and in 1946 refused offers to turn professional for Torquay. In the same season he was offered trials by Fulham and Derby County but his love of the amateur game prevailed and he refused them. Always refusing "extra-expenses", Len has strong convictions on amateurism:

"I am a true amateur, not like some of the sham-amateurs in the game today. Too many present day footballers think of what they can get out of football instead of what they can put into it" he said.

Len's father played in the now defunct Quorn Havelock side and although there was no football at his school, Len was determined to follow in his father's footsteps. Marathon sessions on Quorn recreation ground helped to improve his play.

Leicestershire Senior League football was taken very seriously 20 years ago, says Len and he feels indebted to Eric Kent, the former Quorn right-half who 'fathered' him in his early days in the senior side.

Len's proudest moment in football was in the Leicestershire Senior Cup final of 1939 when, the youngest player on the field, he scored Quorn's winning goal against Leicester City Reserves at Filbert Street.

Last season Len faced a big decision, should he retire to make way for youngsters in the side? And, if so, should he continue to coach the younger players on Quorn's books or turn to refereeing? He took a referee's examination and passed with 99 per cent, but, because he felt his experience could best be used to help youngsters better their play, he agreed to become team manager. His help and advice is appreciated at Quorn and officials of the Loughborough Alliance League recognised his managerial capabilities by appointing him manager of their representative side.

Their confidence was not misplaced because, since Len took over, they have only lost one match. What makes a good footballer? Physical fitness, natural ability and plenty of practice, says Len, who has more than 50 trophies by which to remember his own distinguished career. On reflection he feels all his efforts have been worthwhile.

"I have lived for football all my life and my wife Edna has been an inspiration to me", he said.


   
 Submitted on: 2012-01-02
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1505
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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