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Richard Croyden: Tributes to a Wokingham football stalwart

Mark Ashwell has shared tributes from the club with Football in Berkshire

Richard Croyden: Tributes to a Wokingham football stalwart

Last week Football in Berkshire heard the sad news that stalwart Wokingham & Emmbrook supporter Richard Croyden had sadly passed away.

We asked the Sumas Club President Mark Ashwell – pictured above with Richard – if he would like to write a few words in tribute. Mark of course went a step further and has gathered the thoughts of some of Richard’s friends and family which he has kindly sent to us to publish.

Rest in peace Richard from all of us at FiB. If you would like to read Dave Wright’s tribute to Richard, it’s here on the Bracknell News website.

Richard’s daughter Nikki:

The game that got him hooked was the quarter finals of the FA Amateur Cup in 1957/58 against Crook Town (they lost 3-2). It was an away game and having not had much interest in going with his dad before (who started supporting them in the 40’s I think!) travelled to Crook Town with his dad and his younger brother and from then onwards became a lifelong fan!

My brother said he has fond memories of travelling up to Gateshead (which I think is the furthest away opponent they may have had) on the coach with my dad who although running a shop (firstly his Wokingham greengrocers and then his pet shop Wokingham Pets) he made sure he always had sufficient staff in on a Saturday afternoon so that he wouldn’t miss a game!

Along with the “famous” Cardiff match in 1983 my brother said another highlight would have been the Semi Final match in The FA Trophy against Telford United in 1987/88.

He was a committee member for many years and then director (up until the end of Wokingham Town FC I think). He also used to run the tote at Whippets on a Friday night and the gate at home matches and got myself and my brother involved from a young age with the club where we both were volunteered to help the running of the programme shop (my brother) and helping in the tea bar (both my brother and I).

We also both have our Dad to thank for his role in the football club enabling both my brother and I to meet and form the best friends that we have to this day

Richard’s friend and fellow Wokingham supporter Allan Williams:

His first game was the home game at Finchampstead Road vs West Auckland in The FA Amateur Cup in 1957) the game prior to Crook away.

This was won by Wokingham 4-2, but it was forced to be replayed due to Wokingham Town fielding an ineligible player (Ray Hancock). Wokingham won the subsequent game 3-2. This led to The Quarter final against Crook Town a 5-hour coach trip to Durham.

Wokingham Town in the 57/58 FA Amateur Cup. Credit: fchd.info

He attended the floodlight launching at Finchampstead Road in the 60’s and the floodlight launching at Lowther Road in June 2019 (where he performed the first switching on).

He has supported Wokingham Town FC and Wokingham & Emmbrook FC for over 60 years home and away. Visiting Stafford, Macclesfield, Boston, Gateshead amongst hundreds more. Highlights being the FA Cup replay at Cardiff in 1983 followed by the FA Trophy Semi Final at Telford.

He supported all teams and never forgot our reserve side playing West Ham United with Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand playing for the opposition.

He was three years as Vice Chairman and has followed all games since losing the Finchampstead Road ground in 1999. Playing at ‘home’ in Windsor, Flackwell Heath, Egham, Bracknell and Henley. He was immensely proud of returning to Wokingham as Wokingham & Emmbrook FC in 2004 and has followed the side home & away for the past 16 years

Club President Mark Ashwell:    

I really got to know Richard from 1995 onwards as my company TradeMark Windows sponsored Wokingham Town FC. His business Wokingham Pets had been a previous sponsor in a season where we were known as The Pet Shop Boys – Richard is our original Pet Shop Boy!

We would see Richard at nearly every game home and away for the next 25 years during which time we lost our home at Finchampstead Road, Wokingham. We ground shared for 5 years and reformed as Wokingham and Emmbrook FC in 2004. During this time and the subsequent 16 years his support has never faded. Richard was a lifelong Suma, and he will always be behind the opposition goal ‘sucking one in’ for his beloved Wokingham FC.

We will miss you Richard RIP      

SUMAS!

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of Football in Berkshire. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Reach PLC. Former manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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