We were saddened to learn of the death of our former player, Rodney Ralfe, who passed away peacefully on October 14th aged 77.

A diminutive and tough-tackling full-back, Rod joined the club in the summer of 1969 after spells at Haywards Heath and Eastbourne United and went on to make precisely 100 competitive appearances for the Hornets, scoring 4 goals. A decorator by trade, and keen golfer, he later managed Whitehawk, another of his former sides and is remembered with affection by, among others, former team-mate Dennis Strudwick, who recalls the circumstances under which Rod became saddled with an unlikely nickname.

“We were playing a match at Queen Street when Rodney, who wasn’t very tall, entered into a bit of verbals with an opponent. A few exchanges concluded with an intervention from another opponent who simply said ‘and you can shut up, Arthur Askey’ ” in reference to the popular pint-sized entertainer, famous for his “hello playmates” catchphrase. “Rodney was a very nice fellow but, unfortunately for him, the remark came within earshot of Tex Wiltshire and he was never one to miss an opportunity to poke fun at someone’s expense so, within a few seconds, everyone knew of Rodney’s new name!”

A funeral service will be held at Woodvale Crematorium South Chapel on Wednesday 30th October at 2:30 pm.

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