A VETERAN footballer is hoping to rekindle memories of his heyday by setting up a reunion.
But this will be much more than a get-together over a drink - it will be a whole new ball game for some Seventies strugglers who managed to turn their fortunes around with a little help from the Weekly News.
Jeff Meehan wants to get his old team-mates from Thorium FC to don their shooting boots again.
'I am very fortunate to still be playing,' said Jeff, 59, of Runcorn.
'But it is practically exclusively the five-a-side or six-a-side league in the Manchester JJB Soccerdome.
'I have been issued with a challenge from one of the rival teams.
'And although it will be a very friendly game, they do not believe that they could be beaten by a team whose cumulative age will be somewhere around 300 years.'
Thorium is the former name for the company in West Bank now known as Rare Earth Products.
'There is actually a direct link from the Weekly News to the Thorium team,' said Jeff, a retired Daresbury Laboratory worker.
'About 38 years ago, they had enough workers to form a works side in the Widnes Alliance League. They went for two whole seasons without even a draw.
'There was a good team spirit but without results, they were finding it difficult to keep players and were, in fact, facing the possibility of having to give up.'
Jeff explained: 'As a last resort, they set out the problems to the Weekly News and an article appeared on the team, together with a plea for any players who might be interested to join them.
'I had previously been playing in the Warrington League but had not played for about three seasons, mainly due to the difficulties of getting to away fixtures.
'I saw the Thorium article and decided that I would like to restart playing. So I turned up for training as requested.
'What followed was the best three seasons of football enjoyment I have ever had.'
The running of the team was taken over by Bill Worth, who Jeff believes to still live in Widnes.
'The transformation was not spectacular but it was certainly a steady improvement,' said Jeff.
'Our first draw was as well-celebrated as other teams' cup finals and when we actually won, the feeling in the team was indescribable.
'We finished the season at the bottom of the league but were still keen to carry on and justified this enthusiasm by finishing mid-table in the next year.
'The success of the team attracted better players.
'They were too good to leave out but they did not want to train with us or socialise afterwards and I felt the ethos of the team was lost.' If you are a former Thorium player and want to get in touch, call Jeff on (01928) 581171 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.