Paul Vanes writes:
Sad to report that former Courier sports editor Doug Hughes has passed away at the age of 76 on July 11th from prostate cancer which began in 2011.
Born in Circencester and like all children of his age, loved football and cricket quickly became a fully qualified referee at the tender age of 14 then hung up his whistle due to the nonstop abuse. He was also a strong swimmer playing for Circencester water polo team.
He sent match reports on Circencester Town to the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard whose editor soon offered Doug a full time job on the basis of these reports in 1966. Ten years later he left for brief sojourns at Stamford and Rugby then found his way to the Leamington Courier where he stayed for 20 years.
Doug covered AP Leamington Football Club through its turbulent times starting on the last day of 1982/83 season when victory against Poole Town saw the Brakes as champions but rumours soon spread that the promotion was to be denied due to a ground grading failure.
That was followed by the news the main board of the parent company had put the ground up for sale and offered it to the football club for the sum of £250,000 knowing the Brakes did not have even 1% of this figure. Local builders A.C. Lloyd bought the land and issued a date for the football to stop.
The hunt was on for a new ground and Doug played his part as he lambasted all three villains because by now Warwick District Council had become involved and some of his writing was of the highest standard. Lloyds did help by putting the deadline date back as Brakes could not find a piece of land for the club’s new home even though the help promised by the Council never materialised.
On 21st May 1988, Graham Allner’s Xl played Jimmy Knox Xl in the final game on the Windmill ground which had been the home of senior football in the Spa town since before the First World War. Many famous names graced this arena over the years and non more famous than George Henry Green aka Daddy (junior), 8 England caps, 3 Football League appearances, 1 FA cup winning medal, 438 games and 10 goals for Sheffield United. Daddy started and ended his career on the Windmill ground.
Doug returned home to Circencester in the year 2004 and I had the pleasure of talking to him on the telephone after Brakes had reached the Southern League again, he was looking forward to seeing Leamington when they were in Gloucestershire. A wonderful man.
The final words must go to Doug commenting about the Poole game in that last programme and I quote “That was the match. One still finds it difficult to believe five years later, that the sick minded persons who triggered the wretched train of events which brings us here this afternoon, should have chosen that day to inflict the first of many wounds which have killed a great club.
Graham Allner’s team was a very good team. A young team with even more exciting potential that it had already displayed for our pleasure. It’s rapid disintegration before that year of ’83 was out, was not a surprise. But it was a tragedy for which Leamington as a town, can never be forgiven”.
Now that Doug has gone upstairs, he can ask famed Scottish commentator Arthur Montfort to translate the outpourings of Jimmy Knox when they were side by side in the dugout. Doug always said he was lucky if he understood one word in five.
The Courier has given Lockheed Leamington, AP Leamington and Leamington Football Club three top notch sports editors over the years, Roger Draper, Simon Steele and Doug Hughes.
The thoughts of all members of the Brakes Trust and everyone connected to Leamington Football Club go to the Family and Friends of Doug at the very sad time.
Rest in Peace Doug.
Former chairman Mick Brady and Brian Knibb represented the club at the funeral which was held today.