Graham Hodson

The best phone call I ever made was to Graham Hodson.

It was in April 2013. I called him to buy a copy of the History of Bilston FC because I wanted to read it.

And what followed was a two and a half year journey that saw us work together to make it happen.

I had no idea what an impact Graham would have on me when I made that call. But his inspiration and enthusiasm was incredible.

I’d been writing for over fifteen years when I first heard the words, “Don’t listen to any discouraging shite from the likes of anyone!” And those few words inspired the journey that culminated with a book that is now the History of Bilston Town FC.

As someone who had been trying to write something, anything, for an age… to hear those words was inspiration to an ear that had heard it all before and was close to walking away from writing.

Graham was always the greatest of hosts, he always pointed me in fruitful directions and he played a huge part in the success and eventual publication of that book.

He was always magnanimous and encouraging and knew just the right guy at just the right time to point me in the right direction.

He was a Black Country bloke that cared about the town. He gave football to working class youth; his devotion took him to Wembley where he was a winner and to Buckingham Palace where our Royalty had the good fortune of spending a moment in his presence. He even brought Royal Appointment upon his beloved Bilston Town Community FC! He demanded none of it and yet achieved it all. His efforts were worthy and it just happened because, Graham was Graham.

He truly was unique.

Bilston Town FC has lost its greatest champion.

The world has lost a charisma.

Graham’s family has lost more than all of us in the football world, a husband and a father and I send them my love and best wishes at this time.

We are all better off for having had Graham in our lives.

Rest in Peace Graham.

We’ll all miss you.

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Bilston Town FC – By Royal Appointment!

“It is with the greatest of pleasures, and immense pride, that today we can reveal that the club – Bilston Town FC – are official recipients of The Queen’s Award for Volunteering Excellence, which, in a nutshell, is the equivalent of Bilston Town FC receiving an MBE!

How fantastic is that?!

Around 30,000 nominations are received by the selection panel annually but only a very few even get through to the scrutiny panel.

In October last year the Queen’s Deputy Lieutenant visited us at Queen Street and, following checks with the police, council and other organisations, was impressed with all he saw and heard and informed us that he would be strongly endorsing our application as we were exactly what this award was about.

It’s not awarded for our work with the Community or our work with the youngsters, nor for our progress on and off the pitch, it’s awarded for excellence in all we do and everyone, players, staff, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and ‘friends’ as well as everyone that comes through our gates has contributed to making the Club what it is – a template for how a football club should be run and operate – and contributed to our successful application so all of us should share in the pride we feel today.

It means the Club can include the Queen’s logo on all our stationary and media channels and that, more than any words, indicates the quality of the football club – it literally is a ‘by Royal Appointment’ Club!

In the near future the Queen’s Deputy Lieutenant will revisit Queen Street bringing with him the certificate and commemorative crystal bowl to mark the award and we shall then arrange a small celebratory evening at the Club, where staff, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and ‘friends’ of Bilston Town’ can join together in celebrating this unique, very special honour.

Supporting Bilston Town has always been something to be proud of and, hopefully, after the news today that pride has swelled still further, because I can’t think of a bigger honour or endorsement that a football club could receive.

Bilston Town is the football club with a Royal seal of approval and everyone should share in that pride because every one of us contributes to make this club what it is – so well done, all of you.

Bilston Town – By Royal Appointment (Sounds good doesn’t it?!)

Last Tuesday Graham and Denise attended the Buckingham Palace Garden Party to acknowledge this award and a few photographs of the occasion will follow.

We’m Bilston Aye We – By Royal Appointment!!”

Taken from the Bilston Town Community Facebook page, (C) Bilston Town Community FC

 

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2016-17

Another season on the record. Breaks down briefly as:

Bilston Town FC 2016-17 team photo (C) 353photography

.             P          W        D         L          F          A         Pts

Home   19        6          0          13        35        47        18

Away    19        6          7          6          38        43        25

Total     38        12        7          19        73        90        43

 

Biggest win – Dudley Town 1-7 Bilston Town Community

Biggest Defeat – Haughmond 9-0 Bilston Town Community

Top League Scorer – Daniel Elwell, 13 Goals

Most League Appearances – Matthew Barnett – 36

Notable: Bilston Town 3-1 Port Vale (Staffordshire Senior Cup)

 

Here’s to a successful 2017-18.

 

#prayforaugust

 

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Dudley Town 1-7 Bilston Town

18/02/17 15:00 Dudley Town 1-7 Bilston Town Community

They say that it’s not a defeat that matters but how a team reacts to that defeat and, after the mauling received last week, the Steelmen showed real character to rout a bewildered Dudley side.

The hosts were simply worn down to the point of submission by the determined Bilston lads, urged on by the tremendous Orange Army.

A bright start was rewarded after fifteen minutes with a slick move putting Roland in on goal only to see him brought down before he could pull the trigger but, despite a bit of gamesmanship by the Dudley ‘keeper, Roland gave him no chance with the penalty.

That lead though, lasted just a minute, as Dudley applied a good finish to a right side move to level the scores and the next ten minutes saw Dudley have their best spell of the game, though they couldn’t add to that solitary goal.

On half hour, Jayden swung in a right wing corner, Todd got a flick to it and Luke was at the far post to slam the ball home to restore our lead and, just three minutes later, Aaron Hughes extended that lead hitting a screaming shot from 25 yards that crashed back off the bar, struck the keeper (who was still diving for the original shot) and nestled into the net – would be harsh to deny Aaron the goal after a shot like that (Eddie take note!)

The second half really was one-way traffic.

With confidence high, the lads really put some lovely football together and Roland got the killer fourth goal just before the hour mark and any semblance of resistance from Dudley faded from there on in.

‘Bully’ capped a great individual performance by going past his full back, cutting inside to beat another defender, then ‘megsing’ the keeper to make it five.

Jayden netted the sixth and Roland completed his hat trick in stoppage time.

A great response to our heaviest defeat of the season was to go out and secure our biggest win of the season which rewarded the traveling Orange Army who, again, turned out in numbers to cheer the lads on.

We actually have a home game next week, against Bridgnorth, hope to see you there.

Well done Scott and the lads – yet again, a pleasure to watch.

Article taken from Bilston Town’s official Facebook account. (C) Bilston Town Community

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West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division Team of January.

bilston-town-fc-team-of-the-month-january-2017-wmrl-fa

Taken from Bilston Town’s official Facebook account. (C) Bilston Town Community

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February 21, 2017 · 7:02 pm

Stone Old Alleynians 2-2 Bilston Town

04/02/17 15:00 Stone Old Alleynians 2-2 Bilston Town Community

Another great away day display from The Steelmen where their determination and attitude saw them comeback from a harsh 0-2 scoreline to deservedly take a point in what was a great game of football to watch.

Stone are a big, well organised side and we played some good football to edge the first half but just couldn’t capitalise on the chances we had.

Lewis twice had opportunities to take us into the half time break in the lead, firstly charging down an attempted clearance from their keeper and heading the loose ball just wide, then, just before the break, a slick move saw him break free of his marker and with the keeper committed, Lewis lifted the ball over the keeper but wide of the post.

At that point it was an enthralling game to watch but too close a contest to actually enjoy watching – if that makes sense!!

Five minutes after the restart and the deadlock was broken, in Stones favour, when a deep corner was met with a looping header that lofted over everyone but under the bar.

Harsh, as we were playing as good a game as we have all season, but this is the ‘new’ Bilston, Steelmen with a capital ‘S’, and we raised the tempo still further so it was gutting that, just on the hour, despite all play being around the Stone goal, a long clearance from their keeper was headed on and then buried by their striker to double the lead – cruel in the extreme.

But, as already stated, this is the new Bilston and we simply upped the game again.

Scott threw caution to the wind, bringing on Jayden, Taimoor and new signing ‘Bully’ and, urged on by the fantastic travelling Orange Army, we went for the throat and, with fifteen minutes left, slick passing down the left saw a low cross met by Roland to halve the deficit – game on!

With Stone wasting time at every opportunity the referee made it clear at ninety minutes he would be playing over six minutes stoppage time.

Four of those minutes had lapsed when Matty, Roland and Bully linked up on the left with another low cross being hammered home by Taimoor to complete the comeback and earn a much deserved point with a great display of both ability and determination – proper Steelmen stuff!!

Most of the Orange Army hung around to applaud the lads rom the pitch after their warm down – a great show of unity all round.

A nice easy game next week, away to League leaders, Haughmond, see you there!

Article taken from Bilston Town’s official Facebook account. (C) Bilston Town Community

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Bilston Town 2-1 Dudley Town

28/01/17 15:00 Bilston Town Community 2-1 Dudley Town

A game that was more a functional performance than the flamboyancy we’ve seen in the previous couple of games but, despite the lack of tempo or urgency we’ve become accustomed to, The Steelmen dominated the entire game – save the last five minutes – without ever needing to get out of second gear.

Perhaps that comfort zone was more damaging than it was good, as the cutting edge appeared somewhat blunt with a number of quality passages of play just lacking that ruthless finishing toucH.

Matty, Taimoor and Lewis were a constant threat with Mohammed and Ross dictating in the middle of the park and, on numerous occasions, terrific interplay deserved a better finish.

It took thirty minutes before the deadlock was broken with Matty and Jake working well down the right side before Lewis stole a yard on his maker to slip the cross past the despairing keeper.

The second half was much of the same and, on the hour, it appeared the game was put to bed when Ross calmly stroked home from the penalty spot to double the lead.

Several chances were created after that but not taken and, when Dudley halved the deficit with five minutes remaining, converting a pinball situation in our box, it created a nervous last give minutes as Dudley suddenly sensed there was a point available.

We had to dig in and hold on to maintain the three points though, in truth, if only half our chances had been converted we would have won with ease.

Another three points, ten from a possible twelve now, some good football played in parts but it just highlights that the harder we work, the better we are.

On to Stone next week now – see you there!

Article taken from Bilston Town’s official Facebook account. (C) Bilston Town Community

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