Tributes have been paid after the recent passing of a former Bovingdon pub landlord and professional footballer.
Martin Patching will be best known for his time with Wolverhampton Wanderers and later Watford FC, where he played from 1979 to 1983.
After his stint playing in the Hornets’ yellow, Martin dropped down to non-league football, while also taking up his post at The Bull Public House at the bottom of Chipperfield Road, Bovingdon, in the late 1980s.
Local resident Andrew Smith recalls his first-ever job working for Martin at the pub.
Andrew said: “I started working weekends for Martin, not sure if I was 14 or 15 years of age when I started.
“Empty bins, clean his car, sugar soaped nicotine covered walls, fed the dogs… whatever Martin told me to do, I done it!
“When I was 15, I was telling Martin that I was getting fed up with school, so we had a good chat and he said don’t get in trouble with school and definitely don’t upset your parents!
“Martin was a top bloke; he always looked out for me. He trusted me fully (I had to keep a few secrets!). We had a lot of laughs, and I done a lot of growing up in that period. Thank you, Martin.”
Watford FC hero and teammate Luther Blissett OBE told a story of how Martin’s research into his former team Wolves helped them when the two teams met in an FA Cup fifth round match.
He said: “Patch was confident we could use his inside knowledge to beat them. We found out we were 8/1 to win so he put a bet on for us – it was in the days footballers could bet.
“Patch’s advice was clearly spot on as we beat them 3-0, and he’d got us £40 winnings each. Trust me, that was a big deal and £10 more than our win bonus. Rest in peace, Martin.”
Photo credit: Watford FC