Forty-eight years ago, Stephen ‘Huby’ Hagon made his football debut in the North East Norfolk League.
Now, nearly half a century on, Stephen has just clocked up his 1000th appearance in the league – at the age of 64.
But Stephen’s amazing longevity in the game doesn’t end there as, in fact, he’s played more than 1,700 games in total due to his added involvement in Sunday veterans’ football.
Stephen, who lived in Aylsham before moving to Oulton Street, was given the VIP treatment and made captain for the day as he turned out for Erpingham Reserves against Hemsby on April 16.
“It was fantastic and quite an emotional day,” said Stephen, who currently plays at full-back. “There were a lot of people watching and it was a beautiful sunny day.”
Father-of-two Stephen was presented with a special commemorative shirt, with the words Huby 1,000 written on the back, and he received an ovation when he was substituted after an hour. Erpingham lost the game 9-2 but Stephen still loves playing the beautiful game whatever the scoreline.
I can’t believe it,” added Stephen, whose nickname comes from his father
“I don’t know where the years have gone. As long as I can run up and down the pitch and don’t make myself look too stupid, I will carry on.
playing against kids whose fathers I used to play against and they turn up and
say ‘Huby, are you still playing?’”
Stephen made his debut in the North East Norfolk League for Marsham on March 9, 1974. He came on as a winger in the game away to Trunch, which Marsham lost 6-0.
As well as Marsham and two spells at current club Erpingham, Stephen has turned out for Aldborough, Corpusty, Aylsham Wanderers’ A, Gimmingham, Happisburgh and Buxton. On Sundays he plays for Erpingham Veterans and Cromer Crab Veterans.
He has a career total of 57 goals and he has been sent off just once.
Stephen, who was a gardener for the National Trust at Blickling Hall for 47 years, added: “I enjoy every game I play. I just love my football and it’s not always the winning that matters – it’s the taking part.”