*** O ***
Just over twenty players whose name starts with the letter O have played for Hayes. A surprisingly large number of them were goalkeepers and very few of them played more than a few games or achieved anything of note. Indeed the first person whom we cover was not a player, but an official.
Jimmy Ogden was a founder member of the club, and a long-serving committee member. He is pictured, standing far right, in the .Committee team for a match against Yiewsley Committee in 1924. He was first elected to the committee in 1922, but resigned in 1931, when the club entered a new era under Mortimer J Miller. He was back again in 1933 after Miller’s resignation, and performed many roles: assistant secretary, reserve team secretary and even team manager. In 1944, when the end of the war was in sight, he was elected Chairman of the committee to prepare for post-war football, and continued in this post for the first season after the war. He was made a Life Member in recognition of his services to the club, and was considered the club historian - whenever a matter of club history was enquired upon, his word would settle the issue. A Hayes man through and through, he lived in Blyth Road and worked at EMI. He died in October 1952, aged 64.
Paul O’Reilly, who was born in 1962, was signed from St Albans City in September 1991 as a replacement in goal for Paul Hyde. He was born at Watford and had previously played for Dunstable Town and London Colney. He played just over a season for Hayes, before joining Aylesbury United in January 1993. But he was back on loan in December of the same year, when Ian Chatfield was injured. Altogether he made 48 appearances for Hayes. A carpenter by trade, he was also a disc jockey for Radio Chiltern. Later he played for Chesham United and was that Club’s manager in 1996-7.
Gerry O’Rourke, a Scot, joined Hayes in the summer of 1962 at the age of 20 from Windsor & Eton, where he was stationed in the Scots Guards. He was a clever ball-player, fast off the mark, with a lethal left foot shot. He had already won honours in the Berks & Bucks side and was selected for Middlesex with Hayes. He played only one season for Hayes, scoring 20 goals, before moving to Hendon in the summer of 1963, where he increased his chances of a Scottish cap. In one of his first games for Hendon he scored four goals in a 10-1 defeat of Dulwich Hamlet. From there he joined Wimbledon and turned professional with them in July 1964 in the Southern League, playing against Hayes in the Premier Midweek Floodlight League in November 1966. In 1973-4 he played for Dulwich, and then Southall in 1975-6. Also captained Staines at some time.
When you study events in the past, sometimes things just don’t add up. A case in point is Gordon Osborne. A winger, who had come through from the ‘A’ team with Jimmy Bloomfield, Jerry Underwood and Robin Long, he played rarely for Hayes first team between 1952 and 1956, mainly being in the reserves and suffering from cartilage problems, which necessitated an operation in 1955. In fact, he made only 24 appearances, and yet he scored seven goals. Whenever he was selected, he seems to have played a storming game. He resigned from Hayes in October 1955 in frustration, and joined Southall. Then he moved to Hounslow Town in February 1957, scoring a hat-trick in one of his first games against Hitchin Town. He found himself in the Kingstonian team which reached the Amateur Cup final in 1960, but he missed the game with a broken ankle. There was talk of Gordon, who lived and worked in Hayes, rejoining the club in September 1960 at the age of 25, but coach George Wilkins was pursuing a youth policy and preferred 18 year-old Phil Amato. Ted Rose, the Sports Editor of the Hayes Gazette ran a campaign to get him into the team, but without success. A year later, with Don Kilby in place of Wilkins, Gordon did play for Hayes, but only in the reserves.
The last entry is John Overton, a goalkeeper, who lived at Heston and worked on the technical staff of Ealing Council. He had started with Brentford and was about to sign professional terms when the club launched an economy drive, so he joined Wimbledon, and then played for Kingstonian and Dulwich Hamlet. He signed for Hayes in December 1969, but found himself in the reserves, behind Cliff Langley. He gained a regular place at the start of the 1970-1 season and kept it until the arrival of Ian Bath in September 1972. After just two and a half seasons, he was Hayes’ longest-serving player, and had been picked for the Athenian League representative side. He made a total of 95 appearances for Hayes before joining Kingstonian. In August 1974 he moved on to Sutton United, when Ian Bath joined Kingstonian. He played for Woking against Hayes in March 1977, and for Kingstonian again in October 1977. He joined Hillingdon Borough in August 1979 and played against Hayes in March 1981.
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