Sent home for wearing bright yellow socks at school may have brought 'shame' on my family but it raised my 'street cred' no end / Dave Thomas column

It’s gone now, demolished and invisible. Years of tradition, mortar boards and gowns, little green caps perched on our heads, the walk down to Tod Park in all weathers for football. Happy years for me from ’56 to ’63.

By Dave Thomas
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 5:13 pm

Somehow our 'Bash Street' class at Todmorden Grammar School, labelled by teachers as the worst and most unruly the school had ever seen, scraped together enough results to become headteachers, physicists, chemists, bankers, and musicians.

We had names like Fat Stan, Winny, Podge, Sugar, Spon, Jammy and Dicken and made merciless fun of the headmaster we named ‘Crun.’

Those years at Tod Grammar School were happy ones; at Christmas parties you had to choose a girl partner to escort to the dining rooms for supper. To make sure you got an attractive partner you usually asked around July.

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Dave Thomas recalls fondly his days at Todmorden Grammar School and the time he was sent home by the headmaster...for wearing yellow socks to school!

If there was one subject that I failed it was woodwork. Yes, there was a woodwork room filled with sharp tools, chisels, blades, saws and stuff. Health and Safety would have a beano today.

One of the first exercises was to plane a rough piece of wood dead smooth and level. I tried and tried until there was no wood left at all. It was then I realised that I would never be a joiner.

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On the day I wore bright yellow socks, I was hauled before headmaster Crun for chastisement.

“This is not the California State High School,” he announced and sent me home. My unsmiling father announced that I had brought shame on the family.

My 'street cred' at school was raised sky high however.

Apart from that, these were untroubled days and the great thing was, they coincided with Burnley FC’s greatest years and European triumphs.

We played for the school team on a Saturday morning and, as I was team secretary, it fell on me to write the match report in the log book. These books naturally reported that I was brilliant in every game. If I scored a tap-in from two yards out, it somehow became a mighty shot from 25 yards.

For some reason, one morning, we had to congregate in the Domestic Science lab and we had newspapers telling us how Burnley had disposed of Reims in the European Cup the night before, losing the game in Paris, but a John Connelly wonder goal won the tie, on aggregate.

We were outraged that French photographers had been leaping on the pitch blinding goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw with their flash bulbs.

Fans and police had then roughly manhandled manager Harry Potts when he ran on the pitch because the French team were stealing yards at free kicks.

Half of Todmorden used to trek to the game on a matchday, mostly in dark green double decker buses that lined up by the dozen near the railway arches and the Olympia Cinema, all loaded up to the roof with fans.

Tod and Tod Grammar School, I guess is in my DNA. I still remember how gobsmacked I was to meet someone from Tod GS in faraway Tasmania. And even better: he had once worked in Bob Lord’s meat factory.