THERE can only be one subject for Clarets Corner this week, and that’s to pay tribute to Derek Colclough, who passed on last Saturday at the age of 50, writes John Greenwood.
Whenever I think of Selwyn, as he was almost universally known by Burnley fans, he will always be doing the conga. At the end of the Orient game, which Burnley had to win in 1987 to remain in the football league, a giant-sized one took to the Turf Moor pitch, winding its way around the ground, and he was slap bang in the middle, and a picture of joy.
Like many other Clarets of that era I got to know Selwyn through going to games, and a mutual friend, Woody.
I can’t think of a better advert for going to live football rather than watching it from an armchair than meeting people like Selwyn because, and this is the rub, he was a smashing bloke you would have been glad to know whether at the football or anywhere.
The nickname came from his youthful resemblance to Bill Maynard in the classic 70s comedy Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggit and he occasionally updated it himself. He was also devoted to his family and I once saw him on a day out with one of his nephews and he referred to himself as “Uncle Greengrass” with reference to Maynard’s then best known TV part.
But it was football that provided the introduction. He loved the game and also the camaraderie and experience of going to matches, which became a fine art in the 1980s and very early 90s when there wasn’t much to cheer on the pitch.
Selwyn could always make you smile, an off-the-cuff remark or comment cutting through the gloom engendered by Joe Gallagher’s attempts to defend or watching David Jones jump to meet a cross. It wasn’t the best of times to watch the Clarets but he always kept the faith, albeit with criticisms applied where he thought they were warranted!
Despite the seriousness of his illness, and he knew how serious it was, he was determined to enjoy the rest of his life and those remarks never stopped coming.
There’s a picture on the Clarets Mad board of Selwyn taken at his 50th birthday with the inimitable Rocky behind him. Woody says Selwyn asked Rocky if he’d thought it was a fancy dress party, because he’d come dressed as the club shop...
Everyone will know a Selwyn story, most related to the club perhaps but also others ranging from his time serving in the merchant navy (later serving up Woody a full English breakfast in a bowl with a spoon) to his years as an ice cream salesman (I’ve been told he once headed down a steep hillside in his van to the most unlikeliest of places where there was a party going on, but having seen a sales opportunity he wasn’t going to let it slip).
Whether told by the man himself or those involved, they always left you smiling and feeling the better for having known him.
Derek’s funeral is on Monday, October 3, at St Mary’s Church, Todmorden, at 9.15am, followed by a service at Burnley Crematorium at 10.40am, with a final journey to Turf Moor en route. Afterwards his wake will be held at Turf Moor from 11.30am.
His family hope his many friends will bear his request in mind - come and celebrate his life dressed in a football shirt - but no Blackburn Rovers ones! He has also asked that any donations go to the cancer charity MacMillan.