New Leed on atlas puzzle

PUBLISHED: 14:04 22 November 2006 | UPDATED: 21:26 29 May 2010

June Derrick and her grandson Nathaniel with the pocket atlas
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

June Derrick and her grandson Nathaniel with the pocket atlas Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

AN ARDENT Leeds United supporter has shed new light on the mystery surrounding a signed atlas found in a Thaxted charity shop last month. Ricky Layzell believes the book could have been signed when the team stayed at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmo

AN ARDENT Leeds United supporter has shed new light on the mystery surrounding a signed atlas found in a Thaxted charity shop last month.

Ricky Layzell believes the book could have been signed when the team stayed at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmow before an FA Cup tie with Colchester United on February 13, 1971.

The atlas, which contains the autographs of Leeds players from 1969 to 1972 was bought by June Derrick of Duton Hill for 20p.

Mr Layzell, a former Dunmow resident who worked with Mrs Derrick at the local bacon factory, said: "I'm absolutely fascinated about the history of this piece of memorabilia and I really want to get to the bottom of the mystery.

"The atlas had the name Timothy Green in it and I reckon there's every chance he could have gone along to the hotel back in 1971 and got it signed by all the players.

"I can still remember the weekend, even though I was only 10-years-old at the time, as it was really exciting to have my sporting heroes staying in the place I lived.

"I went up to the hotel and tried banging on the windows and shouting to try and get to see them, so maybe this Timothy Green had better luck than me."

Mr Layzell, who now lives in Harlow, knew a boy named Les Green who was in the year above him at the Helena Romanes School back in the seventies, but does not believe they were related.

"Les was a year older than me but I'm pretty sure he didn't have any Timothy's in his family," he said.

"I've tried to find out more about him on the internet, but the only Timothy Green with a Dunmow connection that comes up died in the nineteenth century, so it can't be him.

"It's really fascinating. I wonder who this person was and how he managed to get into the hotel and get the signatures of players such as Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and Allan Clarke.

"If he was a Leeds fan, getting the autographs would have been the best bit of the weekend as they lost the fifth round tie with Colchester at Layer Road 3-2!"

Sotheby's football memorabilia expert Graham Budd told the Broadcast that the atlas was worth in the region of £100, and Mrs Derrick, who bought it for her grandson Nathaniel at the St John Ambulance Shop, said she was willing to listen to offers.

"If somebody really wanted it, I would be open to offers and would make a donation to the charity shop.

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