The Day I Met … David Cross & Johnny Ayris

By Steve Anderton

Back in about 1980 – 1981 I played cricket for a local team in Essex. On this particular day we were due to play Hutton CC at King George Playing Fields in Brentwood. I kept wicket at the time and was surprised to see Psycho (David Cross) walk out to bat. As he scored 100 plus runs against us I had plenty of time to chat to him during his innings. When it was my turn to bat I had another opportunity to talk with him as he also was the wicket keeper.

At the end of the game he asked me if my wife and I would like to join him and his wife for a drink back at Hutton’s Club House. I thought this was just him being polite as it is courtesy after games to have a drink with the opposition, but in fact when we arrived at the club he immediately came over to me and insisted we join him and his wife as he had suggested earlier.

We stayed for at least 2 hours in his company and found him to be very different to his on pitch persona. He was as interested in my meagre footballing achievements (Essex Senior and Isthmian League) as I was in his. I will always remember him as a really nice guy.

Also my wife worked with the wife of Johnny Ayris and as such we became friendly for a while as we lived close by them in South Woodham Ferrers. Over dinner one night in our house John explained to me how his career got cut short by Ron “Chopper” Harris of Chelsea.

One last one is that after I stopped playing Saturday football I played for a Sunday morning team in Southend – on – Sea called Trinity. For a season where we got a good way in the National Sunday Cup we were managed by Anton Otulakowski. He was very unassuming and did not open up with many stories from his playing days.

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5 Responses to The Day I Met … David Cross & Johnny Ayris

  1. Upton Spark says:

    Yes, I was lucky enough to meet David too as I used to work on a local radio station. We arranged to meet David Cross in a pub car park on the A127 near Southend and he jumped into my car and I couldn’t believe I was actually driving David Cross to the radio station.
    While we were driving I was so pleased to have him with me I nearly opened my window and shouted to everyone”Hey,I’ve got David Cross”.
    I decided not to of course in case David thought I was being a pl;onker!
    Nice chap though and he done a wicked phone in for us and stayed behind after to sign autographs etc.

  2. Roshi says:

    Cor! Johnny Ayris..what a talent, I can remember his brief career. He would turn defenders inside out, everyone thought we had found our George Best he was so fast and tricky and then he kind of disappeared before he really got established. I didn’t realise it was down to Chopper Harris!

  3. Graybo says:

    ‘We’ve got…. Johnny, Johnny, Johnny Ayris, on the wing, on the wing…’

    (sung to the tune of Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha) (is that how you spell it? Looks a bit rude)

    Who remembers that one?

    And, yes, I remember Johnny Ayris working at the sports centre at William de Ferrers school.

  4. Graybo says:

    Just remembered…

    Ooh, here’s a theme emerging here. I once kept wicket in a cricket match for the Yellow Advertiser newspaper and Jimmy Neighbour came out to bat.

    Didn’t chat, though, I was too busy watching him despatch our bowlers to the boundary!!

  5. Mac says:

    Full page colour pic of Johnny Ayris in Goal magazine, circa 1972. Traditional Seventies footie pose, on his haunches, hands on the ball. I was 10. An impressionable age. Remember rushing to the local sports shop to get a pair of the sky blue socks he was wearing, something I hadn’t seen on a West Ham player until then. Salad days indeed.

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