Life On The Ocean Wave
Le Flem Able To Sea His Future
From the dusty annals of football literature comes an interesting insight into the thoughts of Dick Le Flem when he was making his way in the game.
The left-winger who served Wolves for just over a year in the mid-1960s seasons played first for Nottingham Forest and is one of relatively few players to have originated from the Channel Islands.
Matt Le Tissier (Guernsey) and Graeme Le Saux (Jersey) are better-known imports from the holiday outposts but the 1961-62 Charles Buchan Annual revealed how Le Flem was influenced by his upbringing by the sea when making his career choices.
And the article gives us welcome further background on him that we haven’t presented to our readers before.
Of his arrival in the East Midlands, he was quoted as saying: “I saw a film of Forest beating Luton in the FA Cup final and little did I think I would soon be wearing one of their red shirts, although my aim had always been to follow such well-known Channel Island exports as Len Duquemin, Bill Spurdle and my former Nottingham club-mate, Bill Whare.
“Forest seem to like players from the islands. They have also signed Whare, who played right-back in the Cup Final, and the Farmer brothers, Bill and Ron – the latter now with Coventry.”
Le Flem started as a right-winger for Guernsey Grammar School and in 1959 scored the winner in a Channel Islands game against a Jersey team containing future Villa and Blues inside-forward Geoff Vowden. The two later became team-mates at the City Ground.
The winger’s Forest debut was at Cardiff early in 1960-61, when he was up against Welsh international Alan Harrington. His first League goal soon came in a win at West Ham and, while still a youngster, he had Wolverhampton-born Don Howe congratulating him after a Forest v Albion clash.
Our search engine above right will direct you to the stories we have written before about Le Flem’s Wolves career from January, 1964 to February, 1965 but there are other new morsels we can reveal now thanks to the Charles Buchan Annual.
In the article, he said he had been ‘fed up’ after being told by Arsenal at the age of 16 that he wasn’t good enough. He was employed at the time in a wine store in the Guernsey capital, St Peter Port, and wrote to Highbury requesting a trial.
When his big break came, he rewarded Forest for their faith with 132 League games and 18 goals. Not that everything was perfect…..
And here is the clue to his love of all things maritime: “Grimsby offered me a trial just before Forest but, after thinking it over carefully, I decided on Nottingham,” he is reported to have said. “But I miss the sea badly.”
Le Flem, now 77, has a passion for deep sea fishing and really wanted to join a seaside club; which might explain why he was transferred to Middlesbrough from Wolves.