Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Glenn Kirkham, hockey’s Mr East Grinstead, was always two passes ahead of everyone

One of GB and England’s greats retired five years ago this month. The Hockey Paper recalls his service during his final game for East Grinstead

They call him ‘Mr East Grinstead’ in these parts, yet Glenn Kirkham proved to be so much more. From goal line saves to visionary passing, he always seemed to be one step ahead of the game as he propelled Sussex’s premier side to regular forays into Europe.

For 11 years, his routine largely consisted of three 180-mile round trips every week during the Premier Division season. Five years ago this month he made the journey across the South East one last time.

Not one for pomp or self ceremony, Kirkham didn’t expect a fanfare. But for a player who spurned the chance to join a higher-profile club over a decade ago, there was clear emotion as the then 34-year-old played his final game for East Grinstead.

Team-mates, as well as Canterbury, the beaten opposition, and supporters lined up at the final whistle, offering warm appreciation to a player who turned the club’s fortunes into trophy-laden years both indoors and out.

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