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Beyond the field

Dorairaj, Dec 27 2017, 20:21 IST
(From left, front row) Michael, T S Arumugam, J M Peter and MVenugopal. (Second row) Devan, Sarathy, Mahalingam, Kumaresan, MC Thiagarajan and Manoharan. (Third row) Manivannan, the author,Sundaresan and Ramanujam.

(From left, front row) Michael, T S Arumugam, J M Peter and MVenugopal. (Second row) Devan, Sarathy, Mahalingam, Kumaresan, MC Thiagarajan and Manoharan. (Third row) Manivannan, the author,Sundaresan and Ramanujam.

This photograph was taken in 1958 when we won the inter-school football shield. We were then students of Ookadpalyam Corporation Middle School.
The final match was played at the Shivajinagar Football Stadium.
We played against Corporation Middle School, Tasker Town in the finals and won by a solitary goal.

In those days, Austin Town, Gowthamapuram was the nursery of football players. This area has produced several football players of national and international repute at that time. The team was coached by V Ramadas, the versatile teacher of the Ookadpalayam School. We enjoyed the hot 'masala dosas' and coffee at the Sri Rama Bhavan Hotel in Shivajinagar after the match.

Michael was the captain of the team. He worked as a technician at the NGEF nearly for 30 years. He expired after his retirement from NGEF. T S Arumugam, the headmaster at that time, encouraged the players by being present at the match and providing refreshments at the end of the match.
J M Peter, who was the senior teacher in the primary section, was loved by all the students living in Ookadplayam and Austin Town.

M Venugopal, who lived in Gowthamapuram, worked as flying officer in the Indian Air Force. He retired in 2000 at the age of 56. Devan came from a poor family. He rendered services at funerals to pay for his expenses including education. He is no more.

Sarathy, another football player, stayed at Ookadpalyam as a student. He worked at BEML rail coach factory, HAL as a technician and retired with a good record. He is related to Nanda, the famous football player in whose memory the Austin Town Football Stadium is named.

Mahalingam also stayed at Ookadapalayam as a student and this football player worked in BEML rail coach factory till his retirement. He is no more.

Kumaresan was also a Ookadpalayam resident during his student days. M C Thiagarajan rose to represent the Karnataka football team. He worked in HAL and stayed at Gowthamapuram as a student and is no more.

Manoharan worked in HMT till retirement. He has also passed on. Manivannan worked for HAL as a technician. I worked in HAL as a senior master technician and rendered 43 years of glorious service there. I won several suggestion awards while in service. I scored the winning goal in the final match playing the pivotal role of centre forward.

Yet another football player, Sundaresan, worked in HAL as an assistant supervisor in tool room and retired after 37 years of service. Ramanujam stayed in Austin Town. We cannot forget our headmaster Sri T S Arumugam who taught us not only mathematics but also encouraged us in a big way to play football.

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