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In the week that Penzance are vying for a place in the quarter-finals of the Cornwall Senior Cup, the club is sorry to learn of the passing of a member of its 1973 winning squad.

Born in Weldon in Northamptonshire in 1937, England Schoolboy International Tony Claypole joined his local professional club Northampton Town as a Junior in 1953, making his first team debut in 1957. He chalked up over 125 appearances, most notably helping the Cobblers win promotion from the Fourth Division. He was comfortable at either left or right back until sustaining a broken leg against Coventry City during the 1961-62 season – just a fortnight after he got married.

Tony in the Cobblers' number 2 shirt against Gillingham in September 1960

Photo courtesy of BBC News.

Whilst that injury ended his time as a professional, Tony went on to enjoy a sterling career in the upper echelons of the non-League game with the likes of Cheltenham Town, Corby Town and Wellingborough Town. He helped the latter win the Metropolitan League title in 1969-70. After moving to Cornwall, Tony represented ourselves, Mousehole, Marazion and Mullion with distinction. He continued playing the game locally into his late sixties.

Tony, born in Weldon Northamptonshire, played for the Cobblers from 1953 to 1962 making over 125 appearances until injury cut short his professional career.

Photo courtesy of Cobblers Past.

Sadly Tony’s latter years were dogged by both vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. His daughter-in-law Joanne made a successful appeal for memorabilia from his playing days that yielded enough cuttings, programmes and photographs to enable the compilation of a memory book of his career that provided some solace.

Tony (Back row, 5th from left) was part of our Senior Cup winning squad from 1973.

Included in the photo are members and officers of the Penzance AFC committee.

A rare letter of thanks written to Tony from the then Club Secretary Dave Ferris, which has been very kindly shared with us by Tony's daughter-in-law Joanne Claypole.

We are grateful to Tony’s son Jon, and to Joanne, for contacting the club and are honoured to remember our distinguished former player with a minute’s silence before the St Dennis Senior Cup tie.


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