Ending Passion of Pitch and Politics; Hugh, 82, Now Takes a Back Seat

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 14, 2009 | Go to article overview

Ending Passion of Pitch and Politics; Hugh, 82, Now Takes a Back Seat


Byline: Brian Daniel

ACOUNCILLOR who spurned the chance to join Newcastle United to pursue a life in farming has ended his love affair with local government after more than 50 years.

Hugh Philipson, 82, who lives at Lesbury, near Alnwick, first became involved in politics in 1952 when he joined the village's parish council.

Then in 1973, Hugh, of Bridge End Cottage, was elected to represent his ward on the new Alnwick District Council.

Hugh, who served as chairman of both parish and district, was also voted on to Northumberland County Council in 1993.

However, he stood down from the parish three years ago, lost his seat at county level in last year's elections and has now been effectively retired by the disappearance of the district council last week.

But for Hugh, the defining moR4ment of his life came in 1945.

A promising footballer, he was playing for Durham University and its Kings College, Newcastle, where he was studying agriculture.

One week, George Martin, then manager of Newcastle United, came to see a game.

After the match, George approached Hugh and offered him the chance to sign for United.

Hugh, who had always dreamed of being a professional footballer, was ecstatic.

But when he discussed the opportunity with his parents, his father gave him an ultimatum of farming or football, saying he would give up their joint farm if the choice was sport.

The son chose to stick with the farm and rejected the Magpies' offer.

Although football in those days did not involve the big money of today and would only have offered a short career, Hugh admits he has since thought "if only".

He said: "I made a big mistake. I am not saying I would have made the grade at Newcastle, I probably would have. You have regrets, but at the end of the day it is what happened and it is history. …

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