Jean’s support still going strong
JEAN Osborne’s support for Andrew ‘Porky’ Claydon shows no sign of diminishing.
The 68-year-old has followed the striker throughout his career, starting with when he joined AFC Sudbury at the start of the 2000/01 season.
Jean, who lives at Upper Somerton between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, has continued to be his number one fan ever since, regularly travelling to see him play for Norwich United.
She said: “I used to go to watch Sudbury before he played there, and then he came along and that was it.
“He became my favourite and when he was at Sudbury he presented me with a lovely signed photograph of himself.
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When Claydon, who appeared for AFC Sudbury in three consecutive FA Vase finals, left the club in the summer of 2007, Jean switched her allegiance too.
Claydon joined Mildenhall Town before signing for Felixstowe and Walton United the following February. He then moved to Norwich United in the summer of 2009.
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Jean, and 74-year-old partner Dennis Watts, have continued to follow the 33-year-old’s career ever since.
Dennis, who lives in Bury St Edmunds and has followed Bury Town since 1954 when they played in the Eastern Counties League at their old Kings Road ground, said: “We watch him play most weeks, but if Bury Town are at home then we will usually watch them instead.”
Jean said highlights of following her favourite player’s career included seeing him play in the FA Vase finals against Brigg Town at Upton Park in 2003 and against Didcot Town two years later at White Hart Lane, as well as against Brentford in an FA Cup tie at Colchester’s old Layer Road ground.
“Unfortunately they lost both those FA Vase finals which was a shame,” she said.
That Claydon has been voted supporters’ player of the year at Norwich for the last two seasons comes as no surprise to Jean.
“He is a very fair player and will always go up and shake hands with members of the opposition side.
“I know him well as a person and he is a nice man too,” she added.
Claydon said: “I am very honoured as not many people at our level of football get this. I have grown to know Jean because she has followed my career closely for so many years.
“I have had children of my own and even taken my little boy over to see her because Jean wanted to meet him. She is a really nice lady.”
Norwich United manager Paul Chick said of his striker: “He is a an absolute top amateur player and a really decent guy. He has been very popular with all managers he has played for and players he has played with in his career.”