Weston AFC's Flaskett on football being the 'love of his life'
- Credit: Josh Thomas
As the new football season starts this weekend there will none more excited than Bob Flaskett.
Flaskett has enjoyed a number of roles over the years at Weston, including as a player and manager before taking on the position of groundsman, which he currently holds.
His love for the game is as strong as it ever was, after he first played when growing up in the small village of Winscombe in the late 1950s.
He first played in the Weston & District League with Winscombe under-18s under his uncle Percy Larder 'around the age of 14, 15' alongside his two cousins Ken and Dave.
Flaskett also played alongside Roy Phillips, who was one of five members of one family that played at Winscombe alongside Len, Gerald, Brian and Maurice.
After moving to Weston, along with his parents in 1960, Flaskett started working in Clarks, a job he would stay in for 39 years.
However, Flaskett would frequently cycle from Weston to Winscombe and back again to play football.
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But Flaskett was persuaded to sign for Weston St Johns by lifelong friend Bob “Chuncky” Hurnam in 1961.
“I played with some good young players, we had a really good youth team,” he said.
“We progressed through the youth leagues as one unit really and then we went into men’s football.”
His time with Weston St Johns was an enjoyable one, as Flaskett would win Division One as well as the Knockout Cup in 1969 before being part of the side which claimed promotion to the Somerset Senior league in 1972.
Flaskett was also invited to play for Weston reserves, by Peter Fryer, who he put into men’s football, where he played football for the first time with current Seagulls chairman Paul Bliss.
In 1985 Flaskett became the manager of Weston St Johns and he would lead his side to the Somerset Senior Premier title in 1990, at the time where the club were two leagues below Weston.
And it was during that time where Flaskett first worked out on the pitch, which he described as a “hobby”, in his attempt to make the club more appealing.
“We had a nice flat pitch, we had a lovely clubhouse. If I can improve the pitch maybe we can attract a few new players because all our players paid a match fee,” he said.
“I did improve it and we had a very good playing surface.”
He would remain with Weston St Johns until 2004 before he became the groundsman of Weston.
Flaskett was on holiday in the Costa Brava that summer where he was called three times in the space of seven days by Bliss and agreed to meet when he was back.
Upon his arrival, Flaskett got off the plane in Bristol, went home and went to Woodspring Park to meet Bliss before agreeing to help work on the ground at Weston.
“It was like going from a little club to Manchester United, the way Paul Bliss ran things was just amazing to see it,” Flaskett added.
“The way he did it, the way that he came in. He virtually saved Weston AFC and I admire Paul Bliss greatly. I still do.
“He was the reason why I came to Weston. My beliefs are that you had to have allegiances to one party, you can’t have allegiances to two clubs so I broke my ties with St Johns.
“We were in the Weston League then I went to Weston all because of Paul Bliss.”
Flaskett has been with the club ever since, hailing it as “special” and his good work on the pitch has seen him receive recognition.
He was awarded third place out of all the Conferences for his work in the 2005-06 season behind Cambridge United and Hyde and in 2018 for he was recognised for his services to football by the Somerset FA.
The first game of the Southern Premier South season takes place on Saturday as Weston visit Bracknell Town.
And Flaskett says his love for football is as strong as it has ever been.
“As far as I am concerned it’s the best game in this country, Europe and the world,” he added.
“A lot of changes have obviously gone on since I started playing. Football has been the love of my life.
“I’m still doing it; I’ve met some really nice people, played with some good players. And here at Weston, I’ve seen different managers come and go and seen some great players here as well.
“I still love the game. I’ll never stop loving the game. I’ll encourage every young player to keep going, don’t give up keep going and try to achieve your dreams simple as that. I’ve lived my dream.”