Hendon Green & Gold 13 - Danny Lakey

Greensnet Editor
Mon 23 Jun 2014, 07:00

The latest in the series focuses on a player who made a big impression during a little more than three years with the Greens, Danny Lakey.

Danny Lakey joined Hendon in the summer of 1964, the Greens' second season in the Isthmian League. Described as a robust winger, he was much more than the typical playmaking wide-man who created goals rather than scoring them. A return of 55 goals from 125 matches would, in the present era, be a more than acceptable total for the leading goalscorer, especially the 30 goals in 49 appearances in 1964-65. There is a strong case to say that Danny was the missing link in the Hendon team, the final key component that turned a very good team into a Championship winner. In his three seasons at Claremont Road, Hendon played in the FA Amateur Cup semi-final each year.

The 1964-65 season was barely under way when Danny made his debut. Hendon had won three and drawn one of the opening four league games, and beaten Leyton in the FA Cup, when Danny played in a 2-2 home draw against Kingstonian, David Hyde grabbing both goals. The crowd at Claremont Road that Tuesday night - 8 September - was 1,861, almost 500 fewer than had watched the local derby against Enfield a week earlier, but still what proved to be Hendon's third-highest in the league that season.

Danny's first Hendon goal came in the win at Hitchin Town a week after his debut. It was the start of a run of scoring nine goals in as many matches - he got a double in the FA Cup defeat of Ford United, but didn’t score in the 3-1 London Challenge Cup victory over Enfield, although he made the second goal. That set up maybe the greatest performance in the club's history, the 4-3 win over Arsenal in the latter competition. After a hat-trick from a young John Radford, Danny reduced the arrears before a Hyde hat-trick won the game for the Greens at Highbury.

If Arsenal's defence couldn't cope with Danny and the Hendon attack, what chance did the Isthmian League or lesser amateur clubs have? The Greens amassed 192 goals in all competitions - scoring everything from nil to nine - and finished with a treble of Middlesex Senior Cup, Isthmian League title and Amateur Cup. The league was won in a play-off against Enfield at Dulwich Hamlet and Danny scored the last goal in a 4-1 win. He was one of five Hendon players to be selected for the Isthmian League representative team during the season.

Hendon couldn't repeat the Amateur Cup success in 1965-66, losing 3-1 to Wealdstone at Wembley, and a large part of the reason for that was the long injury list. In particular, Jimmy Quail suffered a terrible broken leg in the quarter-final victory over Wycombe Wanderers. Danny also caught the injury bug and didn't play between 15 January and 19 April, four days before the Amateur Cup Final, for which he wasn't selected. All-in-all he played in just 28 out of 53 games, but still contributed nine goals.

The crowded end-of-season season schedule saw 10 league games, the Amateur Cup Final, two Middlesex Senior Cup ties - also against Wealdstone - the Wycombe Hospitals Cup and a friendly in 41 days. The title decider came on 3 May when Danny and Hendon couldn't break down the Leytonstone defence and the goalless draw eventually proved enough for the Granleigh Road club to take the title by two points - it was two for a win in those days - so a Hendon win would have left both teams on 60 points.

Although Danny enjoyed much better fitness in 1966067, Hendon were not as strong as they had been in the two previous seasons. Danny missed only a dozen of 57 games and netted 16 times to finish joint-second on the scoring charts with Dave Swain, 14 behind Tony Harding. The Greens finished in fifth place, but the goals for column showed only 64, down from 111 the season before. His absence in the second replay of the Amateur Cup semi-final, a 3-1 loss to Skelmersdale, certainly didn't help Hendon's cause.

All good things must come to an end and it was clear early in the 1967-68 season that Danny was no longer a regular first choice. A move to Kent made playing for Hendon difficult, and he made only three first-team appearances, one of which was a London Challenge Cup tie against West Ham United at Upton Park. The Hammers won 1-0. Danny joined Ramsgate in December 1967, but made one final appearance for Hendon. On 13 April 1969, there was a special challenge match between Hendon of 1968-69 and the all-conquering 1964-65 team. John Swannell and Dave Hogwood were eligible for both squads, but elected to join Danny, now with Maidstone United, in the 1964-65 squad, who won 3-1.

Joined Hendon: Summer 1964
Left Hendon: December 1967
Appearances: 125 (all starts)
Goals: 55
Medals won: Isthmian League 1964-65, FA Amateur Cup 1964-65, Middlesex Senior Cup: 1964-65, 1966-67

(David Ballheimer)