Britain's oldest football-mad couple still follow Walsall FC after 90 years

Jack and Irene Huskisson
Jack and Irene Huskisson

Britain's oldest football-mad couple still follow their beloved team and jot down every result - after 90 years.

Jack Huskisson, 95, went to his first Walsall FC match in 1932 when he was just seven years old.

Since then he has rarely missed a single match either home or away and even kept the scores and wrote his own match reports.

The D-Day war hero continued following the Saddlers when he met his wife-of-73 years Irene, now 93, who was an equally avid fan.

The couple, who have three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, still try and get to most home games, with stadium a mile from their home in the Midlands town.

Jack, a retired electricity meter reader, says he still hasn't given hope of the team getting promoted to the Premier League one day.

He said: "I first went with my dad in 1932 and even though I was little I caught the bug."

"We played Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1932/33 in the first season I went."

"The Arsenal players were all saying, 'I can't play on that pitch it's all mud.'"

"The gate was around 10,000 and a player called Shepherd got the winning goal."

"We have had a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, but that one I always remember."

Since 1938, the superfan has kept a log of every game which includes the players, the results and the scorers.

His house is now a shrine to the Saddlers, with dozens of notebooks and scrapbooks that Jack and Irene have complied over dozens of seasons.

He got into this habit from his father Ted, who was also Saddlers mad and wrote his own match reports.

The outbreak of World War Two caused a suspension of football in the UK, as many players joined up to fight in the conflict.

It was no different for Jack, who joined up in 1943 when he was only 18.

He added: "When the war was on, the league was stopped due to bombing fears and a lack of players."

"I was in D-Day myself. I was nervous about drowning, more than anything. I couldn't swim."

"The chap in front of me was 6ft 4ins and the water came up to his shoulders. I was only 5ft 2ins, so I was petrified."

"The sound and the noise was terrible. The bodies floating in the water stayed in my mind. Even to this day I still think of it."

"I went out onto Sword Beach recently with the Royal British Legion. I could see where I landed and it brought back memories."

"I couldn't sleep when I got back from the war. I sometimes dream about it even now."

"First chance I got when I returned, I went back to watching Walsall."

"In 1947, I left the army and I went down to Northampton for one of my first games back."

"On the day of the game I told the manager at the time, a chap called Harry Hibbs, that I had missed my own coach, which was a lie."

"He told me to jump on the team coach with the players, so I was absolutely chuffed to bits with that."

"We won 8-0 which I still think is an away record. It was a fantastic day out."

"I've come back from games saying 'I'm not going again, that's it' when they have played badly."

"But I'm always at the next match. It's one big family down there. You go through the thick and thin."

To this day, Jack's favourite Walsall player of all time is Alan Buckley.

The forward scored 174 goals across two stints for the club in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Jack said: "Alan Buckley was a smashing little player."

"He was like an old fashioned inside forward. He made it look easy."

Walsall were relegated to League Two last season, where they continue to struggle.

Jack said: "This season, they have all new players now. Darrell Clarke (the current manager) has only kept three or four. It's a whole new team now."

"One of the players from last season, George Dobson, came to visit me when I had suffered a stroke."

"He stayed and chatted with me for two hours. I've only been able to go to one game this season, unfortunately, due to my health. Oxford in the FA Cup."

His wife Irene, 93, also follows the team but does not have Jack's encyclopedic knowledge of the club.

She attended her first game in the 1970s, quickly accepting her husband's passion for the club.

Jack said: "Irene used to go with me to Fellows Park, but she didn't take to the new ground, Bescot Stadium."

"She loved the old ground because it felt a bit more homely. I got lucky though, as she does love her football."

"We talk about Walsall from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. It's a passion we both share."

"We both still get excited on match day and make sure we're wearing our scarves even if we only listen to the game on the radio."