Tributes to the Late Terrence Draisey
By Graham Hodson, Chairman of Bilston Town Football Club
Terry was possibly Bilston Town’s most renowned supporter, recognised and acknowledged across the non league spectrum, because wherever Bilston played, Terry would be there in his Bilston tracksuit top and unmistakable Stetson, always standing behind the goal that his beloved Bilston were attacking – always changing ends at half time so he could watch the goals going in, and over a period exceeding 60 years, he’s saw some memorable goals and moments.
He first entered Queen Street as an eight or nine year old lad, way back in the early 1950’s, and he rarely missed a match from that moment on, watching the team climb the divisions, win leagues and trophies, watching them in their FA Cup runs of the 60s and 70s, then watched in despair at their demise in 2005, standing in Bantock Park after Queen Street was closed down after being deemed unsafe. He was there when the ground re-opened in 2008 and his pride of his beloved Steelmen restored as they gained promotion to the West Midlands First Division in 2009, then back to the Premier Division in 2013.
Without seeking notoriety, he unwittingly gained it with his distinctive hats and badge filled body warmer – everyone knew Terry the Bilston Cowboy – not socially, as he was a particularly private person, but his passion for his football club shone through wherever he went.
As a young lad in the 50’s he’d run errands and sell programmes on match days so he could be part of the club he loved, he went on to become kit man for many many years, turning up a few hours before kick off to lay out and prepare the kit for the players arrival. He’d think nothing of buying and donating new corner posts or goalnets to the club, and in later years, he had his own keys to the ground and would spend days there just pottering around, painting bits of fence or doors, happy to be involved and contributing to the club he loved.
When his health deteriorated to the level he couldn’t do too much. we’d invite him down and he’d just sit on the sofa in the boardroom for a couple of hours, content to sit there and reminisce about the place and his memories of the grounds he’d been to, people he’d met.
In 60 years he’d seen virtually every game played, home and away, and unknowingly obtained legendary status in the ranks of non league football. No one could claim to have seen as many Bilston games as Terry, and no club could claim to have a bigger supporter than him, Bilston lost a legend when Terry died, a Steelman through and through.
Ian Henery has also written a poem dedicated to Terry;
Rondeau for Terry the Cowboy