Tributes to Alan Wiseman flood in

We were very saddened to learn that Stoke legend Alan Wiseman, passed away at the weekend.

Within hours of the new breaking Stokers in the UK and around the world have sent in their tributes:

Chris Gudgeon : “Very sad to hear of his passing. I cherish great memories…his dogs often left to roam the Rec during games…his rather unreliable Volvo cars…his thespian skills with the Cobham Players…The Folk Club. But overall my abiding thoughts are of his huge love for the Cclub…all of us heard of his dismissals being delivered by future Test players…caused by giraffes but Alan was a great competitor. He also served the club as Chairman…and was always around…Committee meetings it is fair to say we’re amusingly chaotic…but full of good memories. Will miss you Alan…puff away on that pipe in the clubhouse in the sky.”

The giraffe story is mentioned in the Club History page on this site, (much of which was penned by Alan himself), as Chris Finch recalls: “…He was one of the Club’s great characters. Some will recall his reason for getting out first ball at Chessington CC, being that as the bowler was about to release the ball and I quote “a Giraffe (from Chessington) popped his head over the sight screen!!!”

Andy Ivory : “This is just the saddest of news. I wandered into Stoke Rec in 1980 and it was Al who hooked me. He taught me the three essentials to sport: play to win; applaud your opponent; wash it down with a beer and a few stories afterwards. I was Treasurer to his Chairman for a few years and I can tell you he had Stoke running through his core. Thank you Alan for everything you mean to us at Stoke, and I forgive you all those run-outs.”

Ian Wellman : “So sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. As a Stoke member for many years, I had a lot to thank Alan for his great kindness and “advice” when I was growing up as a youth member. I certainly learned a lot from him, especially the art of “leaving the ball” which certainly served me well in my latter years. Those of you who, I know, follow the Valley End web-site will know that we too have lost two invaluable members of our Club in recent weeks, but like Stoke, these things always serve to bring us closer together, such is the strength in character and unity of both our Clubs.”

Mike Cooper : “Alan was my first coach as a colt in the late 70s! I then played in the 2nd XI with him. When I left school Alan’s garden was one of my first jobs. A true character.”

Rick Mustill : “Such sad news – a great character and we can all picture him leaning against the bar shrouded in pipe smoke and regaling us all with tales of Stoke batsmen and bowlers of the past all much more talented than us present bunch.”

Malcolm Dickson : “Very sad news! Alan was a true character, Stoke through and through, and a great link between the Stoke of years gone by and the present. I’ll miss him!”

Logie Logendran : “Alan, you are one of the best cricketing characters I have ever met. Your love for the game was immense! I have always enjoyed my debates with you on cricket’s past and future…the last time we bumped into each other, I enjoyed a good pint at The Bear in Cobham. Rest in Peace, Buddy!”

Ralph Coleman : “I had a similar experience to the one mentioned by Ivors. When you join a club you’re often pitched in with a load of people that you don’t know, or would need time to get to know fully, but Alan helped make that transition a smooth one with me and all the other newbies. His enthusiasm for the Club was a big selling point and to this day players join us, stay with us and recommend us because of the culture he and others created, the values he preached and the spirit in which he played the game – he made sure we did the same. When putting together club records and looking for details of players who played long before I joined, not only would I get the full name, but a pen-picture of each one along with a story or two to evidence their ability and character. Nothing was too much trouble for Alan. I lose count of the number of lifts he gave to me and others after matches – straight home, thus saving on rail and taxi fare. After finishing playing he would still come to watch matches whenever he could and would regularly e-mail the Club and Committee he served with such distinction with messages of congratulations and offering support and fund raising ideas. They broke the mould when they made Alan. People who saw his “I remember when…” – think about Uncle Albert’s “During the War…” in Only Fools and Horses – as a cue to leave often missed a great story, each one delivered with detail and humour. Thanks for everything you have done for me, the Club and the wider community, Al.”

David Willis, (brother or Bob for those who don’t know) sent in his own verdict : “…a stalwart of the Club since the 1960s and one of Cobham and Stoke D’Abernon’s wisest old birds. I once saw him make a fifty with thirty six singles and he got there in the last over before tea having opened the innings – the score was about 250 for five. I very much enjoyed his company – strong views about absolutely everything but he made a massive contribution to life in the villages. He will be missed by many and I hope that he can be remembered in some way. Please don’t name the scoreboard after him – most inappropriate!”

Stephen Finch : “Such sad news. Alan was one of the very first faces I saw on joining the Club in the hot summer of 1976, a character indeed and I’ll miss him regaling us with stories from games gone by while standing at the old Clubhouse bar, pipe in one hand and a tankard in the other.

Talking of old stories, hot summers and Alan, many will know of his pharmacy days. He and I were two of the Stoke touring side to the West Country in July 1989. It was a week of wall to wall sunshine and on the hottest day we played a fixture against Timberscombe CC.

Batting first, yours truly played one of my longer innings, (yes it used to happen in those days!), and Alan saw me over-heated sitting to one side with a cold towel between innings. As Alan was the senior pro, and knowing his pharmaceutical experience, I willingly swallowed some salt tablets he brought me from his kit bag and we immediately went out to field.

A few overs later, I was in my usual gully position, hands on knees waiting for the next delivery when suddenly I started literally frothing at the mouth looking more like a rabied dog than a cricketer. I wondered what on earth was happening and Alan jogged over apologising that he hadn’t told me to take the tablets with plenty of water! Vital advice in the circumstances – but no harm done in the end!

I’ll certainly miss him but will remember lots of good times too.”

We presume you mean this match, Finchy :

We will certainly look to have some permanent reminder in or around the Clubhouse and details, plus those of the funeral, will follow when known…

Alan Wiseman
Alan Wiseman