EARLIER this season, AFC Bournemouth were unable to field a player – striker Steve Lovell – even though he said he was prepared to play for nothing.

A strict transfer embargo imposed by the Football League put a stop to Lovell’s hopes of lining up for Cherries – but it wasn’t a problem in Roy Littlejohn’s heyday.

Roy, now 76, turned out as an amateur for Boscombe, as they were then known, back in the early 1950s.

Born in 1933, in Alma Road, Winton, he went to Malmesbury Park and Bournemouth Schools, and joined Cherries youth team in 1950, aged 17.

Roy’s father, George, district manager at Malmesbury and Parsons Dairies, was also a keen footballer and played for Boscombe Institute in the Wednesday afternoon business league.

“I remember, coming up to the war, my father got a football and we’d go to Winton Rec and play. I played for the school team too.

“After I left school, Jack Bruton took me on at Cherries. I soon graduated from the youth team to the reserves, and went on to play 22 games for the first team, scoring two goals.

“I made my debut at Swindon in 1951 – there must have been 20,000 there. At Boscombe we’d regularly get 15,000 – there would even be 5,000 at reserve games!

“It was a real thrill for me. I’d supported the team as a boy. I could recite all the names, and I still can… Bird, Marsden, Sanaghan, Tagg, Wilson, Woodward, McKenzie, Blair, Deadly Dudley Milligan, Paton and McDonald.

“So to be playing alongside the likes of Laurie Cunningham and Dai Woodward was a treat. Then there was Stan Newsham, of course, a prolific goalscorer, and a really nice man.”

After three years at Dean Court, Roy was called up for National Service. “I was a PT instructor with the Royal Engineers, stationed at Farnborough. It was the natural thing to do, because I could get time off to play football.”

He joined Woking (“they had a heck of a good team”) and played in the side that won the 1958 Amateur Cup, beating Ilford 3-0 in front of 65,000 spectators at Wembley.

Roy also represented England at amateur level, against Scotland and Germany, and played for Great Britain, against Bulgaria, in Sofia.

“I also played for an FA team, made up of amateurs and professionals, which included Spurs’ Tommy Harmer, also known as Harmer the Charmer!

“And I was part of another FA representative team that went on a five-week goodwill tour to Ghana and Nigeria, where I shared a room with Pat Neil, of Portsmouth and Wolves.”

Roy worked as an architect for Leslie Jones: “Our biggest project was Poole’s Arndale Centre. We ended up with four offices, employing 100 people, and I was a senior partner when I retired in 1993.”

He was also a talented artist, and used to do sketches for publication in the Daily Echo. “The first one I did was Jack Bruton. I drew footballers like Sam Bartram and Stanley Matthews, and also cricketers including Len Hutton, Keith Miller, Jim Laker, Alec Bedser, Bill Edrich, Dennis Compton and Cyril Washbrook.

“I’d get them to sign the drawings; they were usually quite impressed.”

Roy played football for Poole Town in the Southern League in the early 1960s (“Stan Rickaby, the former England full-back, was manager”) and also turned out for Christchurch.

He has been a member of Parkstone Golf Club for over 40 years, and plays off a handicap of 15.

He is president of the club, which is celebrating its centenary this year.

Roy and wife Pearl celebrated their golden wedding anniversary this year, and have two daughters, Karen and Tracey, and four grandchildren.