Former William Torbitt pupil victorious in One Last Game for Absolute Radio

PUBLISHED: 15:59 16 May 2012

Mark Grove, 42, won a penalty for his Absolute Radio team assembled by breakfast show DJ Christian O'Connell.

Mark Grove, 42, won a penalty for his Absolute Radio team assembled by breakfast show DJ Christian O'Connell.


A former William Torbitt pupil enjoyed one final taste of glory as he retired from football having successfully represented Absolute Radio on Friday.

Mark Grove, 42, a former pupil of the primary school in Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park, was selected from thousands of competition entrants to play One Last Game with The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show.

Having picked up the nickname “Lightning”, Mark started the match despite a calf injury and earned his side a penalty when he was brought down by the opposing goalkeeper, breakfast show co-host Richie Firth.

But his match was all but over 20 minutes later as his injury forced him to leave the pitch.

He said: “I had so much physio to try and get my calf sorted, but when Richie brought me down as we were one-on-one I hurt it even more.

“The ref told me he would have been sent off if he wasn’t on the breakfast show.

“Even so it was a brilliant day and my family came down to support me, but they got stuck in traffic and ended up missing me play at the start.”

As an 11-year-old, Mark left William Torbitt without any trophies to show from his football career.

Now working for an electric wholesalers in Chadwell Heath, he would later score what is thought to have been the fastest ever goal at Wembley when he represented the Bobby Moore Fund in a charity match.

Determined to let his family see him bow out from football, Mark came back on for OC FC during the last five minutes to celebrate their 3-0 and claim his last ever medal.

He added: “I gave my medal to my son straight away. I have to say it was a little bit tearful as well, as I knew it was my last ever game.

“I had to go home from work on Monday because I was in so much pain, so it’s definitely all over.”

Absolute Radio’s One Last Game took place at Charlton Atheltic’s ground The Valley with commentary from Rock ’N’ Roll Football’s Jim Proudfoot.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder