Former Chesterfield FC footballer David Pugh's perfect match and golden memories of winning the league and playing against George Best
A Chesterfield FC footballer found his perfect match when he tied the knot with a primary school teacher half a century ago.
Spireites midfielder David Pugh met his future wife Bridget on a night out at the Hollingwood Hotel. After a three-year courtship they married at Heath Church.
On Saturday, July 24 the pair celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a garden party for family and friends at their home in Hasland.
Commenting on his long marriage, David said: “I’ve been very lucky – she’s a lovely lady and a very handsome lady.”
The couple were in their early 20s when they got together at a time when David was playing for Chesterfield having transferred from Newport County for £4,500.
His highlight with the fourth division Spireites was when Jim McGuigain’s team won the league in the 1969-70 season.
Fans with long memories often remind David of those glory days. He said: “I still have people saying Chesterfield now is not like when you were playing and won the league.”
Bridget added: “If we’re in Chesterfield people will stop David and tell him how much they enjoyed watching him play. They say things like ‘my dad used to take me to watch you when I was a lad’.
Now David watches the latest generation of Spireites heroes at most of their home matches.
He tuned into every game of the Euro 2020 tournament and, despite his Welsh roots, was bitterly disappointed that England didn’t win. Asked about the chances of the Three Lions squad bringing home the World Cup next year, David said: “They've got a lot of quality young players coming through and I think they'll do OK.”
As a youth international representing Wales, David captained a team whose opponents included none other than George Best. He said: “George would have been about 18 and was just making his way into Manchester United where he had played seven or eight games.” David’s team won that memorable match at Cliftonville on the outskirts of Belfast.
Following five years at Chesterfield FC, David went on to play for Halifax Town, Rotherham United and York City.
He left professional football when he was 34 and worked as a YTS training officer at Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce until retirement.
Bridget, who was born at Heath, started her teaching career on the Caribbean island of Barbuda through Voluntary Services Overseas. She worked at Henry Bradley School in Brimington for two years, at Heath Primary School for seven years, did supply teaching for five years after becoming a mum, then worked at Hasland Infants School until retirement.
Bridget said: “I loved teaching and I love children. I know lots of people in Hasland because I either taught them, their children or even their grandchildren. We love being in this community.”
David and Bridget have a daughter, Laura, who is married to Andy, and two grandchildren, Oliver, nine, and Amelia, six.
The golden couple enjoy gardening and going out for meals. Both offer the same recipe for a long-lasting, happy marriage. Bridget said: “It’s give and take and not letting arguments carry on.” David added: “Everybody has spats...don’t dwell on them.”