22 Apr 2020
Cheshunt Football Club are sad to hear of the passing of their former successful player & manager, Les Picking.
Following Cheshunt’s brush with relegation in the 1966-67 season, the club made a decisive move by appointing Barnet’s midfield Amateur England international, Les Picking, as the Ambers new Player-Manager. A former West Ham junior, he had played for Hertford before being signed by Barnet where he would spend seven seasons, winning four England caps and representing the Middlesex, Hertfordshire and London FA county sides.
His first season at Theobalds Lane was very impressive, winning the Athenian first division by a point over Wembley and using only 22 players.
The following season, a shaky start in the Athenian Premier division was overshadowed by a fine run to the 2nd round of the Amateur cup. 1,200 watched Cheshunt hold rivals Enfield to a 0-0 draw (an attendance that has not been bettered since) before losing the replay at Southbury Road. An appearance in the Herts Senior Cup final and a comfortable mid-table league position bode well for the season ahead.
But the 1969-70, whilst on paper again looked an improvement, was not seen that way in the Cheshunt boardroom. Picking’s side again reached the last 16 of the Amateur cup – this time going out to a Steve Heighway goal at Skelmersdale ; the semi finals of the Athenian league cup and Herts Charity Cup, plus another appearance in the final of the Herts Senior Cup and then finally some silverware in the form of the Mithras Cup, with a 5-4 aggregate win over Barking FC . League form however was no better than the season before and Frank Davis publicly stated that Cheshunt ‘were drifting backwards’ and that ‘changes were needed’. Picking learned that Irish Amateur
International Jimmy Quail had been approached for the Managers position and promptly resigned, and joined St Albans.
Two weeks into the 1971-72 season, Picking was back. This time though only as a player to bolster Quail’s midfield. His arrival did not save Quail’s job and by the end of the season, Billy Moye was in charge. Another appearance in the Herts Senior cup gave Picking his third runner-up medal in that competition, before the season’s end.
A poor start to the 1972-73 campaign saw Moye replaced by John Drabwell who immediately rang the changes by replacing the ‘old guard’ with his own young signings. Picking remained in the side initially but, following a mistake that led to Ormskirk knocking Cheshunt out of the Amateur Cup, Drabwell dropped him from the side for a London Senior Cup tie against Leytonstone, leading to a headline-making bust up, and Picking’s final exit from Theobalds Lane.
His football career was still not over, he joined Hoddesdon Town FC and was a member of their FA Vase winning side in 1975.
Les Picking passed away on 8th April 2020, having suffered from Parkinsons disease. Rest Peacefully Les.
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