Ray Peacock

Even today many still rate Ray Peacock as the greatest Lilywhites goalkeeper of all time.

Ray had begun his career at Watford and in all was to spend six years at Vicarage Road having signed professional forms at the age of sixteen. But in 1965 he came to the conclusion that he had little chance of making the Watford 1st team as he had first choice keeper, Dave Underwood, and Pat Jennings in front of him. So Ray decided to go semi-pro and join Stevenage. Little did he know that just two weeks after quitting Watford, Pat Jennings would leave for Tottenham and within a few days Dave Underwood would break his leg. So if Ray had stayed he would have had the chance to claim the Watford No 1 jersey for himself after all.

Ray Peacock, standing 2nd from right, with his fellow Watford players in 1963. As at Watford with him were Mal Kennan, who also later played for Cambridge City, and Dai Ward who later became a coach at the City under Tommy Bickerstaff.

Having joined Stevenage, and now with more time on his hands as he was now a part-time player, Roy went into business with his brother making and selling football banners and pennants etc. At the end of the 1967/68 season Ray left Stevenage and followed his former Stevenage Manager, Tommy Bickershaff, to Milton Road, making his debut in the first leg of the Cambridgeshire Professional Cup against Cambridge United at Milton Road on May 14th. Ray also played in the 2nd leg, a game that would go down in the Lilywhites history for the wrong reason as the match was abandoned after 70 minutes due to fighting after Cambridge United had a goal disallowed for offside.

in 1972 because of problems away from the game, Ray asked Tommy Bickerstaff if he could release him from the last year of this contract. This Tommy did with great sadness and Ray hung up his boots for the first time having made 275 first team appearances for the City. During that time he had often been singled out for praise in both the local and national newspapers and had won the Supporters Player of the Year award.

Typical reviews were:                                                                                                                                                                           "Throughout that first half Margate battering, the man who kept Cambridge in the game was goalkeeper, Ray Peacock who earned the acclaim of the whole crowd with a series of splendid saves. One save, a backward save to push away a fierce drive from former Spurs man, Eddie Clayton, was almost unbelievable."

 

Ray with the Player of the Year cup.

After two years out of the game, Ray was persuaded to make a comeback by Jim Walker, the Boss of Bedford Town. During his three seasons there, he helped to gain promotion to the Southern League Premier Division and reached the Semi-Final of the F.A. Trophy. Then after Jim Walker left, Ray again put away his boots for another two seasons. This time it was his local club, Milton Keynes, who called on his services. After one season, in which he helped Milton Keynes win the Beds and Berks Cup, he called time on his football days or so he thought. Twelve months later he was talked into acting as cover for the then young Milton Keynes goalkeeper. He agreed, thinking that he would not be needed only for the young keeper to break his jaw in the first match of the season and as a result Ray found himself back between the sticks.

Today Ray is retired and still keeps an interest in his old club, Cambridge City, and was one of a number of ex players who attended the last match ever played at Milton Road in 2013. He even made the trip up to Cambridge from Milton Keynes to see City play another of his ex clubs, Bedford Town, at the Glassworld Stadium, Histon the following year.