From Billericay to Piccadilly, from Leatherhead to Arsenal: Part One

9 months ago By Ian Townsend

Watching the Piccadilly Line football team play at The Emirates brought a surprise- or two- for fans of Billericay Town, Leatherhead, Dulwich Hamlet and Haringey Borough

Spectators watching the London Underground Piccadilly Line football team take on the Arsenal Community side at the Emirates Stadium Hub recently couldn’t have failed to be impressed by the talent on show, as the Tube boys ran out 10-4 victors. That the Arsenal side couldn’t get a foothold in the match was mainly down to some staunch defending, and at the centre of that defence was a Customer Service Assistant from nearby Arsenal Station, one Lynvall Duncan. His performance rather stood out- and a number of you probably know why, for Lynvall was formerly a stalwart of the Isthmian League, turning out for Leatherhead, Billericay Town, Kingstonian, and Canvey Island amongst others.

We caught up with him after the match to reminisce. He explained that he was rather a late starter when it came to the round ball game.

“I didn’t start playing football until I was sixteen or seventeen, when I went to the Protec Football Academy in Deptford, and from there I ended up playing in the Middlesex County League before signing for Ashford Town. Soon I was playing for Leatherhead in the Isthmian League South Division, before moving to Billericay Town, who were a level higher.” One particular match during his time with The Tanners stood out for him- the First Round proper of the FA Cup, against Football League Two side Torquay United at the Gulls Plainmoor ground. Leatherhead had reached this stage the hard way, having taken two matches to beat each of Molesey, Cray Wanderers and Mangotsfield United, before victory over AFC Sudbury in the Fourth Qualifying Round earned this shot against the- relatively- big boys. In front of a crowd of 2,218, they managed to take the lead after only two minutes, but eventually succumbed to an unlucky 2-1 defeat. It was a character forming occasion for our young centre-back. “From that point I realised that if this was the standard of professional footballers then I could do it too- it gave me the confidence to push on.”

Push on was something he soon did, ending up a level higher at Billericay, but he still cites his manager at Fetcham Grove, Dave Harlow, and team mate Dave Stevens as two of the most talented individuals he ever worked with. Stephens, he explained, “didn’t really look like a footballer, he had, shall we say a low centre of gravity! But my goodness he scored goals- lots of them!” Indeed, he’d already scored seventeen goals by the time the Torquay tie came around, in mid-November. Lynvall was also glowing in his praise of Harlow. “Dave taught me an awful lot about how to play the game, at a time when I had a lot to learn. He was a very good man to be around- up there with Robbie Garvey, who was my boss at Braintree Town, as the manager who had the most influence on my career.”

After leaving the Tanners for Billericay Town Lynvall was able to step up a level, turning out in the National League South for Braintree Town, Bishops Stortford and Thurrock. Later he also played for Kingstonian, Canvey Island and eventually Haringey Borough. It was whilst he was at Haringey Borough that he began working for London Underground, and indeed it was the demands of that role- and the associated shift work- that led to him giving up the game, apart from when he turns out for Piccadilly FC. He cites his time with Haringey as one of the most pleasurable periods of his career, particularly the season of 2014-15 when the side fought off some stiff competition to win the Essex Senior League title and promotion to the Isthmian North Division.

These days Lynvall is a keen supporter of the Gunners, although struggles to watch any live football due to the nature of his job. He still keeps up with the goings-on in the Bostik League too. He hopes to continue to turn out for Piccadilly FC, and is a key part of manager Cem Toygar’s plans to gain promotion this season- plans which will undoubtedly be aided by the fact that he has a second ‘ringer’ in his side, which brings us to the second person in the above photograph. The eagle-eyed amongst you will already have spotted that the chap next to Lynvall is Benson Kpaka, now a Customer Service Assistant at Brixton Station. Benson, of course, used to play for Billericay Town and Dulwich Hamlet- we'll bring you an update from him soon!

If any of the supporters of our clubs happen to be in North London, and specifically in the vicinity of Market Road in Holloway on a Thursday afternoon, perhaps you should pop along and take a look at some of the football on show. You never know who you might see!

Matches kick off at 4 PM. Search for Piccadilly FC on Twitter!

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