When I was little, my brother (older) was always playing football in the garden. I showed very little signs early on of being interested as I preferred playing with toys. I used to spend hours with plastic toy soldiers, these days children don't play enough or go outside but once I did start playing football I quickly fell in love with the sport. I'm hoping my son will also take to the sport, as I think it will do wonders for his confidence. I think it's easier when the people who surround you inspire and draw you into it, which Jake doesn't.
Growing up, I fondly recall my father taking my brother to Derby games. I always wanted to go, it disappointed me that I would always tend to be overlooked. This was something my Grandfather noticed and it's how my love for Notts County started.
Being a young impressionable boy, I mainly liked teams I could watch on television. I used to watch division one games (now the championship).
When I wasn't watching television or playing with my toys, I would be outside playing football with my brother and I quickly became obsessed with playing. Usually towards the end of the week, we would all play outside in the garden and I really thrived being able to play.
My grandfather who was a huge Notts County fanatic would tell me stories, I used to listen with a glee in my eyes and I would always ask him to continue telling me about a story despite there being nothing else to say.
He could tell the most amazing stories, his facts and knowledge were like no other. You could ask a question about the early days which he saw as a boy himself and he would relive it in crystal clear detail.
I'll never forget the kindness, the life lessons he taught me and even now I get upset thinking that he's gone. It's something in honesty I have never got over, he was such an important part of my life and a big role model too.
My early memories of attending games with him always involved around our Wembley trips, he would never allow me or my brother to miss out on going.
I can remember travelling one time in a supporters coach, my grandfather parked his car at my uncles arcade and we waited opposite, outside a pub. This really annoying guy would always make a fuss of my brother and I. My grandfather was an extremely well liked man. Being young however, I hated it when strangers would come up to us and sort of steal our attention.
There's a photo he took,somewhere in my parents house of a goal whilst he and my brother visited a play off final, I think I recall it being against Brighton .
Despite being high up, my grandfather being the person he was, posed with my brother on his shoulders, very fond memory despite not actually being there. I do however flicker back to when we won the Anglo Italian Cup and he did the same thing to both me and my brother, although he was unable to take a photo of course.
On a daily basis he would keep me informed on Notts's news, It was harder when I were little to check on what was going on, no internet and limited resources, it was great being able to bond with my grandfather in this way.
The trips to Meadow Lane were always special, he would always put us first and no matter if he couldn't afford it really, he would still take us.
I used to be fairly confident as a child but I didn't like speaking too much in certain situations. He would often call players so I was able to obtain signatures and I can recall him speaking with Michael Johnson and Phil Turner.
It's a shame I no longer can recall the games that I attended with him, I do recall the Wembley trips but league and home cup ties are virtually just a vague recollection.
My grandfather would collect programmes and thanks to him we have some very old programmes, in fact the earlier one's are no more than team sheets but very rare and special. I've continued this with my son, I collect and ask him to read them to me which he enjoys doing.
Sadly in 05/03/2000 my grandfather passed away at the age of 71, he had believed to be suffering from bronchitis but it turned out to be cancer.
Whenever an occasion would come about that was special, he would guarantee that my brother and I would be there.
The 97/98 season was so special for this reason, I enjoyed having him lift me and proudly hold me in the air like I was the league trophy. On the final game he fell down some steps at Meadow Lane and hurt himself, I tried to help him as I know he would of done me.
The last game I recall going with him was the friendly against Arsenal, he took me for two reasons 1) he didn't think I would see such a team for awhile at Meadow Lane and 2) since I liked them. He spent awhile trying to get Arsenal players in-attendance to sign the programme he bought me and I safely kept somewhere.
I've avoided this sort of thing because it's hard when you lose someone when you're young, in such an unexpected way but I hope he's proud of me. I certainly think my life would have been different had he not been around, so in many ways I have him to thank for so much more than introducing me to Notts County.
He's the proud great grandfather my own children would look up to, my father shares a similar relationship with them as I did with my grandfather.
Raymond Townrow was more than my grandfather, he was my world. I'm thankful that I know he'll be looking after mine and Kate's daughter who we lost so tragically. I take great strength knowing she would have been well looked after with him, so Thank you granddad.
Edited by notts-joe