By Deal Town

Larry Baxter, who was Deal Town’s player-manager for a 20-month period during the club’s three-season spell in the old Southern League in the early 1960s, has died at the age of 84.

Leicester-born Larry was a skilful winger/midfield player who made well over 200 Football League appearances between 1952-1961 for Northampton Town, Norwich City, Gillingham and Torquay United, whom he helped to win promotion from the old Fourth Division in 1960, before dropping down into non-league football with Cheltenham Town in 1961.

Then, in March 1964, he took over as player-manager at the Charles Ground from Billy Jowett and, although the Hoops’ mostly found life a perpetual struggle in the Southern League, Baxter did lead them to their highest-ever position in non-league football, including up to the present day. That came in the 1964-65 season when Deal finished 19th in the Southern League Division One and pulled off draws against high-flying teams like Wimbledon away (2-2) and Hereford United (0-0) at the Charles Ground – the only match in which Hereford did not score that season en route to winning the title.

However, with the Hoops continuing to suffer severe financial problems in the Southern League, Baxter had to be transfer-listed along with the rest of the entire squad the following season and he eventually left Deal to join Margate in December 1965.

A few days later he returned to the Charles Ground when Margate played the Hoops in a Kent Floodlight League game and, ironically, scored an own goal as the ‘Gate ran out 5-2 winners. But Baxter was unable to win a regular place at Hartsdown Park, making only seven appearances before being released by Margate at the end of the season and he then returned to live in the Midlands, where he played for several more non-league clubs before ending his soccer career and becoming a club singer in the Leicester area.

One person who remembers Larry well is Hoops’ physio and former player Dave Briggs, who said: “I used to live next door to Larry when he was at Deal and he gave me my debut in the reserve team at the age of 16.”

2 Responses

    1. Hello larraine

      Its Andrew Inglis
      I bumped into your post
      Hope everything has gone well for you

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