Wife pays tribute to ex-footballer who 'I could always rely on'

Brian Holl in Wisbech Town days

Brian Holl joined Wisbech Town FC as a youth player aged 12 before going onto make over 100 appearances for the first team. - Credit: Family

The wife of a former footballer who made over 100 appearances for his hometown club has paid tribute to a man who “I could always rely on”. 

Brian Holl joined Wisbech Town FC’s youth team at 12-years-old before going on to star in the club’s reserve and first teams over a 16-year spell at the club. 

His wife Val said: “He was so reliable and ever so easy to live with.” 

Brian died on January 5 aged 81. 

The former Fenmen player grew up in Wisbech and attended primary schools including St Peter’s Junior School, before moving onto the former Queen’s boys’ school in town. 

Brian’s father used to play for Wisbech and during his childhood, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the club’s youth setup. 

Brian Holl in action for Wisbech Town FC

Brian Holl in action for Wisbech Town FC, whom he scored 119 goals for during his senior career. - Credit: Family

“Someone he knew took him to games as a child; I think his dad played for Wisbech, too,” said Val. 

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“Brian played football at school, and went on to play for the ‘A’ Team, reserves and first team. 

“He made his first team debut in the early 1960s at around 20, 21-years-old.” 

While at Fenland Park, Brian made 109 appearances for the first team and played 115 times for the reserves.  

He featured 60 times for the ‘A’ Team, scoring a total of 119 goals across all three senior teams. 

Wisbech Town FC youth team before Germany tour

Brian Holl was part of the Wisbech Town FC youth team outside Wisbech East station before starting their tour of Germany in the 1950s. - Credit: Archive

“I think manager Oscar Hold took them to Holland and Germany, and I met Brian as he came back from Germany,” she recalled. 

“We then married in Walsoken in 1963.” 

Brian, while playing football part-time, was a timber merchant throughout his 51-year career, including for English Brothers. 

But those who worked with him at the firm would know if he had a disappointing weekend. 

“If he had a bad game, on a Monday he would have to walk by the dock and the lads would give him stick, all in good humour,” Val said. 

Brian Holl of Wisbech Town FC

Brian Holl made 284 senior appearances for Wisbech Town FC during his career. - Credit: Family

After retiring from playing, Brian went on to manage Leverington FC and when he moved to Peterborough, took up hobbies such as gardening and golf. 

“He was a quiet man, but he was so easy going,” Val added. 

“Whatever family troubles, he would be there and I could always rely on him.” 

Brian is survived by wife Val, son Daryl and daughter Vera, brother Robert, sister Ruth and three grandchildren. 

A funeral service will take place at Peterborough Crematorium at 12pm on February 3.