John (Johnny) Gravell had football running through his veins. His father played for Poole Town before going on to play professionally for Millwall, and John certainly inherited his love of the game. As a youngster he played for a number of youth teams, one of which was the local Sea Cadets.
This contained six Hamworthy boys including Jack Russell (now in his mid-eighties) who went on to play with John for Hamworthy, and can still be found in the stand supporting the present Hammers most Saturdays.
The team went on to become the National Sea Cadet Football Champions a fact that John was always very proud of. After joining Hamworthy in the 1950/51 season John stayed with the Club until he hung up his boots in the early 70s, making him a One Club Man, although he did also play for Hamworthy Engineering on Sundays.
He was a very good defender who played most of his football as a Centre Half. He was quick, useful in the air and was very adapt at the sliding tackle, making him very difficult to go by. John always played with a smile on his face and so I am told went through all of his playing days without being booked, which was a remarkable achievement. John’s two sons Jason and Paul also played their football for United, and both were useful strikers, but unfortunately fell well short of their father’s disciplinary record.
After John finally hung up his boots he continued to support Hamworthy in a voluntary capacity.
Whenever help was needed John was there, none more so than when he retired from his job as a steel erector. He did a lot of the tasks that goes unnoticed by a lot of people especially players, like cleaning the dressing rooms and showers, not only after games, but also after training.
John could be seen at the ground every day, usually with his trusty dog Bella, cleaning up or letting a tradesman into the Club. He continued to do this until unfortunately ill health let him down and he was unable to continue. It was a full house at John’s funeral, a tribute to this very nice man held in the highest respect by everybody that knew him, and nobody more deserves to be called a real Hamworthy United Legend than Johnny Gravell.