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HISTORY OF T&MUFC 
CLUB LEGENDS

Desmond Dennis

Des joined the Terrors during the 1975/76 season from Barking after Tooting coach Johnny Johnson had seen him previously play for a team called Continental FC. Tooting Manager Roy Dwight wanted to select him but it turned out Des was still registered with Barking, so there was a delay in him signing for the Terrors. Des would eventually make his full debut in a home FA Trophy First Round replay against Romford at Sandy Lane in January 1976, the tie being won 4-1. Later in the month he would be on the bench for our FA Cup 4th Round Proper tie away to Bradford City which was lost 3-1 and get his first Tooting & Mitcham United goal in a 3-1 victory at Merthyr Tydfil in the Second Round of the FA Trophy. At the end of his first season with us there was a Surrey Senior Cup Winners medal for him, as he came on as a substitute in a 2-1 victory after extra time against local rivals Sutton United.

At the start of the 1976/77 campaign he would score in our first three league games, getting a hat-trick in a 7-3 demolition job of his previous club Barking at Sandy Lane. Des would have a good scoring record against the Essex side. There was also another County Cup Winners medal for him as he came off the bench to score the only goal of the Final against Croydon. By this time Des was a real fans favourite and an exciting player to watch.

In his third season with the club he produced a man of the match display bagging a hat-trick against Sutton United in a home FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round tie which was won by three goals to nil. This earned the Terrors a home First Round Proper tie against Northampton Town, the Cobblers gaining revenge for their FA Cup defeat against us back in 1958 winning the match 2-1. Another highlight from the campaign was the lifting of the Surrey Senior Cup for the third successive season, the first time this had been achieved in the competition as Woking were beaten 2-1. Des was also an ever present in our 42 Isthmian League games that season, an outstanding achievement.

His fourth campaign turned out to be a disappointing one, as we went out of the FA Cup in the 4th Qualifying Round at Hillingdon Borough, Des with our consolation goal in a 2-1 loss. There was a representative honour for him however when he was selected for a FA X1 against South West Counties.

 

The 1979/80 season was his last with us and he would get a couple of hat-tricks against Oxford City and Dagenham respectively both of which ended in home league wins. His treble against the Daggers was the last league game of the season and his final competitive game for United. There was also a loser’s medal in the Surrey Senior Cup Final, as we went down by a goal to nil to Sutton United, having beaten our local rivals in a home league encounter just  four days previous.

 

Desmond made over 200 appearances for the Club, plus several on the bench scoring 55 goals. He would join near neighbours Carshalton Athletic for the start of the 1980/81 season and enjoy some good performances for the Robins. On his time at Tooting & Mitcham United, he did say it was the pinnacle of his playing career and the most successful.

 

He paid a visit to Imperial Fields for the Tooting & Mitcham United players reunion in October 2022 and got a great reception from our older fans.

Article written by Ian Bullock TMUFC Members Club Vice President

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