A HAIRDRESSER who took up an apprenticeship after failing to become a professional footballer has celebrated his 60 years in the trade.

Although Clive Howse got no further as a player than the Fulham youth team, he was able to combine his love of football by coaching, including as an assistant to legendary Woking manager Geoff Chappell in the Cards’ glory days.

After being released by Fulham, who were in the old First Division with a team that included England captain Johnny Haynes, Clive faced going back to school unless he found work.

“I didn’t like the idea and my mum told me her hairdresser was looking for apprentices,” Clive recalls.

“I wasn’t all that keen on being a hairdresser as it didn’t seem very masculine, but I met Paul and Sue Scott, who owned the salon in Claygate where I lived and I got on with them.”

One of his childhood friends was Jimmy Page, who went on to become a rock star with Led Zeppelin.

Clive spent two years working at the salon and then moved to West Byfleet and worked at Raymonde for Dennis Grainger.

After a few years Dennis suggested Clive take over the business provided he could continue working.

“It was 1966 and my wife was expecting our first child, so I thought I should step up,” Clive said.

“Dennis and I reversed roles with him working for me.”

The business name was changed to Clive’s Hair Place and Dennis continued working for Clive until he retired 30 years later.

Several of Clive’s hairdressers have been with him even longer, including Lesley who has worked with him for more than 50 years, Diane, who has 45 years’ experience and Valerie who recently moved out of the area after 43 years.

“We’ve been here so long that there are several families who we’ve done their hair for four generations,” Clive said.

His three daughters, Kate, Sian and Jane have worked at the salon and granddaughter Maisie is now there on Saturdays. His partner Nita also works in the salon.

“My customers sometimes confide in us things they wouldn’t tell anyone else as they know it won’t go any farther,” he said.

The salon is mostly for women, but an exception was made for Clive’s friend Jimmy Page and his Yardbirds bandmate friend Jeff Beck, who have had their hair cut there several times.

Clive played lead guitar in a band for several years and managed his work around football coaching.

When Geoff Chappell left Woking for Kingstonian FC, Clive followed him as his assistant and was later manager of Chertsey Town.

When he gave up coaching, Clive reported on local football for County Sound radio, based in Guildford.

Clive, 77, said that he has enjoyed the past 60 years and has no plans of giving up work.

“I’ll stop when I get to retirement age – whatever that is,” he said.