20th April 2003
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin

Len Duquemin was born in Cobo on 17 July 1924 and became a professional footballer. He played for various mainland teams, including Chelmsford City, Colchester United, Hastings United and, most famously of all, Tottenham Hotspur. He made 274 league appearances for the London club during which he scored a total of 114 goals.

Duquemin played centre-forward and was nicknamed variously as The Duke (a shortening of his surname) or Reliable Len. His obituary on the Tottenham Hotspur website described him as “one of the best players never to have been selected for international duty” despite him having played with the team during its time in both the first and second divisions.

A local player first

Duquemin got his start in football when he was playing for Vauxbelet, and was working as a gardener for a Guernsey monastery. He was spotted – and recommended to Spurs – by a local fan, Ted Zebelia, and was asked to try out for Tottenham immediately after the Second World War.

By September 1946, he was no longer a gardener, but playing for the team professionally, and he finished his first year as a pro as the club’s top scorer, with 15 goals to his name.

Duquemin even played as part of the Spurs team when the club travelled to Guernsey, and faced off against the Guernsey Island XI. The local side almost certainly included a number of players that Duquemin would have known from his time on the island, and alongside whom he would have played before he headed to London.

After retiring from football, Len Duquemin ran a newsagent and a pub. He died in Buckhurst Hill hospital, in east London, on 20 April 2003 after suffering a short illness.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged

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