Rance himself tells the tale: “I was asked by Ian Dyer to find out whether or not Dylan was the youngest player ever to represent the club in a first-team game.
“As far as I have always been aware the youngest player making his debut was Perry Tunesi.
“Perry made his debut on 17th August 1974 (v Staines Town, 0-0). Perry went on to make 380 appearances scoring 54 goals in a 12-year period. When Perry (here on the right, in the centre) made his debut he was described as a '16-year-old prodigy'. Unfortunately, there is no accurate record of his age from that time.”
“So, a bit of Internet digging was required and I was able to confirm that Perry Tunesi was born in September 1957, in Middlesex, but couldn't tie it down to a particular date. The only other thing that I knew about Perry was that whilst playing for us he was often away studying at University.
“So, next step, putting in Perry Tunesi into Google search. I came up with a few possibilities. One of them seemed likely, given his university education.
“There is a Perry Tunesi who is the Principal of Sha Tin Junior School, in Hong Kong. The photo on the School website looks like a man who would be aged around 60. There was an email address for him, so nothing ventured.......
“I sent an email on Monday evening, knowing that there is a time difference between us and Hong Kong, I had to wait until Tuesday to see if there would be a positive reply to my email. Low, and behold, on Tuesday morning, a reply from Perry.”
“Yes, it is me”, he said.
“And the date of birth is 16th September 1957. Prior to his debut he had played for Hampton under-16s in 1973/74, having returned from Australia to the UK in 1973. Perry says he will watch Dylan's progress with interest.
“So, on his debut, Perry was 16 years and 335 days”.