Pas­sion for Metro as strong as ever

GOOD SPORT Keith Brun­ton has been a key fix­ture in Auck­land’s sec­ond-old­est football club for more than 46 years. The Metro Football Club first team man­ager and Metro Mt Al­bert Sports Club pres­i­dent has seen the club through its good and bad times. Re­port

Central Leader - - NEWS -

From his first kick-off at the age of 11 to the side­lines 46 years later, Keith Brun­ton is still in love with the game of football.

The Metro Football Club first team man­ager has been vol­un­teer­ing his time for al­most five decades to the point where he has be­come ‘‘part of the fur­ni­ture’’ at the 114-year-old club.

‘‘The club’s won’t sur­vive with­out it. The big­gest gift you can give to a club is your time,’’ Brun­ton says.

As an 11-year-old, the for­mer rugby league player de­cided to jump the creek to the Phyl­lis St Re­serve and fol­low in his brother’s foot­steps on the football pitch. He has never looked back. Brun­ton moved his way up from the ju­nior to se­nior team be­fore fi­nally hang­ing up his boots in his mid-30s.

‘‘My big­gest love is football and in that pe­riod of 17 years of play­ing a lot of peo­ple did a lot of things for me as well and it’s all about giv­ing back.’’

He has also served as pres­i­dent of the Metro Mt Al­bert Sports Club, which com­bines both the codes of football and soft­ball, for the past six years.

Whether it is man­ag­ing the team or sweep­ing out the chang­ing rooms he can al­ways be found dur­ing week­ends ‘‘dabbling around’’ at the club, he says.

‘‘You sort of do it with­out even think­ing half the time.’’

Metro FC was es­tab­lished in 1899 and is sec­ond only to North Shore United for the ti­tle of Auck­land’s old­est football club.

It has been based at Mt Al­bert’s Phyl­lis St Re­serve since 1950.

Times have changed since he first got on board though, Brun­ton says.

‘‘Years ago if you wanted to do re­pairs or ad­di­tions to the club you just put the word out and you got a work­ing bee go­ing.

‘‘It’s a lot harder to get peo­ple down here now.’’

Ded­i­cated vol­un­teers work hard to keep the club tick­ing but like most clubs it takes year-round lob­by­ing to try to at­tract more,’’ he says.

‘‘That’s the big­gest thing that’s changed over the last 20 years.

‘‘Peo­ple just don’t have the time.

‘‘You’ve just got to have a love for the sport and the club that you’re in­volved with.’’

But Brun­ton sees a bright fu­ture for the his­toric club through its young play­ers.

‘‘We’ve cer­tainly been through some bad times but we’re started to get a lit­tle bit stronger in the se­niors with the help of the ju­niors com­ing through.

‘‘We’re build­ing up our youth sec­tion be­cause we’re think­ing we can just pluck play­ers from there rather than from some­one down the road later on.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

One goal:

Metro Football Club’s Keith Brun­ton has ded­i­cated much of his life to football and wants to see his club go far.

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