FA’s reward for the real heroes
THE Macclesfield Town players will be heralded as club legends at Wembley on Sunday – providing they win the FA Trophy final against York City!
But for two of the club’s long-serving volunteers, Barrie Darcey and Phil Gibbons, heroic status was established a long time ago.
And the duo’s years of sterling work for the Silkmen will be recognised by the Football Association at Wembley this weekend.
Upon reaching the showpiece final, all four clubs taking part in non league finals day were asked to nominate two volunteers whose work at the club often goes under the radar – but is nonetheless essential.
The nod of appreciation from the FA is designed to highlight the importance of volunteers at lower levels of football, without whom many clubs would cease to exist.
Barrie spends three to four days a week volunteering at the club and is part of the management team that runs the business side of affairs at Moss Rose.
For the last 16-years, the man who is also a season-ticket holder at Macc has been involved in administration and the finance of the club; ensuring the club’s bills and players’ wages are paid on time.
He was notably involved in steering the club away from the threat of administration in the noughties.
A modest man, he is clearly a reluctant recipient of any kind of recognition for the work he so tirelessly carries out.
“I’m the guy in the background and not comfortable with this kind of attention,” he said, though he readily admits tolooking forward to the match on Sunday against York City, set to be one of the biggest games in recent times for the club.
“It’ll be a great day for the town and supporters. We’re just going to hope for the best.”
He did though, stop short of giving a prediction: “It’s always difficult to say what you think will happen. I don’t want to upset the applecart.”
And when asked how long he expects to continue with his role at the club he admitted: “I can’t go on forever”.
The self-confessed “jack of all trades” doesn’t know whether he will be awarded with a medal or trophy or some other token of gesture but Barrie is hoping that it will be as low-key as possible: “I wasn’t expecting to be nominated by the club so I just hope I don’t have to do a lap of honour!”
Phil spent 20 years helping to run the half time raffle, was social secretary of the supporters club for 10 years and has spent the last four years as chairman of the Volunteers of MTFC.
“We put on Player of the Year events and we like to remember our past, so we’ve had reunions of teams who went to Wembley in 1996 and we recently had a dinner for the treble winning team of 1987.
“We are a forward-looking club but we like to remember our past.”
Having been to all three of Macclesfield’s previous FA Trophy final appearances at Wembley, this one has special significance on a personal level.
“I’ve been following the club since 1964 and I’ve been on the staff here as a matchday volunteer since 1989, so obviously the club has been a very big part of my life.
“Trips like going to Wembley are very special and even more so for me now that I’ve been informed I’m to receive an award for my volunteering duties over the years.”
Barrie Day’s work at Macclesfield Town has been invaluable and he will acknowledged at Wembley on Sunday
Phil Gibbons has followed Macc since 1964