FA’s re­ward for the real he­roes

Macclesfield Express - - SPORT - RACHAEL WARHAM

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.