Tag: non league

The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup for U9’s Coach Justin

The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup was certainly alive in this third round qualifying tie replay with Stratford Town at home to Scarborough AFC

I was there as coach of Stratford Town’s U9’s who were official mascots for the match and an end to end match went into ET.

In the 100th minute, the ref went down injured and a call went out over the tannoy for any official that may be in the crowd to step in and ensure the match could be finished. Under immediate pressure from our 8yr old son, Arlen and a fellow parent, I took the plunge in front of 500 spectators with over £7k awaiting the winners.

I had ‘retired’ from grassroots refereeing at the end of 2015/16 season to coach my team and not picked up a whistle/flag since. I was briefed quickly by the ‘new’ ref and it was only when I got my flag in hand, I realised the task at hand!

Scarborough fans chanting I would be biased, Stratford fans asking me to do them a ‘favour’. I was nervous, excited, proud but overall, did not want to create further controversy and give a ‘dodgy’ decision. I ended giving 4 throw ins and kept my flag down for Scarborough’s 4th goal – phew ! However tense the game was – it was 1-1 when I came on – I would do it again and keep our spirit of grassroots alive.

It was an honour to be involved (shame we lost, though !)

Justin Keaney

Albie 9 pays tribute to his father who passed away by being a mascot at there favourite club.

A non-league football loving eight year old whose father died recently was given an “awesome” surprise at being made mascot for an East Thurrock United match last Saturday. 

 Albie Butcher, a pupil at Corringham Primary School from Stanford-le-Hope, would often be taken to non league games with his father Neil Butcher, before Neil unexpectedly passed away on 10 February aged 47, after contracting sepsis.  

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Having received counselling at school since Neils death, it was the idea of Mrs Lawrence and Mrs Webster to invite Albie along with the school football team on the premise of watching the East Thurrock v Staines Ryman premier match before surprising Albie by revealing he was to be the mascot.   
Albie a goalkeeper for Averley under nines was then given the referee’s silver coin by match official Rick Bloy and had his picture taken with East Thurrock keeper Lukas Lidakevicius and described the day as “awesome!” 
Albie said “Me and my dad and my brother used to watch lower league football. We followed Ebbsfleet, but hadn’t been to a game in a while as my daddy was poorly”.   

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“I was really amazed because me and my dad loved football and spent all weekends watching and talking about it. We stayed and watched the whole game and I really enjoyed it” 

His mother Lisa Humphrys said the referee’s coin had taken pride of place on his dressing table and that Albie was already looking forward to attending the next East Thurrock match, when the team play Grays on Easter Monday. 
She added :”Non-League is in his blood, I suppose to another child it wouldn’t mean much, but to him it means as much as to go and watch a Premier League game.. Saturday was really special to Albie because football was special to him and his dad.” 

Story via thttp://www.theenquirer.co.uk/wp-content/themes/twentyfourteen/flip/thurrock-24-03-16/#32


We send our very best to Albiee and his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.