A club stalwart who has been involved with Squires Gate FC for almost 60 years says he has been left “humbled” and “proud” after having the ground name in his honour.
Former club captain and chairman Brian Addison has made an enormous contribution to the semi-professional North West Counties Football League club ever since starting out as a player in the 1950s.
Brian first began his journey with the Marton club as a player in 1958, when he was 18. His playing career didn’t finish until the ripe old age of 54.
After that, he joined the club’s committee and served as vice-chairman for 10 years and as chairman for a further five years.
Now 77, Brian is still doing his bit as the club’s groundsman.
“It came as a complete surprise to me,” he said of the decision to rename the School Road ground Brian Addison Stadium. “To say I was amazed, pleased, humbled and proud would be an understatement.
“The club has played a massive part of my life. I’ve made a lot of good friends because of it and it has been a great honour to have been involved.”
The club has confirmed that the club will bear Brian’s name for at least a year.
A Gate spokesperson said: “Many will know of the overwhelming contribution Brian has made to the club over the 60 odd years he’s been at the club, fulfilling every role imaginable.
“It’s fair to say Squires Gate simply wouldn’t exist without Brian Addison.
“Brian is currently fulfilling the role of groundsman, a postion which, like all his previous roles, he takes the upmost care and pride in.
“This is evident in the quality of the award-winning surface, which is one of the best in the league.
“Brian’s passion and commitment to the club is something we feel optimises what non-league is all about. Brian is an example and role model to us all at the club.”
Chairman Stuart Hopwood said: “This is just a small gesture for someone who means and has done so much for this club.
“Brian is why many of us came and are still here. His love for the game and club is infectious.”
Brian says he intends to keep working for the club for as long as his health allows.
He added: “The club has massively changed during my time. It played a big part of the local football leagues before making a massive step up in levels.
“The club hasn’t won many trophies but it has always competed very well. They did make the quarter-final stage of the FA Vase, which was a great moment.
“A lot of people have helped make this club very special, I am not the only one who put in a lot of time and effort.
“I intend to stay and be involved with the club for as long as I can do and as long as my health allows me to, I’ll keep going.”
Brian’s beloved Gate has started 2017 well and are unbeaten in four games, a run they will be confident of extending away to struggling Darwen in the Hallmark Security League premier division tomorrow.
Neighbours AFC Blackpool aim to play their first home game of the year against promotion challengers Sandbach in the first division tomorrow.
AFC are anxious for a change of fortunes, having been hit for six by City of Liverpool last weekend.
Their previous home match had to be called off due to vandalism at the Mechanics Ground.