Johnny Gibbons will follow a tried-and-trusted organisational method in planning the 50th Anniversary of St Joseph’s AFC, writes Tom Scott.
People within and outside of football refer to Mr Gibbons as either the St Joseph’s Chairman or President, but he immediately offered corrections on those theories!
“It’s never been about titles at St Joes,” he revealed.
“Everyone is part of the family. We didn’t even have a top-table as such when we celebrated 40 years in 2011.”
“Yes, I deal with just about everything from looking after the strips / making sure they are washed etc, training kit and footballs. Whatever the Manager needs – he gets! That’s the way it should be.”
Current Government restrictions mean the Caledonian League newcomers are held back from pushing through everything connected to 50 years, but a venue has been identified, and Johnny added: “What we did ten years ago will form our plans for the big one.”
“We will send out letters to former managers, ex-players, and probably two or three guests inviting them to attend when we determine the exact date.”
“Once we find out who can commit, then they are given options to choose their preferences on a three-course meal.”
Going back to the days when he signed as a player (1983-1984) from Welfare League Football, Johnny told me of one very special guest who is assured of a tremendous 50th Anniversary welcome – Founder and Past President Mr David Ward, who we can see in photographs with Johnny Gibbons.
The silverware on show relates to another St Joseph’s Scottish Amateur League Premier Division title and Cup double around three years ago, and Johnny visited David at his Erskine Hospital home.
He added fondly: “I went there on 21st May just after we won the double, and he was thrilled to see our success.”
“I love to relate a typical story about him from a few years back. He always came to watch the weekly games, but one time we didn’t see him at all for around 10 weeks. We tried to find out if he was ok – without success – and then one day sure enough he turns up to watch the team.”
“Would you believe it; David had been in hospital undergoing major heart surgery – and here he was back at the Club he started because he had spotted boys kicking a football about, they were talented in his opinion, and as they couldn’t get anybody to manage them, he stepped in and got them accepted into a proper League – that was the start of St Joseph’s AFC.”
Huge thanks to Mr Johnny Gibbons for his time, and the photographs.