KEITH Rattle is the latest recipient of The FA 50-Year Service award.
The 74-year-old has been actively involved continuously in football in Suffolk for 57 years at Woodbridge Town Football Club.
He was presented with his award by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal before committee members during half time at Woodbridge’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division match against Ely City on Saturday which the Woodpeckers won 4-0.
Keith first represented Woodbridge Town FC aged 17 as a first-team player in back in 1964 and became a club committee member in 1971 and has served on the club committee ever since.
As well as being a 50-year committee member, Keith served on the club’s fundraising committee between 1971 and 2010 and was Honorary Club Secretary for 12 years between 1981 to 1993 during the club’s transition from the Suffolk & Ipswich League to the Eastern Counties Football League Premier Division.
Since then, Keith has been a diligent volunteer as club groundsman, organising the annual pitch mid-season maintenance and preparing and marking out the club’s two pitches every week during the football season.
He has also served as the club gateman collecting entrance fees and programme sales, as well as being a prominent member of Woodbridge Town’s matchday hospitality staff, roles that he continues to still do.
Keith Rattle (left) is pictured above receiving The FA 50-Year Service Award from Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal (right) at Notcutts Park on Saturday. Photograph: Paul Leech.
Keith said: “Obviously I am honoured to receive the award. I know that there are many people who have given and those who will give their time to local football but for whatever reason will not make the 50 years, but their contribution is no less. I suppose I am a marathon runner and not a sprinter.
“I think the main thing is the friendships you make within your own club and those you have come up against either as a player or as a representative of Woodbridge Town.
“At Woodbridge there are a number of us who started off playing at 15 and 16 years of age who still watch on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a pint after the game and discuss the match.
“As a club we have been fortunate to have had some very good people who have given loyal service either on a committee or just giving up their time as volunteer who without any football club would not survive. At present Woodbridge is in very good hands with as strong a committee as I can remember.”