Martin Faircloth from Sinjuns Grammarians FC received his FA Long Service Award for over 50 years volunteering in grassroots football.
Read what Martin had to say about what it meant to him and learn more about his football journey.
My first recollection of organised team football was playing for my primary school in Putney first team at the age of 8, culminating three years later not losing a match until the final of the Putney Schools cup.
I played centre half for my school and goalkeeper on Sundays, but moved to centre forward at the age of 11.
Having passed my 11 Plus, I was accepted by Sir Walter St. John’s Grammar School and played for the school team in every year, unbeaten in my final year. At 16 I joined an adult Sunday Club, becoming Secretary and Manager a year later. At the same time, I played for the Old Boys, meaning that I was playing four times a week, and as many did at the time, including three games at the weekend.
At 17 I broke into Old Sinjuns first team and in my first full season scored two goals in the drawn final and the winner in the replay of the AFA (Surrey) Senior Cup against Catford Wanderers. I also played for the Old Boy’s League team but mostly in the ‘B’ team run by Malcolm Perks. Sadly, most games were on a Sunday and my loyalties were with my Sunday side.
Old Sinjuns reached the Premier Division of the Old Boy’s League and were Runners Up in the London Old Boy’s Cup, losing to our great rivals Old Grammarians.
I was top goal scorer for the club most years before gradually moving back to midfield, defence and then goalie. My claim to fame, however, was being selected to play for the first team at the age of 50, albeit in goal for a very weak side and my final game for the club was at the age of 65, when I realised that I had no pace left in my legs. I qualified a Referee in 2006 and am still officiating as a club referee, quintessential poacher turned gamekeeper.
Quite early on at Sinjuns, I took on the role of Match Secretary and then Secretary, a position I still hold more than 40 years later for our combined Club of Sinjuns Grammarians.
It was a pleasure to receive my FA Long Service Award, something I have earned not by ability but through longevity.
Sinjuns Grammarians FC