On Friday morning the flags over The Creek were lowered to half-mast for you.
We’d all known for a while that the end was near but none of us in our wildest imaginations ever thought that you would be so cruelly taken from us just three days prior to the team’s promotion Play-Off Final.
It seems impossible that you won’t be around for the biggest game in the history of Bristol Manor Farm Football Club – the club that you totally dedicated your long life to and built in your own image.
On Friday evening, as the sun was setting and the flags hung sombre and limp, some of us – a tiny fraction of the countless number of people you’ve touched the lives of over the years – began gathering at The Creek to pay our respects. Amongst them was your dearest, closest friend of well over sixty years, “Snowy”, who kept us fascinated and humble with tales about the early origins of the club, your own playing days and the endless kindness and support shown to him personally by you and your own family over the years.
That kindness and support were at the very core of your being Geoff and, as Snowy warmly spoke, everyone around that table all had examples of their own begin playing through their minds. Just as everyone who ever came into your orbit over the decades would’ve done too.
You always made time for everyone and – a rare thing this – you genuinely took an interest in the lives and welfare of others around you.
But you also had a great competitive drive to succeed at whatever you were doing in life too. Whether it be the regional retail empire you created as a young man or the football club you played for and eventually took full stewardship of in the last few years of the 20th Century – you strove to succeed all the way. Even in the skittle alley – especially in the skittle alley!
With the Social Club too you were right across every detail of anything going on at The Creek – tirelessly committed to constantly improving things both on and off the pitch for Bristol Manor Farm Football Club and the surrounding local communities it still so proudly serves.
THANK YOU GEOFF – what a football club you gave us – such a magnificent gift to be cherished by this and future Bristol generations forever.
And here we stand, with the club on the very cusp of glory without you… Life couldn’t be more unfair.
All your hard work, all your dreams and your highest aspirations for the club are glowing so brightly right now, their completion so near to our grasp that WE KNOW – each and every one of us – all have a part to play on Monday in fulfilling your final wish.
We’re taking coach-loads, car-loads and mini-buses to Winchester on Monday with your memory in the hearts of all of us, your name in our fervent songs and the club’s proud name upon all our shirts and scarves. Oh, you’ll be with us alright in Hampshire, Geoff, and we’re going to do you proud. “Thass right…”
We Love You, Rest In Peace.
Bristol Manor Farm FC