You share the same goal as somebody, sit around meetings and spend lots of time on the phone, e-mail and visits, but until you are faced with the news that they are no longer with you, and the tears fall as you hear of their passing, more tears as you inform others and finally more tears as the over whelming declaration of affection comes from far and wide. Too late you realise they meant so much more than you could ever appreciate.
Anne Cleaver passed away on the 21st September and her dedication to her family, friends, and the community was endless.
Whilst it was one of the saddest days in Earls Barton United’s history, on that night I took the Under 16 squad for training and they in turn helped the under 13’s prepare for the weekend game, only interested in getting the best from their juniors. On Saturday morning I took the under 7, for some their first ever game, others it was their 2nd. These moments are what Anne would like her legacy to be.
Football where there are no boundaries, where children show innocence untainted by the prejudices of the world. At Earls Barton we have girls football, but this week the boundaries were pushed again as the boys under 14 and 13 teams, invited the more developed girls to join them not only improving their own squads, but helping also to develop the girls with different challenges.
29 years, Anne has been part of football in Earls Barton and the County. So many club secretaries have written expressing their thanks to Anne for supporting them over the years with advice and friendship. Opposition on the pitch yes, but the sharing of the common goal.
Steve Legg of Corby Kingswood wrote: –
“Anne was a unique person and I only wish that some of the leagues would have listened to her wise words. I was extremely lucky to have met Anne and Geoff 20 years ago, when our boys played against each other over at the pioneer. In that time I did not hesitate to ring Anne for advice.”
Anne had a favourite poem, a reminder to adults that children deserve the right to be children.
“They stand on the field their heart beating fast,
The whistle has blown, the die has been cast.
Mum and dad cannot help, they stand all alone,
A goal at this moment, will send the team home.
The ball near their feet, they kick and it misses,
There’s a moan from the crowd, some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries “take off the bum”
Tears fill their eyes it’s no longer fun.
If your ever tempted to shout or to groan,
Remember it’s a child, who stands all alone.
So open your heart, give them a break,
It’s moments like this, a player you make.
Keep this in mind, please do not forget,
They’re only children, not adults yet.”
If we are to ensure Anne’s memory and legacy continue in the right way, then it must start with remembering, it doesn’t matter whether you are a child or adult, player or official, spectator or volunteer, respect each other, bring the best out of each other and be true to your own development. Share with others what you have learnt and ensure your friends and teammates are not standing alone.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Geoff, Matthew, Andrew and their families, at this very difficult time. May the grieving process be eased in the knowledge of what an amazing person Anne was, and how she had touched the hearts of so many.
Earls Barton United FC