Anne Cleaver

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.

Antony Owen

Earls Barton United FC

3 thoughts on “Anne Cleaver

  1. Ian Adcock says:

    I’ve only lived in the village for just over 5 years now so am not the best qualified person to talk about Anne, however, that just shows what a remarkable person she was to have already left an impact on me.

    To be a Secretary of a football club is hard work and sometimes a thankless task. To do it for over 25 years is an incredible feat, at any level, but to do both of those things at a club that consistently has more than 15 teams year in year out is miraculous! Let’s not forget, this is a voluntary role and so takes a very special person to take on the responsibility for all others concerned.

    Anne was more than a Secretary though, her love, knowledge and enthusiasm for the club and game proved that. Even in the relatively short time I knew her that was apparent.

    My love and best wishes go out to Geoff and the family at this sad time.

  2. cliff Elliott says:

    This year has been awful for Earls Barton Football Club and our friends from Wittlich . Losing Roland and Anne in the same year is both a massive shock and loss. I still cannot actually believe it. Anne was ill as we all know but it still hit me hard. What this beautiful lady did for Earls Barton is nothing short of heroic. The time , the effort, dedication and her knowledge
    and support will never be matched. I am aware a lot of the new coaches and players didnt really know Anne , but i say to them, the kit you are wearing , the pitches you play on, the friends you have made are all down to the endless meetings , fund raising , arguments, but most of all Annes grit and determination and her love of friendship and football to keep this club going . Annes legacy will live on for many many years . I have lost a dear friend who i will never ever forget. Geoff , Matt, Andy and all the family , my heart goes out to you all. You were blessed to have had Anne as a wife and a mum and nan to your kids. I was blessed to have known her. I will miss her dearly .
    Anne Cleaver RIP .
    Love from Cliff

  3. Lawrence says:

    Referee just moved to EB. Have fond memories of Anne, who I must add was never shy to tell me that I hadhad a bad game! (fortunately not too often)
    Condolances and Best wishes to all of Anne’s family and friends. She will be sorely missed.
    The legacy that she has left behind is a first class club populated by excellent people.
    Go out and play well, whatever the result, in her name this weekend.

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