by John Deary
Following a triumphant trip to Germany, which saw the Vintage Clarets return as champions after three previous attempts, we must now plan our defence of the trophy!
We’ve found a format that works for us, so its the same again with some minor adjustments.
Vintage Clarets play matches throughout the summer months, mainly across the local area of Burnley, helping to raise funds for charities and various good causes.
As ex-professional footballers, we take all the games extremely seriously and remain as competitive as we’ve always been, and we combine this with an enjoyable, cheery atmosphere to make the experience even better.
We take a party of 23 to the Annual Veterans Tournament in Germany each year, and its a testament to all the players involved that in the four years we have been going there has not been a cross word, argument or disagreement, which shows the character of genuine caring footballers.
As professionals, we experienced the ups and downs of life and the constant feeling of uncertainty in a profession where it makes the most sane and grounded person question the whole ethos of their dream job.
Most footballers, after having been on a roller coaster ride throughout their career, to suddenly be asked to settle into main stream life, struggle with the adjustment and most are affected with the thought of experiencing normal 9-5 working life.
Its the nature of the beast, and certainly a tough transition to make.
But, the majority of footballers wouldn’t change it as its all about making memories, good friends and most important, having an impact or positive influence on other people’s lives.
So for me, to be fortunate to make another special memory by winning a trophy at an age when most people struggle to walk the dog around the block, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and pride. Not only that, but importantly the enjoyment in the knowledge that a group of old ex-pros, bound together with respect, do it for one another and other people.
We are representing Burnley Football Club, as well as having a responsibility to our sponsors, and its so satisfying to know that we are followed by a small band of fans who are interested in how we get on.
All the lads have the same mentality and I get the same answer whenever a newcomer is asked where would you like to play? “I will play anywhere” is always the answer, which shows a true willingness towards the squad.
Each member of the squad show the same amount of ethic and determination towards our goal, and a special mention should go to the players who played in the final in Germany who are aged around the fifty mark; Dickie Lee – 49, David Hamilton – 54, Paul Atkinson – 53, Roger Eli – 49, Liam Robinson – 49, and to George Oghani – our oldest player at 54 – one of the nicest, genuine most enjoyable people I have met, who has the team’s needs at heart. Whatever is asked of him, whether he does not start the game, to even having to play centre half in the final due to injuries, he does it with a positive attitude.
When we are planning forward, one word we do not use is commitment, as i have found it confusing within the football world.
I have found that when players are handled in the right manner, commitment comes in abundance, but when players are not treated with respect, have orders barked at them, or messed about, then that commitment goes out the window. The players travel long distances to play for the Vintage Clarets, so its safe to say that we don’t need to worry too much about just how committed the players are to the cause.
In closing, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support and hope to see you at our up-coming games on 25th July at Padiham and 2nd August at Nelson.
All the best