OVER half a century of life in football is drawing to a close for Walter Pell following the announcement that he is relinquishing his role as the Halifax Sunday League’s registration secretary at the end of this season.
It will bring an end to 33 years of signing players on for the various teams as well as eight years spent as the fixture secretary.That was all after a lengthy playing career which started with Bradford junior side Bowling White Star at under 16 level.
Pell, who will be 80 next birthday, said he would still be involved with the Sunday League in his position as a life member, but is looking forward to spending more time playing bowls - a sport he took up after retiring from local cricket at the age of 50 after giving his services to Stainland and Barkisland.
“I thought it was time for somebody else to have a go,” said Pell, who in his time in football has collected the Eddie Hebblethwaite Trophy for services to local football as well as a 50 year service award from the FA.
“I will still be entitled to go to meetings as a life member, but it also means that I won’t have to turn out when the weather is too cold.”
Pell, who lives at Oakes, Huddersfield, started his Halifax football career with Holywell Green Rangers under 18s before moving into open-age football with Elland Athletic. That club eventually became Stainland Athletic which in turn emerged as the Stainland United still playing in the Halifax AFL today.
His time at Stainland, where he played inside forward or wing half, led to one of Pell’s biggest regrets - missing out on a senior cup final.
“I was due to play but I played in a Workshop game a few days before and got injured so missed it,” said Pell.
“That is still a great regret for me - missing the chance to play in a final.”
Pell went some way to making up for it, however when, as a referee, he did take charge of a senior cup showpiece.
He had turned to refereeing at the age of 29, starting off in the Red Triangle League before progressing onto the Halifax Saturday and Sunday Leagues and the West Riding County Amateur League. He also ran the line for Yorkshire League games.
His involvement in league matters arrived when he was elected onto the Sunday League committee as fixture secretary at the same meeting as Philip Walker started his tenure as treasurer - a role he only relinquished last season.
“I enjoyed football as a player and I have had the same level of satisfaction being involved on the administration side,” added Pell.
“The reason I changed from fixture to registration secretary was through work commitments. I was a textile designer at John Foster’s and I found the time needed for the registration secretaries job fitted in better.
“The difficult time always comes in August when I register between 700 to 750 players before the season starts.
“This season the total registrations topped 1,000 players so it has meant a lot of hours spent sorting everything out.”