“Hopefully we’re going to put on a really brilliant day for his family” says Baker ahead of James Dean Memorial Trophy game
Ex-FC Halifax Town captain Tom Baker says he hopes Sunday’s James Dean Memorial Trophy match will help celebrate the legacy of the former Shaymen striker.
Sunday’s game will see former team-mates of Dean’s from Chorley and Halifax go head-to-head at Chorley’s Victory Park, with several family-fun activities lined up throughout the day.
“I’m really looking forward to the day now,” said Baker, who has helped organise the event. “There’s been a lot of planning involved and a lot of hard work from everyone to make sure we’re creating the best day possible.
“I’m just really excited and hopefully we’re going to put on a brilliant day for his family.
“When I set up the two WhatsApp groups for the two squads and everyone started communicating, we said it’s sad that it’s taken such a tragic event to get us all speaking again and back together, but we’re glad we are.
“You can’t turn back time, what’s happened has happened, unfortunately that’s going to affect James’ family for a long, long time, but all we can do as friends is try and create something special and put something on that really shows the family what everyone thought about him.
“As tragic as what’s happened was, you’ve got to try and create something positive out of it, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Tickets are now on sale via the Chorley FC website, costing £10 for adults, £5 for six-to-16-year-olds and free for under-6s.
“I’m hoping we’ll get over a thousand,” said Baker, “but I can’t stress enough that we really need everyone’s support and we need people to buy tickets.
“I think there’ll be a large proportion of people who come and pay on the day, and we really need that.
“The two clubs have both got great support, they’re great clubs, and I hope everybody in the non-league community turns out in force to show what he meant.
“He was a huge player at the level we played at, in my opinion, one of the best number nines that the level has seen.
“I just hope everybody turns out and we get a really good attendance.”
Baker is expecting it to be an emotional day.
“I’m expecting it to be mixed, obviously it will be emotional but I think it’ll be really positive as well, really exciting, a bit of both really,” he said.
“It’s going to be emotional in parts, it can’t not be when you see James’ family and his two boys, it’s hard not to get upset and wonder how they’re feeling.
“But we just need to be positive, remember what a good player and what a good man he was, and celebrate his legacy, that’s what it’s about, and everyone being together, his family, his ex team-mates, supporters.”
There will be two squads of around 18, managed by former Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft and ex-Halifax manager Neil Aspin, with the players taking part being announced this week.
“There’ll be some really familiar faces and some legends from both clubs that the supporters will want to come and see.
“Watch out, because there’s going to be loads of announcements this week.
“There’s a supporters game on Sunday morning as well, between Chorley and Halifax, which is brilliant, which kicks-off at half past ten, and as far as I’m aware, I believe Pete Wild is managing the supporters team, which I thought was fantastic.
“So there’s loads on, it’s going to be a really good day, even for people who maybe didn’t know Deano, there’s loads of stuff on for kids, it’ll be a fantastic day.”