I’ve enjoyed every minute, says AFL workhorse David

David Rattigan receives 50 year service award from Barry Chaplin on the West Riding County FA
David Rattigan receives 50 year service award from Barry Chaplin on the West Riding County FA

David Rattigan, the popular, quietly efficient and seemingly unflappable fixture secretary of the Halifax AFL, has had his efforts recognised by the English FA.

The 71-year-old received a medal, lapel badge and a letter of thanks in recognition of a 50-year connection with the sport at Monday’s Halifax FA meeting at Pellon Club.

The presentation was made by Barry Chaplin, president of the West Riding County FA and the body’s representative to the English FA.

Rattigan’s has actually been involved in local football for more than half a century. He started playing for Sowerby Youth under 16s and has been a one-club man.

Youth joined the open age Halifax AFL in 1966 and eventually became Sowerby United. The pinnacle of Rattigan’s playing career came in 1975 when he captained them to the top-section title and Challenge Cup double.

He then turned his hand to refereeing, officiating in the Halifax AFL for around 10 years and also acting as a supply referee to the West Riding County Amateur League.

In 1988 Rattigan was approached by current league president Mick Sheppard to be the AFL’s fixture secretary and he has now completed 30 years in the role.

For the last five years he has also been the registration secretary and for the last two the referees’ appointments secretary.

He is a life member of the Halifax AFL and the Halifax FA and he has done his three-year stint as president of the latter body. He has also won the Eddie Hebblethwaite Trophy for services to local football.

He also does a tremendous job in helping to publicise the league by supplying results, scorers, tables and reports to the ‘Courier’.

Rattigan is certainly a creature of habit. He worked at the same place, Dugdale’s PV Comounds for 42 years, near his home in Sowerby Bridge.

Rattigan rates the most recent season as the most challenging he can remember for postponements due to bad weather but his enthusiasm for local football is not waning.

He said: “I have had an awful lot of pleasure out of the game. I’ve enjoyed every minute as a player, a referee and an administrator.”

He said he had received tremendous backing from his wife Susan, who has been secretary at Sowerby United for 38 years, and their daughter Pia.

Rattigan has no plans to step down but he and other officials are increasingly aware of their advancing years. “We do need to get some younger people involved,” he said.