ONE of Calderdale’s most enduring and popular sporting figures is finally hanging up his goalkeeping gloves after 49 seasons of service to the sport he loves.
Mick Neville is hoping to take up his place between the posts for at least part of Halifax Rangers Reserves’ final Division Two game of the season against Elland Sports Reserves tomorrow.
Neville, who was 63 on Tuesday, has been forced to call it a day due to ill-health. However, that did not prevent him playing the full 90 minutes in Thursday night’s 6-1 defeat by Stallions.
Those exertions may rule him out of tomorrow’s game, but he is hoping to turn out one final time even if it is not for the full game.
“It meant so much to me to play on Thursday night,” said Neville, who is also the President and a life member of the Sunday League and life member of the Halifax AFL. “It was a bit emotional and both sets of players were absolutely brilliant.
“I made a couple of saves which I was pleased with but there were a couple of the goals where I thought ‘12 months ago I would have got to that’.
“I desperately want to play on Sunday as it is the last game of the season. My head certainly wants me to play but me body is telling me something different. I have to believe I can do it.
“Mel Owens at Rangers has been absolutely fantastic and if I am up to it I know he will let me play.”
Neville admits it will be difficult to give up and wished to show his gratitude to everybody in the local football faternity who have wished him well.
“I have been very grateful for and extremely touched by all the support and encouragment I have received, particularly over the last couple of months,” said Neville,
“I just want to say a big thank you to everybody. It has been absolutely tremendous. There are great people connected with local football, both Saturday and Sunday, and the messages I have received have just been fantastic.”
“I have been very lucky in that I have been able to do something I am passionate about,which is playing football, for so long and I will miss it big time.”
Premier Division champions King Cross CB&AC are expected to get their hands on the championship trophy tomorrow following their game with the team they have deposed, Royal Hotel.
The only other game in the top flight sees Halifax Hammers aiming for a third place finish if they can beat Carrington Rangers.
The scramble to climb away from the Division One relegation zone goes up another notch with Queens Head desperate to get a result from their home clash with Greystones SC.
Queens need to win their final game then hope the two clubs above them slip up.
Old Pond have two games to play but face champions Elland Sports on Monday before finishing at home to Bradshaw next weekend.
Sun Inn (Rastrick), meanwhile, must sweat it out tomorrow as they have no game.