BURTON Junior Football League has celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a VIP event at Marston’s Sports and Social Club.
The league was first established in 1988 with a collection of six clubs: Barton Rovers, Edge Hill, Eton Park, Etwall Raiders, Hatton Grasshoppers and Winshill FC playing in the Burton Mail junior under-14s league.
Since then the league has grown and grown and currently provides football for 4000 players, across 298 teams from 43 clubs from Uttoxeter up to Mayfield, to Derby, to Ashby in Leicestershire and down to Lichfield.
“This season alone will see 3,000 fixtures across all age groups from under 7s to the Youth League.
BJFL chairman Malc Wheildon (pictured below) said: “This event has been a fantastic celebration. Congratulations to everyone involved in the league. We are so proud of what has been achieved and are now busy planning the next 25 years.”
Wheildon and general secretary Mark Jones paid tribute to the achievements of everyone involved, past and present.
Long service awards were given to Gary Dunne, Shaun Crawley, Dave Hackett, Richard Waldrum, Ian Davies and Ian Gutberlet. Referee awards were given to Mick Heath and Graham Smout. A particularly special trophy was presented to Jim Stanley who was made honorary vice-president of the League for his 10 plus years of service to the BJFL.
Council leader Richard Grosvenor commended the league for all it has achieved for the community and committed to continue with its greatly valued support as main sponsor.
Ben Robinson talked about the close relationship between the League and Burton Albion over the years and told some entertaining anecdotes from the world of professional football.
BJFL vice-president Bron Moss paid tribute to the current committee members who have 80 years combined service and spoke with pride about the BJFL family.
She also thanked current sponsors East Staffordshire Borough Council, Winshill Soccer School, Arriva Midlands, Handprint Design & Print, Brian Mole Financial Services, Midland Fire Security Services, Marley Eternit, Taylor Made Flooring, McDonalds, Hardy Signs, TAG, DHL Tradeteam, KL Engineering, Burton Albion Community Trust, SCI Youth Football Festivals and Zafire – without whom the league could not function.
The event was attended by many of the league clubs’ chairmen or secretaries and there was a fantastic display of press cuttings, league successes, photographs and club stories.
Special tribute was paid to Floyd Davidson in whose memory the under-15 knockout is played every year.