50th Anniversary For Bob
Tue 11th August 2015 | Daisy Hill | By Ian Templeman
The beginning of another league season on Saturday meant the return to a familiar routine for long serving Daisy Hill Secretary Bob Naylor.
This summer saw Bob reach his 50th anniversary as Secretary at New Sirs, and he is now the only Secretary in the NWCFL who has been in the role continuously at the same club since the League began in 1982.
Up to a couple of months ago, Bob shared the notable achievement with Glossop North End Secretary Peter Hammond, but Glossop’s promotion to the Evo-Stik League means Bob now holds the NWCFL record for himself.
Obviously the role has changed considerably over the years Bob has been doing it, and he admits that while you can’t stand in the way of progress, many of the changes mean the workload is considerably more involved and time consuming than it used to be.
"The job is totally different today - there's no comparison", he said. "When I started, Daisy Hill were playing in the Bolton Combination, and the league committee met every Friday evening in the Pack Horse in Bolton Town Centre.
"There were no periodic meetings, just an AGM, and all other business was done at the Pack Horse. Club secretaries would go down and make a night of it, and apart from that, all you needed to do the job was a biro and a few stamps.
"Now if you look at what's involved, everything is on PC, and the FA have introduced the Full Time system, and the Whole Game system for discipline and affiliations. You need to be very PC literate and well organised to achieve everything, and in many ways it's gone from being a hobby to being a chore".
The increasing complexity and time involved in the job is something that concerns Bob, as he believes that clubs will find it increasingly difficult to recruit a Secretary with the time, skills and experience to carry out the job.
"I joined the Daisy Hill committee in 1961 and was the Assistant Secretary for four years, before the existing Secretary asked if I could take over", he explained.
"It meant that I had a good understanding of what was involved and it wasn't too difficult to pick it up. And over the years as all the changes have come in, I've grown up with them, as it were.
"But if someone was to come in from out with a club to try and take the job on, I think these days they would find it quite difficult, maybe off putting.
"In terms of administration it's a big job. There isn't a day goes by when you aren't doing something football related. I hope we don't get anything else to do, there is really isn't much more time people can give to the job. You need to be very organised and patient - and having a good wife is also very important!"
After having lived through all the changes and increased workload, Bob is well placed to comment on how the job has become more difficult, and there is one particular area that he feels clubs need some assistance with.
"Dealing with discipline and the systems involved is one thing that I really wish could be changed", he said. "There is probably no ideal solution, but I wish someone could come up with something better than we have now.
"Aside of all the admin involved, clubs can end up being hundreds of pounds out of pocket and have to chase players to get the money back. And you never get it all back".
But despite his concerns about the increasing workload, Bob still can't contemplate life without his responsibilities at the club.
"I still have the same enthusiasm for the job now as I did when I started", he said. "A lot of the same problems are still around, although these days, there is more of a "couldn't care less" attitude in modern society and it's more difficult to persuade people to get involved in the club and help out.
"But it's become part of my life, I'm down at the ground several times a week, and you still get enjoyment out of being involved.
“Over the summer we've upgraded the facilities in the dressing rooms, installed new seats in the covered seating area, and work has begun on a new junior pitch for the junior teams to use.
"Seeing that sort of thing happening makes it all worthwhile".