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FOOTBALL: Royal reception for the Maddocks
MOSS Farm 7s are something of a footballing institution in Northwich.
Thousands of players have descended on the sports complex during the 32-year history of a competition once topping 100 teams per season.
This season almost 60 sides compete every week thanks to the work of husband and wife team Brian and Pat Maddock, a commitment that last Monday saw them honoured by Prince William at the Football Association’s 150th anniversary event.
Brian and Pat, both 67 from Winnington, visited Buckingham Palace having previously collected Cheshire FA’s People’s Choice prize for their outstanding contribution to community football.
“We were so well looked after,” said Brian.
“The Prince thanked us for our work and asked us to keep it going.
“It was very nice, but out of 150 volunteers from the whole country, three were from Cheshire so that’s fantastic.
“It wouldn’t matter who was receiving the awards, it’s just great it’s someone on behalf of football in Cheshire.”
The duo were joined by Cheshire’s Gerry Sweeney and witnessed Buckingham Palace’s first ever football match.
“We enjoyed a buffet and watched the game,” added Brian.
“It was difficult getting my wheelchair close so I sat on the steps near the Changing of the Guard.”
Brian’s roles span the District FA, Cheshire Referees’ Association and Youth Committee, but the Moss Farm leagues originated after he organised a work game at Lucas Garage more than three decades ago.
“I knew lads at Dane County and Willows Garage, so we played them too,” he explained.
“We got up to 11 teams and the FA wanted us to become affiliated, it all went from there.
“I played goalkeeper for Lucas in a Central Cheshire League – I guess that was the origin of the now Lostock Gralam side – we were never that successful, but I enjoyed it.”
However, Brian has no intention of quitting the game yet.
“We’ll keep going as long as we can,” he said.
“My work is mostly computer based now, but I try and get down for cup finals.
“The committee are very good, somebody picks me up and I plonk myself down somewhere.
“There are good teams and some ex-professionals like Shaun Came, who played for Macclesfield Town.”
And Pat believes Moss Farm 7s’ success comes from the social environment on offer.
“The neighbours laugh as there’s always someone knocking on the door with a registration form,” she added.
“It’s very nice to think that people do appreciate it, but we do it for the community, so the lads can play football.
“If people can have some enjoyment by going out and being together in a group, even just once a week, then that’s brilliant.”