IN the latest of our 'Getting to know you' features, today we are profiling Winnington Park Hockey Club’s John Stackhouse.

He reveals what attracted him to the sport, his sporting highlight, his top 10 sporting personalities, who he looks up to the most in his sport and much more.

Name: John Stackhouse

Date of birth: 05/05/1960

Place of birth: Northwich

Area I live: Winnington

Schools/colleges/uni attended: Victoria Road and Sir John Deane’s Grammar School

Team I play for: Winnington Park Hockey Club since I was 13, now 60

Q: When did you first start playing hockey and what attracted you to it?

A: I went to Sir John Deane’s when it was a grammar school for boys and took up hockey in my second year.

Q: What do you enjoy most about playing for your club?

A: I have a 47-year playing career to date and I like passing on my skills and experience to younger players and watching their development.

Q: What’s been the highlight of your sporting days so far?

A: Being the captain of the North of England veterans and winning the Divisional tournament.

Q: Who do you look up to in hockey and why?

A: Since breaking into North Masters Hockey I have had the opportunities of playing against and alongside many good players who have played at the highest of levels. The player I look up to the most was my main mentor at Winnington Park, Brian Singleton. He was a solid player, led by example and the best reader of a game I have come across. He was also a great tactician and motivator.

Q: What’s your aims in hockey?

A: I would like to break into the full England veterans’ team. I have had trials but fell just short.

Q: Tell us something nice about one of your teammates

A: One of the nicest playing colleagues I have had the pleasure to play alongside is Brian Wilkes. Never had a lot to say, but when he did, he knows just what to say and at the right times too.

Q: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen in hockey?

A: It wasn’t funny at the time, but we were playing away at Colwyn Bay and our goalkeeper, who was covered in padding, helmet and gloves for his protection, was being shot at by some local kids with a pellet gun, which they thought was great entertainment. However, he kept coming right out of his goals to escape them and it cost us as we lost 2-0 while he went walkabout.

Q: What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of hockey?

A: Speed. The modern game is much faster and speed is essential, so any players with natural speed will always be one step ahead of the game.

Q: If you could pluck any player from elite level to play in your team, who would it be and why?

A: Iain Cherry, who plays for Brooklands. He is no longer a young whippersnapper, but he is one of the best strikers I have played against and is a lovely guy with such a chilled-out approach, but he always delivers.

Q: Which team do you support and what’s been your favourite moment watching them?

A: Witton Albion and it has been since I was in short pants. Despite losing to Colchester, my favourite moment was going to Wembley for the FA Trophy final in 1992. Also in 2017 when Witton won the play off final against Spalding to gain promotion where I was joined by my son and grandsons. Great experiences don’t come round too often and need to be cherished.

Q: Who’s your sporting hero and why?

A: There are so many greats, but my favourites are Muhammad Ali, Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, Paul Gascoigne and John McEnroe. Not only were they at the top of their game, but they were also such great entertainers.

Q: What are your best qualities in hockey?

A: I like to think I am a good organiser, tactician and firm believer in good preparation.

Q: What other sports have you played and what were your achievements?

A: I enjoy playing golf, like to cycle and am not too bad at racket sports, but only socially.

Q: What’s been the most memorable event/match you’ve participated in and why?

A: In a league match against Timperley, we went in at half time losing 3-0. I made a statement saying we were not out of it. It was a feisty, eventful second half and we went on to draw 3-3.

Q: Tell us something about you that your teammates wouldn’t know?

A: If I could wind the clock back, I’m not sure I would have dedicated so much time to hockey, because I would have loved to have been a drummer.

Q: Do you have a set routine in terms of preparation on a match day?

A: I’m not too obsessed for routines nowadays, but in the past, I always putting my left shin pad on before the right. I also recall eating a sausage sandwich before a game and had an absolute stinker, so I haven’t eaten meat on a Saturday before a game since.

Q: What’s the worst part of training for you?

A: I don’t think there are too many aspects of training I dislike, as I’m still as keen today as I’ve always been.

Q: What lessons for life have you learned through your sport?

A: Be organised and prepared, as good planning makes life easier.

Q: When the time comes to retire from playing hockey, would you like to take up a different role in the sport?

A: I have started to umpire some matches but have not found it easy, despite playing for so many years. Playing is my priority rather than other roles.

Q: Who would you say are the top 10 sporting personalities in the world, ever?

1 Muhammad Ali, 2 Pele, 3 George Best, 4 Roger Federer, 5, Nadia Comaneci, 6 John McEnroe, 7 The Williams sisters, 8 Seve Ballesteros, 9 Paul Gascoigne, 10 Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins

Q: Are any other family members involved in sport?

A: I have three children who all follow me in being very competitive. Any sort of games we play are fought over, but only one, my son Paul, has taken up team sports. He has been junior captain at Sandiway Golf Club and also first team captain for Winnington Hockey.

Q: What would you say to somebody to recommend them to your sport and your club?

A: Winnington Park Hockey has been established for well over 100 years and is a thriving club where all ages will be given a warm welcome. We are happy to welcome players both male and female of any ability.

Q: What have been the benefits to you by doing your sport?

A: You get to play, meet and socialise with so many new people you would never have met otherwise.

Q: What’s the worst injury you’ve had and what was the rehab like?

A: I have been well blessed over the years with not having too many injuries, but as you get older, even the mild injuries take longer to shake off.

Q: Is there a sport you haven’t tried but think you might be good at, and why?

A: If I get to the stage where running becomes too problematic, I think I would try crown green bowling. I was shocked on how competitive it was, they were so enthusiastic and there was great banter, so I think it would be right up my street.

If you would like to take part in our 'Getting to know you' feature, email for a Q&A form.