Last Saturday was a very special day at Athersley Recreation Football Club.
The club held a Day of Honour for Club Legend and Captain Ryan White, who has been a loyal servant to the club for 25 years, notching up to date an incredible total of 1042 appearances at all levels for the Rec, since making his debut in the Barnsley U13 Junior League on Sunday 13 September 1992 against Cudworth Boys,
Included in the 1042 appearances are 22 appearances at Oakwell in various cup finals over the years.
Ryan worked his way through the Recs youth teams to eventually make his mark in the first team. His ability and ambition enabled him to move to play in a higher standard of football representing Gateshead, Ossett Albion and Ossett Town for his Saturday football but the devoted player and Rec-man he was, Ryan continued to play for the club’s Sunday League team.
When Athersley Rec’s Saturday team gained promotion to the Northern Counties East League First Division, Ryan returned to captain the side and led them to promotion to the Premier Division at the first attempt finishing runners up to Albion Sports.
The Rec for years has been a club and team at the very top of local football playing in countless Barnsley & District FA finals on both Saturday and Sundays, along with a fantastic record in the County Senior League, winning League titles and Cup competitions on a regular basis.
In the season 2013-14, on the 6th May 2014, came the highlight of Ryan’s career and indeed Athersley Rec’s history when they won the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior Cup at Hillsborough defeating Frickley Athletic of the then Evo Stik League by 1 – 0, to become the only club in the history of Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA to win both the Junior and Senior cups.
Known as a tough tackling midfielder, Ryan is a legend in local football circles and apart from playing many finals at Oakwell he has also represented the Rec at Hillsborough, Bramall Lane, and Doncaster Rovers old ground Belle Vue.
Ryan said; “I am not long off retirement and my wife Jodie keeps telling me to stop playing, but I still have a bit left in me yet and the younger lads do a lot of my running for me.”
Pete Goodlad, Athersley Rec co-founder, club secretary, general manager and director said: “As a captain Ryan leads by example and would not ask anyone to do anything he wouldn’t be prepared to do himself, and woe betide anyone who doesn’t respond to his leadership whilst he is on the pitch. He is hugely respected at this football club and that respect has not been demanded it has been earned.”
Alan Richardson, co-founder, vice-president and director said: “To play for one club for twenty five years and play in excess of a thousand games is loyalty and dedication that no amount of money can buy any club, to have one person achieve this is truly remarkable, to have two from the same family is unbelievable, but we are on the verge of this being achieved if Ryan’s younger brother Adam can also continue to perform to his own high standards for another couple of years, as he currently has over 920 appearances for the club.
It just remains for me on behalf of the Board of Directors to thank Ryan for his unswerving loyalty, commitment, leadership and contribution to the great successes of Athersley Recreation Football Club over the past twenty five years and hope that he can keep it going for a little while longer. To Ryan, wife Jodie and son Jude, Best Wishes from all at Athersley Rec.”
A truly remarkable achievement.
Well done Ryan from everyone at Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA
The photo shows Adam, with Jude, receiving a glass bowl from Pete Goodlad before the game against Parkgate on Saturday 18th March.