Denton Town ‘legend’ gets FA award after 62-year association

Images by Carl Ennis Photography

A DEDICATED football club servant who has been inked with a Tameside outfit for more than 60 years has received an award from the sport’s governing body.

Geoff Gable is described as a ‘Denton Town legend’ after doing everything for the Whittle’s Park side from playing to establishing a base as its chairman.

And on Thursday, July 20, the now president’s service was recognised by the Football Association with a Long Service to Football Award, presented by the club’s vice-chairman Phil Bentley.

Geoff Gable recognised for his long service to Denton Town FC

Geoff said: “It was a shock, just a bit – in footballing parlance, I was gobsmacked.

“It’s a tremendous honour and the reaction has been very gratifying. It makes it feel all worthwhile.

“It doesn’t feel like 62 years I’ve been associated with the club. Everyone knows time flies and I remember getting a 25-year service medal. That seems like yesterday.

“Recognition from the top of the game is what absolutely overwhelmed me, you think you’re a little cog in a big wheel and no-one really notices.

Presentation evening at the club

“It’s very satisfying to think someone has noticed.”

Geoff’s role has certainly evolved, just like the club and it has not always been exactly plain sailing.

“We had a flood just at the end of Covid-19 lockdowns,” he added. “That was horrendous, the club was a mess.

“A few years before that, we had vandals break in and set fire to the club. It’s been a hectic last 10 or 12 years.

Recognition and medal

“We used to have problems even with just basic laundry, having to take washing to a launderette.

“Now we do it all in house and we’ve such a great committee, my work now is an honorary position. Apart from helping with advice on finances and giving advice from my experience on things like the pitch, I don’t get involved with the running of the club on a Saturday, everything’s done.”

In a letter, FC chief executive Mark Bullingham detailed 78-year-old Geoff’s links to the Cheshire League club.

Geoff Gable and Phil Bentley

He said: “Your long and indebted service to the wonderful game started as a boy playing for Denton Town. formally known as Bradford Parish, in 1961.

“You continued to play for the club until your early 50s, after which you took on various roles within the club.

“You were a member of the club who at the time took on a decision to move the club to Denton and change its name in the 1990s.

“You helped to establish the club at Whittle’s Park, which has thriving teams and great facilities to nurture young local talent.

“You became chair of the club and worked tirelessly, often as a sole benefactor during difficult financial times.

“However, you pushed through the difficulties and was able to secure funding for a new clubhouse via the Football Foundation.

“To this day you are still heavily involved with the club as president.

“No undertaking has been too small to warrant your attention, and you are valued more than you know.

“We, at The Football Association, would like to record our appreciation of your wonderful efforts on behalf of football and to offer our congratulations to you on your achievements.”

Mr Gable, who lives in Glossop, helped with the book A Town Like Parish, written by Bill Murney, which details the history of the club.

Right from its days playing at the David Lewis Recreation Ground or Donkey Common as it was known after being formed in 1920 by the Reverend JT Canton, the rector of Christ Church, Bradford, Manchester.

In its inaugural season of 1920/21, Bradford Parish played in the Manchester YMCA League, becoming champions and shield winners in that first year.

But his dedication is not stopping. He is still appealing for people in the area who could make an impact financially to head down to the club, adding: “You can always get footballers, it’s a never-ending struggle to find committee men.

“Anyone who would like to get in touch, please come down and give us a lift.”

A Denton Town spokesman said: “Everyone at DTFC are so proud that Geoff’s continued support with the club has finally been recognised at such a high level.

“I’m sure you will all join us congratulating Geoff when you next see him – DTFC legend.”

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