A dedicated and passionate former player and committee member of Randwick Football club has celebrated his 45th year with the club.

During a recent club family day, Phil ‘Staffie’ Stafford, who has announced his retirement as secretary, was presented with an engraved glass tankard by chairman Mort Watkins and president Nick Lythgoe.

“I had no idea about the award coming my way, and was absolutely chuffed to bits,” said Phil Stafford, who first joined Randwick FC in 1976 as a 16-year-old.

10 years later, he was part of the side which won the Stroud First Division.

After retiring from playing, and hearing that the then single team club was on the verge of folding, he became secretary of the club under the new committee in an effort to save it.

“Our philosophy was always to be respectful and to always do our very best, providing a game of football for anyone who wanted to play,” he said.

From this moment, the club grew from strength to strength, being able to field a Second and Third Team.

Phil puts this success down to 'hard work and becoming an FA Charter Accredited Club.'

In 2015 the village hall was awarded £34,000 in National Lottery funding from Sport England to improve and extend the changing rooms.

A youth team was formed ‘with the focus on enjoyment and quality coaching’ and was also awarded FA Charter Accreditation.

There are now 150 players spanning 11 teams.

Phil remains passionate about both Randwick Football Club and his philosophy.

“It has to be done the right way, with equal opportunity for all, respect for all – including referees and opposition – and the very best coaching that we can provide. You put these things together and it attracts good people. “

“It's about helping little people grow into better people by showing them how to play and interact with others respectfully. If we get this message across and provide good coaching we will be successful.”

About the news, Randwick FC chairman Mort Watkins said:

“Phil has always been an integral part of Randwick Football Club, spreading the word that the idea of the club is enjoyment of the game for all.

“I was lucky to help with Phil’s `can do’ attitude which has lead the club from running one Open Age side to three, and running eight Foundation and Development sides as well as Under 8’s and Under 6’s training sessions - a truly remarkable feat for a small club like Randwick and a marvellous tribute to Phil and the rest of the committee and coaches.

“I would like to wish Phil all the best in his retirement and thank him for the work he has put into the club over many, many years, and remind him that there will always be a space for him in Randwick Football Club.”

Randwick FC president Nick Lythgoe added:

“Phil might have stepped down from taking an active role in the club, but as a life member he’ll always be a part of us.

“We’re proud to continue Phil’s legacy as a friendly, inclusive club that provides football for all.”

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