Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A "Macnificent" achievement

Saturday 15th October
Iain McNaught is 700 not out

Mack & Mick
Saturday 15th October 2011 saw Casuals player/manager Iain McNaught make his 700th appearance for Easington United.  I wrote about it in the programme for the CML game against Westella & Willerby but such a feat really deserves wider exposure.  So why have I put it on here then...guffaw, guffaw!
At the time I wrote that I "believed it to be" his 700th appearance when Maccer led his Casuals side out at Eastrington Village Reserves. 
I used that term just in case I’d made a slight miscalculation - well we are talking nearly thirty years' worth of stats here.  And at time of typing this I've still not had chance to complete a thorough check.  But I'm fairly confident we won't be more than an appearance or two out either way!
What I do know for certain is that ‘Maccer’ made his official Eastenders debut away at Etton United in ER County League Division 3 on 12th March 1983 and has remained a one-club man ever since.  He completed his first century at home Hessle Rangers in October 1987 a milestone that would no doubt have come somewhat sooner had an altercation with the ERCFA Disciplinary panel in October 1985 not seen him banned for the remainder of that campaign!
1991: With hair - front row, third left
During his 28 years at Low Farm, Maccer has shared in each of the triumphs and the tragedies that have accompanied our rise from the County League basement to Step 7 football.  He was skipper of the 1990/91 Division 3 title-winning squad and that same year became first recipient of the Melvin Douglas Memorial Shield for Man of the Match in the South Holderness Cup Final, despite being on the losing side (pictured).
Iain remained a fixture in the senior squad until the move into the Humber Premier League in 2000/01.  The last of his 445 first team appearances came off the bench at Chisholms on 2nd September 2000.
Since then, over a century of appearances apiece has been clocked up at both Reserves (120) and Casuals (134) levels where playing has also been combined with management.  It should also be said that this central defender has also amassed a creditable 50 goals along the way.
2011: Without hair - front row, fourth right
Much of Iain’s playing career was spent under the stewardship of current vice-chairman Mike Wilson and in the same Westella match programme, the latter was quoted as saying this about his former skipper…
“I’d like to congratulate Iain on his fantastic achievement. He progressed from boys football through to the men’s First Team, showing great promise as a centre half along the way, and has never looked back since.
Iain has been an excellent player throughout his career - how many Man of the Match’s Maccer?! I cannot thank him enough for all he’s done for the club in the past and the effort and commitment he continues to show." "Initially he had a few disciplinary issues (!) and at one time he also tried to convince me he’d make a decent centre-forward – I don’t think so Maccer!
Bringing up the rear
"However, his loyalty to Easington United has been outstanding. After moving from Welwick he could have played for several Hull teams but has instead remained loyal to us throughout.
"As manager for most of his playing career I’d like to say 'Well done'. You have achieved so much throughout your career and deserve to stick your chest out today in true Maccer fashion!"
Thankfully for Iain his latest milestone appearance yielded a sixth straight win of the season, 4-1 at struggling Eastrington Village Reserves.  It was a result that maintained the Casuals' charge for the Division 5 title.    
Although not their finest performance of the season, the Casuals were rarely in danger of losing the game.  As such, when they were awarded a penalty at 3-1 up it appeared only fitting that the main man be allowed chance to cap his own big day...
...Oh dear!  Still, at least he got the man of the match.  Hmm, I'm not sure who nominates the award?! 
Anyway, it would have been remiss on a blog about "a sporting life along the Humber Riviera" to have failed to mark such a significant feat by a fellow local.  When the professional game is justifiably under fire for the actions of so many of its participants, it's reassuring that at grassroots level there are people still in the game purely for the love of it. 
Here's to the next seven hundred Maccer!

Photos courtesy of Doug Clubley and Ian Akam.

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