Mel Williams, secretary of Sandiacre Town and chairman of the Midlands Regional Alliance football league, has been honoured with a prestigious FA award for his services to the sport.
Mel has been handed a Long Service Award after 57 years spent in football.
He received his award at Sandiacre’s home ground, St Giles Park, Stanton Road, in front of a crowd of around 70 people, including friends and family.
Mel said he felt honoured to have been given such an award.
“I think it’s a great honour, especially as it is from the FA,” he said.
“You might think I am crackers for spending such a long time in football administration but what is not mentioned is that I spent 25 years in cricket so that means I’m absolutely crackers.”
Mel’s first administrative role in football was back in 1958 when he was the secretary – and manager – of the Stapleford & District Boys under-18s squad.
Following that, he has been involved in various administrative roles ever since including posts as manager, secretary, treasurer, chairman, fixtures secretary and registrar.
It wasn’t up until 1991 however that he joined Sandiacre Town as first team secretary.
He then joined the Executive Committee in 1993, became General Secretary in 1998 before taking over the role as Treasurer in 2006.
And for club chairman, Alan Ure, Mel is the reason why Sandiacre are still running today.
He said: “Mel has made personal sacrifices for our club, by putting some of his own money to help with the running costs.
“We should be extremely grateful of the help he has given the club.
“With the amount of work he puts in, you would consider it to be a full-time job.
“To be honest, he has been the one constant presence in the club, without him, we would not be here today.”
The Long Service Award – which is given volunteers who ensure there is participation in football for all ages and genders – was presented by Derbyshire County FA chairman David Heron, who had plenty to say about Mel’s tenure in football administration.
He said: “Mel has always been a very co-operative person and is a very well admired gentleman.
“Mel is an immense volunteer, a superhuman, I would not want to meet a nicer man.
“Sandiacre are very lucky and privileged to have him at the club and it’s great to see there as so many volunteers who help out with him.”
Mel will be stepping down from his post next year but has promised that he will not be walking away from Sandiacre completely.
He added: “Even though I am standing down as secretary, I am very much looking forward to going to watch the first team games in the future.
“I have always had a passion for football and that dates back to when I was at junior school, even though the sport was banned from being played.”
Mel said that he had a plethora of happy memories from down the years but his personal highlight was playing at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground in 1967.