Tributes came flooding in at Clitheroe Football Club this week for Colin Wilson, a Shawbridge legend in his own lifetime, who died last Friday, aged 72.
Players stood in a minute’s silence for the former club secretary before their home game last Saturday, and people at all levels of the game – officials, players, fans and representatives of other clubs and leagues – praised the man with “an encyclopaedic knowledge” of the game, dedicated to fair play.
Many tributes and messages of condolence were posted on the club’s website and on Twitter.
Mr Wilson, of Moss Street, Clitheroe, stood down as secretary last October through ill health, and died in hospital at Blackburn after being admitted with a chest infection.
During more than four decades with Clitheroe, mostly as secretary, he served under a number of chairmen including Cyril Whiteside, Steve Rush, Charles Murphy and most recently Anne Barker.
Steve Rush praised Mr Wilson’s “invaluable help” and added: “He knew football rules inside out, and his outstanding knowledge of all things football was invaluable during one of the club’s finest hours, the FA Vase Final at Wembley.
“He will also be remembered for his unstinting devotion during the club’s darker hours.
“Colin is a Clitheroe legend and has been instrumental in helping build the club into the success it is today. Football will be a sadder place without him.”
Anne Barker said: “Colin’s life revolved around football and Clitheroe FC. He was a private man, but hundreds of people knew him and I don’t think he realised how many lives he touched through football. Even when his health was failing, he carried on bravely.”
Former Clitheroe manager and ex-chairman David Burgess, who is now chief executive of Lancashire FA, said: “Colin would strike people as quiet, keeping things close to his chest, but when you got to know him he had a wicked sense of humour.
“I’ve had messages from clubs all over Lancashire, asking me to pass condolences on to Clitheroe. He was very highly thought of.”
Mr Wilson had a reputation for wanting to see the game played fairly and well, and had no time for the ‘win at all costs’ mentality.
He was a last link to the club’s Lancashire Combination days in the seventies, through the eighties when Eric Whalley’s side carried all before it, through to the F.A.Vase final at Wembley in 1996 and ultimately promotion to the Northern Premier First Division in 2004. He was especially proud of the Lancashire FA medal he received to mark his years of service to the game.
Mr Wilson was a painter and decorator with F.A. Allen before working for himself, and retired six years ago.
Daughter Tina Gough said: “Our family is very grateful to the club for supporting our dad when his health was getting worse, and letting him decide for himself when he should finish.”
Mr Wilson, a widower, leaves two other children, John and Kierri, and two grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at Trinity Methodist Church on Monday at 1-30 pm, followed by burial at Clitheroe Cemetery. The family has said any donations in his memory can be made to Clitheroe F.C. to promote the club.