Saturday was the end of Des Bennett's 24 year stay at Armthorpe Welfare. After 11 years as a player, Des went on to manage the club for a further 13 years. It's an incredible achievement at any level of football, and some would say even more so in amateur football where finance, player availability, and facilities make this an extremely hard job.
At last night's presentation, Des admitted to finding the job hard at times, but that he had enjoyed every minute. He told stories of some of the memories that will stick with him, and talked of players who'd made an impression during his time at the club.
Des's last involvement with Armthorpe Welfare was in fact as captain, and No. 9 leading the forward line against Pickering Town in the final NCEL Premier game of the season.
Before the game, Des was presented with a plaque by club captain Jamie Green which was from the club in recognition of his loyalty, commitment and long service.
The game itself started a little slow, and seemed to be a typical end of season affair with both clubs already certain of their final league position. Welfare did manage to break the deadlock though right on the stroke of half time with a bit of individual quality from Paul Ashton. Ashton intercepted a pass just over half way and drove on past two players before striking the ball from the edge of the area out of the 'keeper's reach in the bottom corner.
Pickering pulled one back on 63 minutes through Carl Stewart, but David Buck, playing his first game since 18th February through injury, restored Wefare's lead after he was set up by none other than Mr Des Bennett himself!
Bennett was eventually subbed after 81 minutes and took up his usual place in the technical area and two minutes later Henry Sibenge made sure of the perfect send off for the manager by adding a third goal with his head from a Buck cross.
A run of poor form in the last few months halted any hope of a climb up the table, but all was forgotten yesterday as Welfare ended the season on a high by grabbing all three points.
Armthorpe Welfare would like to reiterate our best wishes to Des for the future and hope he enjoys all the extra time he will be able to spend with his family. Of course he will be welcome back anytime!