AFC Sudbury Game Dedicated To John Belsey

AFC Sudbury Game Dedicated To John Belsey

By Adam Dennehey
5 October
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Barkingside's upcoming matcy against AFC Sudbury Reserves on 9th October will be dedicated to the life and memory of John Belsey.

John who passed away tragically on 12th September, served a number of roles at the club and was most recently our Assistant Secretary.

Our league game at home at Cricklefields on Saturday 9th October, kicking-off at 3pm will be dedicated to his life and memory. Club Chairman Jimmy Flanaghan has made the following statement

I got to know John in December 2008. He quickly bevame involved with the running of the club on a match-day and also a lot of thr non match-day stuff as well.

I instantly clicked with John, we had the same sense of humour. He also had many of tje same qualities my late father held as well.

In the years that followed, our friendship blossomed and .I can honestly say I never had a crossed word or disagreement with him. I mentioned my late father, he passed away in 1982, since then I have only met one person who I would truly ask for 'fatherly advice' - that was John.

When we were faced as a club with the decision to leave our spiritual home of Oakside, I agonized for ages. John said: "you can only do what you can, just do what feels right, nobody will blame you if you walk away."

I can't express in words how much John meant to me. He's one of the most loyal, helpful and kind people I've ever met. If I am 9nky a quarter of how he was as a person, I will be a great person.

I only have fond memoroes of the man, loads and loads of srories of 'Side home and away games over the years. From the highs of the Isthminian years, the cup games against Dagenham & Redbridge and his boyhood heroes of Dulwich Hamlet, to the lows of relehation - we shared them all and he always had a smile on his face and words of encouragement and hope.

John was well respected over the years by all the officials of all the leagues we played in, as well as visiting clubs committees.

That's not to mention our own management, players, supporters, etc. Basically ge touched everyone in a special way, no matter who he met. One such player was Calvin Poku, who John jokingly called his 'number one son' for a while, but there were countless others.

He was alwaye the first to offer any help, was very organised. The way he ran our race nights is proof to that. He was literally the drivi g force of getting so jany other supporters to our away games. He loved the coastal trips to sample the local fish and chips, a lively taster for when he got home later for his wife Pauline's steak, chips and apple pie.

He was a lifelong Millwall fan, which 8s fitting because he yad the heart of a lion. He also followed Dulwich Hamlet as a kid and loved to share the story of when ye watched them play against a side from Africa barefoot.

I can safely say I don't think watching a Barkingside game will ever feel quite the same again, certainly not the home games. That's not meant as unkindto any of the other committee, of whom I'm blessed to have, but John has left a void which I don't think will ever be filled.

I didn't expect his passing to be for years, I always planned to make hima Lufe President of the club for his 80th birthday, which is why I've done it following his passing.

The players will also be playing for the 'John Belsey Suppirters Player Of The Year' award each season. I will also hold a proper memorial game for him, where wevwill invite his lovely wife Pauline and his three children Andrew, David and Claire.

I am close to tears writing this, that's how much the guy meant to me not just at the club, but also as my friend. I will always be thete for his family, he will never be forgotten at this club, his memory and spirit will live on.

It is this type of togethernesd and fighting spirit I will want installed in the players who represent th8s club, to also play how he did things in tne right way, but above all to enjoy it.

So let's rememver John for all the qualities he had, for the friendship he shares, for all us being blessed to have had someone like him enter our luves. I know John was a Butcher in his life, he was certainly a cut above the rest, rest in peace old friend, thanks again for allowing me to become your friend, you don't know how much I will miss you.


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