WORLD Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst will be visiting Highworth Town Juniors next month in recognition of the success the football club has had both on and off the field.
Last May the club was recognised for its commitment to grassroots football and was named as FA and McDonald's Charter Standard Community Club of the Year for the south west, and made the national final of seven teams.
The governing body is now launching its fifth year of the awards with England’s 1966 hat-trick hero taking part in a coaching session, passing on tips to players and coaches, and facing questions from parents and players on Saturday, March 15.
Club chairman Mark Collett said:“To be honest, I don’t think many of the kids really understand who Sir Geoff is. He’s a little before their time.
“From the older coaches and managers’ point of view it will be a nice thing to have somebody of that time to come and visit the club.
“The managers and the coaches will pass on the message to the kids with how important a man he is.”
The club’s presence in the community cannot be underestimated, with a production line of talent taken in from the ages of four and five with teams to play in right the way up to 17 and 18-years-old, before making the transition to the senior team.
There is also an under-15 girls’ side based at the club’s home pitches in The Elms, as well as a disabled side for children with all types of disability.
There are currently 27 junior teams across both genders, a senior ladies’ team and two adult men’s teams.
The visit of Sir Geoff is effectively a second award from the FA following last year’s prize. The club will benefit from the visit because it was one of last year’s winners.
“It’s basically down to the award recognition. They have decided Highworth is the place to visit and give us a little bit back for the work the club has put in,” said Mark, 39.
“It’s obviously really exciting. It’s great that the football club is rewarded with this great honour.”
A spokesperson for the FA said: “The awards aim to recognise and reward people across the country that make a difference to grassroots football in their local community – the people who dedicate their time to developing tomorrow’s young talent and help ensure safety and best practice in tens of thousands of clubs up and down the country.
“The awards offer a chance to all those involved in grassroots football to shout about the person, or team of people that have made a real difference to their experience, while playing or just being involved in the beautiful game.”