Saturday 10th February 2018
Wolverhampton Sporting CFC v Leighton Town
FA Vase 5th Round
Ahead of Leighton’s re-arranged trip to Wolverhampton Sporting CFC, Sports Shots has this week caught up with one of the vital members of the staff behind the scenes. Anyone who has ever been involved in the running of a non-league football club knows that without volunteers the club doesn’t function; managers, players & supporters come and go but there is always someone who has to stay whether times are good or bad and is always willing to do anything to help. Leighton Town are fortunate that they have Philip Duffy, a man that has helped with many things over the years at Bell Close, and this year became kit man to help Scott Reynolds & Adam Kirkup in their pre-match preparations.
We asked Phil how it all started:
I have always been in & around non-league football wherever I have lived and worked, particularly in the East Midlands with Burton Albion, so when we moved to Leighton Buzzard some fifteen years ago it was natural that I started to come and watch the Town. Over the years the games I attended increased, and over recent seasons I began to take photographs home & away. Through this I became closer to the management and players at the club, which resulted in being asked by Scott & Adam last summer to come onboard with the management team as kit man
What responsibilities come with the kit man title:
It’s a great role to have, you get involved in so many aspects of the club. Obviously, I am responsible for the first team kit to be ready for the next match, sometimes to very tight deadlines but I have an excellent lady who lives locally who cleans the kit, taking it on a Saturday night or early Wednesday morning after a midweek game, and her quality is of the highest order which means I can concentrate on everything else. That can range from manager or player phone calls or texts requesting anything from collecting pasta meals at 5am for an away trip to Norfolk, resistance bands, requests for certain types of boot studs, training kit, favourite Haribo’s to be in the dressing room before a game, even a red and white scarf for a dog to wear at a game. I really enjoy being the conduit / Mr Fixer for the players and the staff on match day, training nights as well as during the week so they can focus on their football and we can create an as professional environment around the club as possible. I take great pride in arriving early, home or away, and having the dressing room all ready with the kit hung and laid out, refreshments ready and having the all-important sock tape to hand long before the players begin to arrive
What can the FA Vase run do for the club?
I had people coming up to me after the 5-2 extra time win against Norwich CBS saying how much they enjoyed the game, and for some it was even their first football match at 70 years of age despite having lived in Leighton Buzzard for many years. So, this is a chance for the club to increase the fan base and awareness of the football team in and around the town and the surrounding area
What previous cup runs stick in the mind?
Getting through to the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup in in 2007/08 where Leighton had a great crowd in for the 3-1 victory over the now Conference side Boreham Wood in the 3rd qualifying round, before eventually losing out away at Havant & Waterlooville in the 4th qualifier denying Leighton Town the great opportunity to reach the first-round proper. Also, the run to the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup in 2011/12
How highly do you rate the current squad?
These lads are a great bunch to be in and around, it’s been a pleasure to see the hard work and team ethic grow from pre-season and into the full season. It’s not always possible to sweep sides away like Moses parting the red sea, but these guys never give up and that shows in the results this season in both the league and FA Vase run
How do you see Leighton finishing this season?
I see the team getting stronger and stronger, with the return of key players such as Dom Marsala and Lewis McBride as well as the excellent additions to the squad recently in Lea Coulter, Bruno Brito, Ryan Coyle and Lee Boland. Also with Carl Resch nearing full fitness it is a very exciting time to be at Leighton Town FC, the core of the team is the best I have seen with some greatly experienced players providing the springboard for the development and emergence of the younger players such as Tom Wyant, James Towell, Kai Ashley, Carl Tappin and Lorrell Smith as key members of the team, playing alongside the likes of Tom Guiney, Dave Murphy, Matt Hall, Alex O’Brien and James Hatch every week is a perfect place to propel these young players playing careers. Well done to Scott, Adam and the club for assembling this talented and hard-working group of players together
What would it mean to see LTFC at Wembley?
It would really put the club and the town on the map in a footballing sense and could lead to an enduring legacy that Leighton Town FC would benefit from for years to come, in terms of local youth development and new associations being formed with local and national businesses and for the local community to see what a talented football team that they have right on their doorstep
Sports Shots would like to thank Phil for his time out this week.