Spongeman Brian's big day
By Dave GooderhamWHEN AFC Sudbury run out for the FA Vase final, one pensioner will be taking his place in the dugout and thanking his lucky stars.At the age of 67, Brian Golding never expected to be called upon for the club's biggest match of the season on Sunday at the home of top Premiership side Birmingham City.
By Dave Gooderham
WHEN AFC Sudbury run out for the FA Vase final, one pensioner will be taking his place in the dugout and thanking his lucky stars.
At the age of 67, Brian Golding never expected to be called upon for the club's biggest match of the season on Sunday at the home of top Premiership side Birmingham City.
But after AFC Sudbury's regular man with the magic sponge and devout Christian, Barry Moult, opted not to travel with the team but instead observe the Sabbath, Mr Golding got the call he never expected in what should be his last game as physio.
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His meteoric rise from a place in the stands to an integral part of the dugout is a far cry from when he sat in the directors' box, suited and booted, in last year's disappointing FA Vase final defeat at West Ham United's Upton Park ground.
Mr Golding said: "It was very unexpected, but a magical moment and a chance in a lifetime. Barry is a devout Christian and, unfortunately for him, the match being on a Sunday is a bit awkward. As I did the job for so long, I was graciously asked to step in.
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"Last year was one hell of a day, but the result was an absolute disappointment. I think time is running out on me being a physio and I expect Sunday's match to be my last, but I do give the crowd a few giggles seeing a 67-year-old running out on the pitch."
Few would argue that Mr Golding's unsung work at the club does not merit such an integral role in the final against Winchester City.
The pensioner has spent a quarter of a century watching the now-defunct Sudbury Wanderers, nine of those years as physio, before the club's amalgamation with Sudbury Town in 1999 to become AFC Sudbury.
Since then, though often in the shadows, his role in the blossoming club could never be underestimated.
In addition to being more than a useful reserve physio, Mr Golding has in the past few years taken charge of the club's catering requirements, cleaned dressing rooms and also fulfilled an improvised role as security guard with his trusty German Shepherd dog, Chinok.
Modestly talking down his role, Mr Golding said: "It is a good hobby and a nice way to spend your spare time.
"There is such a great bunch of background people and they get little credit for what they do. The 15 or so committee members put in literally thousands of hours every year."
"There is not a club like Sudbury – what can I say, it is just the greatest. There is a wonderful camaraderie and it is a great club to be part of."