Chairman couldn't believe his eyes

SALVATION Army FC chairman Mark Cross could not believe his eyes when he saw Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie at his side's Metaltec SIL Division Five game last Saturday.

Elvin King

SALVATION Army FC chairman Mark Cross could not believe his eyes when he saw Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie at his side's Metaltec SIL Division Five game last Saturday.

Mark, 47, was making his 500th appearance for the club in their home fixtures against Aldeburgh Town at Chilton Fields, Stowmarket.

And Kevin, a hero of Mark's since the former England international's Blues playing days, was there specially to present a silver salver to mark the occasion.


You may also want to watch:


“It was tremendous to speak to Kevin for the first time,” said Mark. “We reminisced over the Ipswich victory in France against St Ettienne in a match I was privileged to watch.

“I had no idea he was going to be at the game until he announced it on BBC Radio Suffolk at lunchtime.

Most Read

“My family and friends were at the game and Kevin made a great impression with everybody, and his presence made my day.”

Mark played in Salvation Army's first ever game in the SIL in 1988, scoring in a 4-1 defeat against Dennington.

In his time with the club he has moved back from a striker to left back and has netted 47 times.

Still enjoying his game, Mark has no thoughts about hanging up his boots, although he admits next season might be his last.

His son Joseph will be 16 in May and eligible to play in the SIL. “It would be another big milestone for me to play in the same side as my eldest son,” added Mark, who is the second Salvation Army player to play 500 games.

Mark Harvey has already achieved this feat and there are other long-serving players on the club's books.

“Other players are stacking up behind and this is a tribute to a special club,” added Mark Cross, who played on Saturday for the reserves while the Salvation Army first team were taking on Sporting 87 in Division Two on an adjoining pitch.

Keith Norton, chairman of the SIL, and his wife Linda, who is the league's assistant secretary, were also present at Saturday's game.

While Mark's first game for Salvation Army ended in defeat, so did Saturday's fixture with Aldeburgh winning 4-0.

At the club's opening match on Saturday September 10 1988 Mark was so ashamed of their ragamuffin kit, with torn sleeves and cuffs and misshapen white shirts, that he donated the club a set of blue shirts. From that day the Army's kit has always been blue.

He played his first SIL game in 1977 for South Suffolk Old Boys having been on Colchester United's books as a schoolboy.

Mark won the Suffolk Primary Cup with SSOB's and also played for Westerfield, Ipswich Exiles and Barking Swifts in the SIL and Barclays Bank and his local village Witnesham on Sundays.

He was recently voted a member of the all-time Salvation Army Legends XI.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter