Athersley Recreation have honoured club legend and captain Ryan White at the weekend after he recently reached his 1,000th appearance for the Sheerien Park outfit.
Ryan has been at the club for 25 years, notching up just shy of 1,050 games at all levels since he made his debut in the Barnsley U13 Junior League in September 1992 against Cudworth Boys.
Before Saturday’s Toolstation NCEL Premier Division match at Parkgate, the milestone was celebrated with a presentation where he was given an engraved Dartington crystal bowl by manager Sean Margison, a framed photograph montage from fans group, the Rec In Crew, and an engraved Dartington crystal cottage clock from secretary Peter Goodlad.
And, in a massive surprise to Ryan, his three-year-old son Jude joined him in walking a Guard of Honour wearing a replica Athersley Recreation kit with his dad’s number 6 and ‘Daddy’ on the back.
Club director Alan Richardson said: “To play for one club for twenty five years and play in excess of a thousand games is loyalty and dedication that no amount of money can buy any club.
“To have one person achieve this is truly remarkable, but to have two from the same family is unbelievable as we are on the verge of this being achieved if Ryan’s younger brother Adam can also continue to perform to his own high standards for another couple of years, as he currently has over 920 appearances for the club.”
He added that the Board of Directors thanked Ryan “for his unswerving loyalty, commitment, leadership and contribution to the great successes of Athersley Recreation Football Club over the past twenty five years and hope that he can keep it going for a little while longer.”
Ryan rose up through the levels at Athersley Recreation before going on to play Saturday football for Gateshead, Ossett Albion and Ossett Town but remained with the Rec as part of their Sunday League team.
He then returned to the Saturday team when the club were promoted into the NCEL in 2012 and helped guide them to runners-up spot in Division One in their first season and they have been in the Premier Division ever since.
Ryan’s biggest highlight of his career came in May 2014 when Athersley won the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup by beating Northern Premier League side Frickley Athletic, 1-0, at Hillsborough.
And, he is showing no signs of hanging up his boots, saying: “I am not long off retirement and [my wife] Jodie keeps telling me to stop playing, but I still have a bit left in me yet and the younger lads do a lot of my running for me.”
Athersley Recreation have thanked Parkgate for allowing the presentation to take place prior to their away game at Green Lane and all at the NCEL congratulate the club and Ryan for their remarkable achievement.