Heybridge Swifts have honoured Mick Gibson with stand naming ceremony
Legend is a word that is perhaps overused in football circles. It is a word that the media- and sometimes, supporters- tend to apply to the one hundred thousand pounds per week footballer who has deigned to stay at their club for more than five years; to the manager who has won a title after spending hundreds of millions of pounds on transfers, and even to the owner who has thrown cash around like confetti in pursuit of success.
Sometimes, however, it is indeed fair to describe someone involved in the game as a legend, and that undoubtedly stands up more in the Non-League game than elsewhere. People don’t tend to get involved in Non-League football for their ego, and they certainly don’t do it for money.
Instead, they do it for love, and sometimes that love can be all encompassing and last a lifetime. One such individual- and someone absolutely deserving of the title of legend- is Mick Gibson of Heybridge Swifts; and this week Swifts paid him the accolade of naming a stand at the club in his honour.
Mick joined the committee at Swifts at the age of fifteen; sixty-one years ago. His father worked there before him, as groundsman, and indeed the family connection stretches back over a century. During six decades Mick has worked tirelessly for the club, including as chairman for thirty years encompassing Swifts most successful period, culminating in their highest ever finish of second place in the Isthmian Premier League in 2006 before a play-off final loss on penalties.
Current Swifts chairman Gary White takes up the story:
“Mick is one of the most popular and well-liked men in non-league, and travelling with him to away games it is always gratifying to see how other clubs welcome him and are always glad to see him. His guidance and experience on our committee is priceless as he has been there, seen it and done it, no matter what issue comes up. That is wonderful for a relative newcomer like me to have at my disposal.“
The club decided that they would honour Mick with the accolade of naming the family stand in his honour; particularly appropriate given that much of his family share his involvement, with his son-in-law Ricky working as a coach and his grandson Max, aged 13, attending all home and away games. That they managed to keep this a secret from Mick was a surprise in itself, but manage they did, and the new Mick Gibson Family Stand was unveiled in front of the man himself before Tuesday’s friendly match with Billericay Town.
“He was speechless,” Gary explained. “We felt that it was right and fitting that Mick and his family were all present to see the stand being named after him, and we were delighted to see how proud he was. His legacy will live long into the future, and the club would be nowhere without the massive commitment he has made to it.”
All at the Bostik League, where Mick serves on the Board of Directors, would like to pass on their congratulations, and their appreciation for all of the time and effort that he has devoted to the betterment of our game. But the last word must go to Gary.
“Long may our life president live to see the fruits of all his hard work and dedication to the club. The term club legend has never been more appropriate in my opinion.”