Saturday, 19 January 2013

My Hero - My Inspiration : Garry Willis

We asked a number of our followers on our twitter feed to write about their "heroes/insprations", the people that got them involved in football. The first of these features is written by Garry Willis, commercial manager at North East Counties, Premier League club, Glasshoughton Welfare.

Garry, a 38yr old father of two, cites Manchester United and Castleford Tigers as his favourite teams. Born in South Wales, Abergavenny, Garry's job at Glasshoughton Welfare is to attract potential sponsors into the club and hopefully bring in more supporters through the turnstiles. 

"It's very hard to attract sponsors to our club, as we are situated in a small mining village on the edge of Castleford. If you don't know Castleford, it has a Rugby Super League club and rugby is the main game around our village and town so they seem to swallow up all the sponsorship. We have to basically rely on the small companies and shops who are not the big oil barons we all wish we could find . We also try to encourage the players and staff to try to bring in deals through their workplaces. It's hard but we all work together to keep our club going were more like a family than a club and we are trying to make our family bigger. "

His two major inspirations are Alan Pickering, his first open-age team manager, who never played football, only Rugby Union, but brought early football succes into a young players life ... and his late father, who he writes about below.

This is Garry's tribute ....

"Even though football is the biggest and best loved sport around the globe we still have to be pushed and encouraged to play, watch and support the game with the passion that every child, man and woman does today. 

For myself it was very easy to do as my Father who passed away thirteen years ago aged 78 played for Stoke City, Notts County and Port Vale. From an early age I had a ball with me nearly everyday, even if it was a tennis ball It would be kicked to school with the lads and at playtime and then back home again. Then quickly eat my tea, changed and  then to the Welfare at Glasshoughton to sneak onto the ground for a kick about in the proper nets, no jumpers for goalposts for us, 

On a Sunday it was off to play for Castleford Town Juniors where my Dad would be stood watching and cheering in all weathers. Even when I moved to play for Sherburn White Rose for a season in the Saturday West Yorkshire League, he was still there supporting me, even in freezing cold weather.  When we had our backs to the walls I could look across to the sidelines and see him there, and that sight used to lift me to think, "never give in just lift your game", because if he can stand there to watch us, then he deserves better from me.

All through my footballing life as a player I would always think that.

I finished playing after my dad died but I am still involved with my local Sunday side as manager and i am also Commercial Manager at Glasshoughton Welfare F.C. in the Northern East Counties League. Even now, not just in sport but anything that I do I always try to do it to my best possible abilities and I always tell others the same, if someone can give you there time then you deserve to give them everything you have.

So i say "Thank You" to my inspiration...  MY DAD ..  for keeping my feet on the ground and for being there for me always."


Thank you for asking me to do this article its brought back some good memories.





  1. A great read!

    Jordan Wilding
    via twitter

  2. "tTe greats, Pele, Eusabio, Best, Law etc. But I add three less quoted. Charlie Cook, Alan Gilzean, and Pat Crerand.

    George Galloway (Respect Party MP for Bradford West)
    via twitter

    1. "Wee Jinky fits in well with that crowd and was better than most of them too."

      Joe Cannon
      via twitter

  3. "Jim Baxter, John White, Danny Blanchflower, three great footballers."

    Tom Johnstone
    via twitter

  4. "I'd say Glenn Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne and Chris Waddle... class. My coaches, I'd say, Brian Clough, Mourinho & "Big Ron."

    Nev Hunt
    via twitter