WHEN I was persuaded into taking up the role of Atherton Collieries football secretary in 1996 things weren’t as technologically advanced as they are now.
One of my most important jobs was ensuring the result was provided to the league on time.
Ringing in the results was always an experience.
Ian Moffatt manned the North West Counties League resultline with aplomb and when he passed away his son Andrew took up the cudgel and was equally as effective.
They would be at the other end of the blower to note the scores every night of the week.
True dedication and all clubs were appreciative. The only problem was on a Saturday afternoon at 5pm, you could be waiting to get through for 30 minutes on occasions.
Even though they were working to a tight deadline the Moffats always had a quick chat with me and would invariably pass on the odd result of the other games played before they moved quickly on to their next call.
Andrew has disappeared off Planet North West Counties League and the competition is a worse place for his absence.
So the result had to be called in but how did you know how the other games finished.
You could buy the Sunday Pink the day after for all the results, I even did the Colls report for them for a couple of years, but we didn’t want to wait that long. You could set the Ceefax/Teletext on the TV to the non- league results page but sometimes these weren’t on until the clubhouse had been emptied.
On other occasions the results were on but we had just missed the North West Counties League on the loop and had to wait another 38 pages until they came round again.
38 times 30 seconds a page is a lot of waiting time especially when Blind Date was on.
So what we generally did was to requisition the chairman’s works mobile phone (it was a brick) and ring the official North West Counties Leagueline. The day’s results were on the Leagueline from about 6pm.
It was a cunning ploy by the league as the longer the phonecall the more money was made.
Once the introductions had been completed, Andrew read through the results.
Granted he was no James Alexander Gordon. Immediately after the expensive phonecall ended the results were read out to a hushed clubhouse, then somebody altered the league table in the programme for the day’s movers and shakers.
In the year 2014 both teams text the result to a telephone number immediately after the game has finished.
Within 15 minutes of the game’s completion the home team has to send a further text with more detailed information. As if by magic this info is soon available for all to see on the excellent North West Counties Football League website.
I have mixed feelings about this progress. I miss my brief repartee with Andrew but don’t miss losing the odd half hour of my life with my phone on redial.