Roy Harwood & Gary Cooper (May 2006)

Possibly one of the most interesting, and heart-warming, stories about how a group of parents can come together to ensure that a great bunch of lads continue to play football in their locality is contained in this profile of Roy Harwood, Gary Cooper, and the team or parents and players as a whole.  

At the end of the 2003-4 season, it was a strong possibility that the Under 13 team that had done so well in winning Division 2 that year, and earning promotion, could fold, as the then manager informed the committee that he was taking the team in its entirety to another club. What he didn't account for in those plans was the determination of almost half of the team parents to stay with Kewford Eagles. With a great deal of support from the club, and real determination and strength of character shown by the parents, a new squad was formed for the following season, replacing the seven or so players who were taken away. Roy and Gary stepped forward and were immediately supported as the new managers by the parents. This was parent power at its strongest and most positive ! 

Kewford entered a full Under 14 squad the next season - in Division 1. It may have lost about seven players, but, with Roy and Gary in charge, it found a spirit amongst both parents and players in its new team that can hardly be rivalled. Whilst results in that first season went against the team, it became stronger and stronger as a unit, bringing in friends who joined from other teams, with parents supporting the players through thick and thin. The solidarity gained between them over a hard season showed itself in the players and parents going off on a Summer football tour, which brought further team-building benefits all round. 

The team has played Under 15's football again in Division 1 for the 2005-2006 season, and have had a terrific set of results this year, improving performance week-in, week-out. Roy and Gary would freely admit that they became team managers in the first place to ensure that the boys were looked after properly following the events at the end of the 2003-2004 season. They wanted to make sure the players could continue doing what they wanted, by playing competitive football in a team of friends. They would also admit that they have both felt a sense of pride, of justice, and of real pleasure in looking after such a solid and sound bunch of players - their words. Once again, Roy, Gary, the players and parents have decided to go on a football tour at the end of the season, doing a lot of fund-raising within the team to make it happen, and again showing what our local junior game is really about - fun, friendship and football.  

Well done to Roy and Gary, and also well done to the parents and players within this team, and lets hope it can carry all the way through to the Seniors and beyond !