Everyone Needs a Gaffer!
Rangers stalwart Chris Garforth says it’s “nice to be appreciated” after he was presented with a BARLA Unsung Hero Award. Oldham league chair Phil Bradbury and colleagues turned up unannounced to spring the award on ‘Gaffer’ in the style of “This is Your Life”.
“I was obviously surprised because you’d imagine people would get awards like that a little later on in life,” he said, “and I was shocked that it happened at a committee meeting on a Tuesday night. I assume it’s a new initiative by BARLA to just turn up like that and I was a bit embarrassed really.”
As just the fourth recipient of the award in Oldham, Chris has nothing to be embarrassed about. To hear his contributions to the local amateur game is to understand how valuable a member of the club he has been and continues to be.
Phil said; “Chris was nominated by the Oldham Amateur League for his outstanding effort in organising the over 35's Master's game which is now a regular game before the Standard Challenge Cup Final. The award is presented to the club person who just stays in the back ground just carrying on doing jobs within their clubs without little rewards and without these people no club could operate.”
BARLA also highlighted the achievements of Gaffer’s playing career which included a taste of glory early on when he played at Wembley in 1984 for the Oldham School's team. He later caught Lancashire at under 17's and also the Pennine League's Under 19's against the Australian school boys in 1991.
After being an integral part of the Rangers open age team for many years he later played for the BARLA Presidents 13 against France, captained Lancashire and toured France with the BARLA Great Britain open age team.
He said; “It’s really nice to be appreciated and could have been any number of people down at Rangers. Maybe I’ll be the first of many.
“I’d like to think my first team days are over but if it’s an appearance in the seconds of the masters I’ve always got my boots in the van just in case.”
While many would say Gaffer is still fit enough to pull on a first team shift, he’s planning to concentrate on matters off the field from now on and is busy planning fundraising events for next year as the club makes its final push to raise the money needed to build a new clubhouse.
“We’re well overdue one and to be on a new events sub-committee is exciting because it’s time for us as the next generation to step up and help build it and keep the history of the club going.”