Football stalwarts Arthur Aveyard and Rodney Smith receive FA recognition

The Football Association have honoured the dedication of two local grassroots football volunteers with the presentation of their 50-Year Service to Football Award.

By Tony Harber
Monday, 6th June 2022, 2:16 pm

Arthur Aveyard and Rodney Smith were presented with their awards by Barry Chaplin, chairman of the West Riding County FA.

Heavy Woollen FA Council and Life Member Arthur Aveyard is one of the founding members of Tingley Athletic.

He has dedicated his time to football management and administration. Having attended a school focused on rugby, Arthur made the switch to football as a 16-year-old when he signed for Ryedale Rovers.

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Arthur Aveyard was presented with an FA 50-Year Service Barry Chaplin, chairman of the West Riding County FA.

This ignited a love for the game and among many interests was the chairman of the Leeds City Boys parents committee where he met David Batty who was about to embark on a professional career.

Rodney Smith is the chairman at Mirfield-based Lower Hopton AFC.

On match day, Rodney will happily serve refreshments to the spectators at the ground.

He formed the Saville Arms football team in 1971 and was the only chairman appointed by the club during its existence.

Rodney Smith was presented with an FA 50-year Service to Football Award by Barry Chaplin, chairman of the West Riding County FA.

In addition to club duty, Rodney was a member of the management committee of the Heavy Woollen Gate Sunday League and the Mirfield Charity Cup competition.

When the Saville Arms club dissolved in 1983, Rodney joined the committee at Lower Hopton where he has been an invaluable member of the team ever since.

All nominations were unanimously supported by the Heavy Woollen District FA Council.

Secretary Simon Pollard commented: “Grassroots football continues to rely on the goodwill and enthusiasm of volunteers to ensure players can enjoy a game of football week in, week out.

“For Arthur and Rodney, they have contributed a lifetime of support to the grassroots game and it is entirely appropriate the Football Association recognise such a milestone.”