I HAD the pleasure of sitting next to my old pal Jack Charlton at the Sheffield awards night, who was given a Lifetime Achievement award.
On the same table were football legends Dave Watson and Terry Curran, the latter a folk hero from his time at both United and Wednesday.
Many folk are unaware that England’s greatest goalkeeper Gordon Banks was also born in Sheffield, and it set me off pondering the make-up of a Great Yorkshire XI.
Banks would obviously be in goal, or would he?
No doubt some reader will come up with an alternative suggestion (please not Fatty Foulke of Sheffield United).
I was tormenting myself over the left back position, until I remembered Ray Wilson was actually born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, so Terry Cooper walks in, but every club would have worthy nominees.
Town could put forward Glazzard, Worthington, Cherry and Booth with justification (Vic Metcalfe was born in Barrow), but every club in the county could nominate an Alick Jeffrey or a Derek Dooley a Paul Madeley or a Stuart McCall.
ONE OF my most pleasant duties this week was to present a Manager of the Year award to Barnsley’s Mark Robins.
It was a vote confined to South Yorkshire so you could say he didn’t have to beat off a great deal of competition, nonetheless it meant a great deal to him and left a few others disappointed.
It set me thinking about the Olympic ideal of taking part being more important than winning, and after much deliberation I think the answer is down to the individual.
I’m just happy to be out in the fresh air when playing golf, and my game is so average I never even contemplate having to make a winner’s speech.
On the other hand I punched the air on Monday night when my club Bradford (Park Avenue) reached the play-off final of the Unibond Premier League.
In my eyes they HAD to win otherwise I’d have been miserable until the start of next season.
I was also able to witness first hand the ecstasy that accompanied Halifax Town’s promotion to the Unibond Premier League last week, and know they would have been devastated to have missed out.
Fans of Sheffield Wednesday will be just as gleeful if that famous old club manages to avoid the ignominy of dropping into the third tier of English football by beating Crystal Palace this coming Sunday.
Sport has the happy knack of being able to lift us to new heights of elation, but also dropping us to the depth of despair.
There is no shame in wanting to be a winner, equally there is nothing wrong with the “just happy to be here” mentality when enjoyment is the ultimate prize and not silverware.
Over the next few weeks we will see an abundance of tears from professional sportsmen and women.
Footballers will sink to their knees at final whistles all over the country.
Winning is everything to the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, or Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, and hopefully the likes of Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United in play-off matches.
Yet those marathon runners dressed as clowns, giant chickens or inflatable kangaroos will have derived just as much satisfaction from getting round London, in which case participation is just as important as winning.
Another club whose success I enjoyed last week was Brighouse Town. Their rapid rise up the football pyramid is a huge success story.
The first team has won promotion from the North Counties East League, and at the very first attempt their Under-19 side is in for a cup and league double in the Northern Alliance League.
The cup part was accomplished with a stylish 5-0 win over Ossett Albion at Liversedge and was further proof that this is a club on the march.
The Northern Under-19 Alliance League was set up ten years ago with the aim of giving a second chance to youngsters who have been discarded by league clubs, and are looking for a way back, still dreaming of the big time.
There have been countless examples of determined young footballers overcoming adversity and proving their doubters wrong. It is good that they have an outlet such as this league to get another crack.