A HARTLEPOOL United star launched a special trophy in tribute to the man who helped his development as a professional footballer – his granddad.
Gary Liddle, 25, spoke of his pride after helping to launch the Eric Powell Charity Cup.
Teesside-based scout Eric has dedicated a lifetime to discovering young footballers and was recently honoured for 50 years outstanding service by the North Riding Football Association, which covers Hartlepool.
The scout’s grandson, Pools star Liddle was on hand to unveil the trophy in tribute to Eric at a presentation event.
Gary, who signed for Hartlepool from neighbours Middlesbrough in 2006, said: “This is a fantastic tribute to Eric and is much deserved.
“He has devoted so much of his life to discovering young footballers and many players owe him so much for the opportunities he has given them.
“I know he spends many weekends in Hartlepool looking at young players at places like the Rec and Grayfields.
“He still attends the games at the Vic to watch me and is always available to give help and advice, this is a very proud achievement for him.”
Eric’s scouting days go all the way back to the mid-1960s when he helped Brian Clough to bring young talent to the Vic.
He has since discovered a number of footballers who went on to make the grade in the professional game including former Pools star and town footballer Paul Arnison, who he spotted playing football for English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College.
The newly-launched Eric Powell Charity Cup will now be contested every year between the winners of the North Riding Saturday County Cup winners and the Sunday County Cup winners.
Alan Burnett, chairman of the North Riding competitions committee, said: “We felt it would be perfect to name this cup after Eric as he really is Mr Football.
“He has helped so many youngsters from all across the region to get a break in the professional game.”