A DISABLED Hartlepool man was left speechless after hearing he’d been nominated for an award as an unsung sporting hero.
Bobby Sweeting, 80, spent 34 years of his life with Hartlepool St James Football Club.
Despite a leg disability, he has managed the junior side, then became the senior team manager, and also served as the social secretary and treasurer.
He did all that while he worked at the Price factory in Powlett Road for 34 years.
And now, after decades of watching other people take the limelight, one Hartlepool Mail reader has decided it is time Bobby got some publicity.
The Oxford Road area resident has been nominated for a Hartlepool Mail sports award and Bobby admitted: “It is a real surprise. It’s not often that I am struggling for words but I am this time”.
Bobby’s devotion to football goes back to the days when Brian Clough was the manager of Hartlepools United and Bobby used to help behind the scenes.
Then, he joined St James and was part of a set-up that included two teams in the District League and two in the Church League.
The nomination for Bobby said: “He personally must have seen over 500 local H/pool lads play for the teams he managed.
“During his time, the club won many local and district cups and trophies. What appears to be a fairly common story of many people involved with sports clubs hides the fact that Bobby achieved this whilst having a major disability restricting his ability to walk.
“His tireless work and service to St James and to the local sporting community is well recognised by ex-club players and members, further endorsed when over 100 of them attended his 80th surprise birthday party in July this year.
“Truly a unsung hero, maybe of times long past but still sincerely remembered and appreciated by many in the Hartlepool area”.
Bobby said: “I have read the Mail and seen the other people in for these awards and it is humbling that someone has put me forward. I have had an excellent life and I have loved it”.
To nominate your hero, complete the application form HERE