Charity match for late Rover

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A late Haverhill Rovers player will be remembered and money raised for the hospice that cared for him in his final months when a charity football match takes place on Sunday (24).

The match between a 1980s Haverhill Rovers side and a Braintree Town XI is being played in memory of Alan Bailey, who played for Rovers between 1975 and 1988 and later went on to manage them.

It will raise money for the Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford, which cared for Alan and his family in his final months before he died of lung cancer at the age of 55 at his home in Braintree in July 2013.

The game at The New Croft, which kicks off at 3pm and is entry by a donation, has been organised by some of Alan’s ex-team mates at Rovers; Brian Holmes, Lee Fish, Neil Farlie and Julian Lamb.

Alan’s brother Colin, who still lives in Haverhill, said: “They wanted to do something for him. Alan never had a testimonial at Rovers although he should have done because he had ten years there before he left.

“I think there will be a good turn out and It will be well supported. Nothing can replace my brother but at least the Rovers lads will feel they’ve done something of worth because they were desperate to do something.”

Alan grew up in Haverhill and his dad Eric Bailey, who also played for Rovers, from 1956-60.

He played for Place Farm Primary, Castle Manor and at the weekends, Haverhill Town Juniors, Haverhill Athletic and Haverhill Rangers before joining Rovers Reserves in 1974, aged 16.

One year later he made his first team debut for a team then struggling in the league.

Colin said: “To play for his home town meant a lot to Alan. He never wanted to play anywhere else.

“Although the club struggled through the late 1970s, by the 1978/79 season Roger Staples had put together an excellent side, including many home grown players including Danny Green, Stuart Halls, Bobby Warner, Steve Murray, Dave Thake and the late Jim Thomson.

“This team became the Eastern Counties League champions with a 4-0 victory over Chatteris in front of a crowd of 1,300.”

Alan continued playing for Rovers during the 80s, even while training to be a teacher in Reading, from where he would return home for games.

Colin added: “Alan’s life was characterised by his love of sport, either playing, coaching or simply encouraging others.

“His family would greatly appreciate the support of people in coming down to watch the game.”