Haverhill Rovers’ honorary president Terry McGerty said he was overwhelmed after finding out the club had named the stand in his honour.
The 68-year-old was called onto the pitch ahead of Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Cambridge City to unveil a new club badge designed by 13-year-old junior player Taylor Ward, of Samuel Ward Academy.
But he did not twig the main presentation on the Whole Club Day, to recognise his 25-year contribution to the club in a number of roles including chairman and vice-chairman, was still to come.
“I had no idea at all,” he said. “I was just getting annoyed they hadn’t done the signs and they kept delaying me coming down until today.
“They made me do the raffle, which I have never done before. All my family turning up should have been a clue.
“I couldn’t believe it. I kept looking at it and even now I am looking at it.”
The shock and emotion was clearly visible on McGerty’s face as the sign was revealed, with the Hundon-based president believing a sponsor was to be used.
McGerty was not happy to take all the praise though, paying tribute to Tom Harrison, the chairman of the Haverhill Community Sports Association (HSA), and councillor Howard Cook, in being instrumental in helping him achieve the vision of moving to The New Croft six years ago.
“What makes me more proud is the way the club has gone, especially with Peter Betts and the committee we have now overseeing over 600 signed on now from youngsters to seniors; it is a fantastic achievement,” he said, of the new one-club structure celebrated on the day, with all now 35 teams coming under one umbrella for the first time since the club formed in 1886.
Chairman Ali Shulver said McGerty was fully deserving of the dedication.
“I don’t think people realise how much work and effort goes into running a football club. The volunteers are what keep football clubs going, and Terry has been Haverhill Rovers for a number of years now.
“We wanted to recognise that and there was no more fitting tribute than naming a stand after him.
“The biggest challenge was that we wanted to keep it a surprise and the whole club committee did well keeping it from him. It was a great day.”