Selfless and dedicated voluntary service at Royston Town Football Club will be honoured against Long Eaton United.

Crows president Alan Barlow has given 49 years and counting to the club and the community and he will be presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Herts Sports Partnership prior to Saturday’s Southern League Premier Division Central clash at Garden Walk.

It is richly deserved according to Terry Graves who wrote Barlow’s citation for the award.

He said: “For almost 50 years, Alan Barlow has been actively involved with Royston Town FC. Starting in 1975 as a fully committed player and then moving on to volunteering, his energies, talents and drive for change led to him holding every major position in the club, except treasurer.

“He has been president since 1996 and in that time, Alan has been instrumental in growing and developing the club from an adult only, men’s club, to the inclusive, FA accredited, community club it is today with more than 700 youth players and over 120 adult players.

“His desire to enhance the club saw the first ever women’s team launched in 1997.

“There were setbacks along the way and in Alan’s own words, ‘there were times when the venture looked doomed to failure but I was determined we’d overcome the prejudice which existed against women playing football and representing RTFC’.

“His refusal to let the team fold and his perseverance paid off with the team now competing at its highest ever level.

“The club also has nine girls’ teams now and a development programme to enhance progression into the first team.

“A special 25 years celebration day with players, coaches and volunteers, both past and present, was held in September after the first team’s win in the Women’s FA Cup.

“For the last few years Alan has been fighting a degenerative neuro-muscular disease but rather than slowing him down, he has moved the club forward at an amazing pace taking our community with him. He is a real ‘tour de force’.

“Alan has facilitated community football for thousands during his tenure. 

“In 2018, the club launched its own community programme and now employs four full-time staff working with local schools in educating primary school pupils on subjects including healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and mental health. 

“He is also one of the trustees of the club and throughout his 48 years with the club has played a leading role in developing the footballing activities both on and off the field of play, receiving community recognition along the way.

“Alan is a person of great integrity with a clear purpose who loves RTFC and the Royston community.

“His book ‘The History of RTFC: 1875 – 2012’ epitomises this in this labour of love. 

“He is highly respected by all who work and alongside him and he leads by example, setting high standards in all areas.

“He continues to volunteer his services to the club, the community and the sport he has served for 48 years because he ‘lives’ and breathes Royston Town FC.

“He is a Royston football legend and fondly known as ‘Mr Royston Town’.”

Royston Town's planned league match at Alvechurch on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The women’s match at St Albans City was also a victim of the weather.