YOU decide on grassroots hero

Mike Taylor
Mike Taylor

A NEW MILLS man who was instrumental in creating the High Peak’s first junior football club is in the running to be crowned England’s ultimate grassroots football hero.

Mike Taylor, founder 40 years ago of New Mills Junior Football Club, is one of eight finalists in the Football Association’s new People’s Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to community football.

As regional winners, Mike and the other contenders will now be put to a public vote to determine who will be crowned the inaugural winner at The FA Community Awards ceremony on Friday October 12 at the new Wembley Hilton Hotel.

To launch the online voting, the 73-year-old was invited by award sponsors McDonalds to attend Sunday’s Charity Shield match between Chelsea and Manchester City, and during half-time he took to the Villa Park pitch and met his hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

“It was an amazing experience. Geoff Hurst is quite a hero for me, when he scored those three goals in the World Cup Final, so it was really nice to meet him,” said Mike, who earlier this year had the honour of being an Olympic Torchbearer.

And on being nominated for the People’s Award, he added: “It was a complete surprise and I felt very honoured to have been chosen.”

Mike began playing football at the age of 12, and went on to represent Old Stopfordians in the Lancashire & Cheshire League, and also Birch Vale and Thornsett, which later became New Mills AFC. He was club secretary at Birch Vale for around ten years. In May 1972 he founded New Mills Junior Football Club, and during his time as secretary, and a brief stint as chairman, the club has thrived and now has teams from under-eights up to under-16s.

To vote for Mike, visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Sport/Football/Inspiration/peoples-choice/england.html.