Many people would say that their football club is like a family and that certainly applies to five brothers who have dedicated much of their life to Northwood Football Club.
John, Dave, Ray, Pat and Paul Byrne have been involved with Northwood since the 1951/52 season and before a recent game against Marlow, the club paid the family the ultimate tribute by naming a new stand after the stalwarts as a way of recognising their contributions.
Speaking to MyNews, the brothers described the day as a “touching moment” which they won’t ever forget.
Pat Byrne, who is the club’s life president said: “We have always been dedicated to the club. We played for the club in the 50s and have been connected ever since.
“The club means everything to us. We have seen so many changes for the good at the club but it still lives by the same values. Family – which is shown by the naming of the stand.”
Pat made his debut for the club in 1955 and turned out 275 times at different levels for The Woods.
He added: “The reveal was very touching. Paul’s grandchildren were mascots on the day and we had the whole family down there. It was fantastic.”
Paul, John and Pat were all present on the day and were thrilled with the tribute to the family.
Paul said: “It was absolutely fabulous. We were gobsmacked and knew nothing about it. We had some ex-players come down as my daughter did some searching round and it was just a tremendous day.”
Paul who holds the post-war record for scoring the most goals in a first team game for Northwood, by scoring seven times, said the club holds a special place in his family’s heart.
He added: “My brothers were already playing there, the ground was close to where we lived and you played for your local club. It developed from there and we are still involved now. We help on the ground during the summer when necessary.”
After making a total of 375 appearances, Paul became club secretary and was player manager when The Woods won the Middlesex League Cup in 1975.
Pat’s brother, John made his debut at the tender age of 14 in the 1951/52 season. Although he moved from Northwood to join the Arsenal ground staff and played for clubs including Hendon and Leavsden, he re-joined The Woods in 1974.
Dave Byrne featured in the club’s first-ever Middlesex League game at Harefield United in 1970 and amassed over 400 appearances. He died several years ago. Ray spent 13 years with the club playing almost 400 times.