SILSDEN'S home league game on Saturday against Knaresborough Town will a celebration of the long service given by John Edward McNulty, who passed away on December 24 after a short illness.

He and his family have long associations with the club, with son Sean now the Cobbydalers' chairman.

John was born in a gypsy caravan in Worth Village in 1941, one of seven children. He played rugby league as a youngster, although his father was a footballer, who had played for Stoke City before the war.

John’s father was also posted out in Malaysia in World War Two.

It was John’s marriage to Sandra Mitchell, a mill worker in Silsden, which brought him to “Cobbydale”, where the couple tied the knot in 1962.

The newlyweds first lived in Woodside Road before moving to Gloucester Avenue.

John worked initially as a drayman, then at Hattersley Foundry and Fletcher's Mill, but he was best known in Silsden, in his later years, as the man who kept the streets in pristine condition.

Sean was born in 1964. John was a massive Liverpool fan but, when Sean was four, he wanted a Manchester United kit for Christmas.

A red shirt was bought and Sean’s mother stitched “7” on the back of it, the number of George Best.

Sean’s brother, Jason, was born a few years later and as they grew up, the pair began to get involved in football.

Sean made his debut for Steeton Juniors at the age of 14 before playing for Silsden at 18 in the Craven League.

When John retired at 60, he then got involved with the Cobbydalers, where Jason played as well.

Sean’s sons, Danny, Andy and Josh, and Jason’s sons, Matthew and Joe, all turned out for Silsden in their teens too.

While his own sons were playing, John was often put in charge of the grandchildren. On one occasion, Sean was in action but the boys were not in sight.

Eventually John, who had been watching the game, found them stuck in the top of a tree. He eventually managed to coax them down.

At another game, the boys disappeared again. There was no sign of them and Sean, the keeper, had to leave the pitch.

He eventually found them, locked in the car boot of a Ford Escort. John enjoyed the game and Sean eventually returned to his goal area.

John took the boys everywhere on Saturdays and Sundays, watching them progress from the juniors to the seniors.

His grandsons have played in the West Riding County Amateur League and the North West Counties League and are now involved with Silsden Whitestar in the Craven League.

Just as John had looked over Silsden when he was working, he took enormous pride in his role as the Cobbydalers' groundsman.

His pitches were immaculate, although he did have some battles getting rid of moles, and sometimes youngsters playing in the goalmouths. One look from John though and all was sorted.

Sean has now taken over the pitches and takes as much pride in them as his dad.

John’s funeral was held in St James' Church in Silsden on January 10.

Sean read a poem and Jason, Danny, Andy and Josh all gave interesting and humorous stories about their dad and grandad, some of which included quips about United.

Perhaps John will have the last laugh too. His coffin was carried out by his sons and grandsons to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and he might be looking down from heaven with a giant smile if Liverpool can win the title this season.

The match at Silsden on Saturday will be a “pay-what-you-want” event, when everyone at the club can “Thank John Mac” for his services to the Cobbydalers.