Michael Southworth, affectionately known as ‘Pom’ is now the president of the Cessnock City Hornets Football Club.
Southworth came from England to Cessnock to play football in 1972 at age 21.
He was playing for Clitheroe in Lancashire when he saw an advertisement in a British newspaper calling for players to move to Australia and play for Cessnock – “and the rest is history”, he said.
Southworth played for the Hornets from 1972-1975, going away to Tasmania for a while, then returning to play in 1978 and 1979, and player-coaching from 1983-1986.
He also played for Northern NSW in 1974-1975.
He said the highlight of his career with the Hornets is player-coaching the side to a major premiership in 1986.
Another proud moment was his involvement in the establishment of the six-a-side competition in Cessnock 15 years ago.
During his time as president this year, he said the addition of a business sub-committee has brought exciting times to the Hornets.
“They are all former players and have a good knowledge of the game,” he said.
He said he would also like to make a special mention to Garry Fairlie for his outstanding service to the club on and off the field.
Southworth has also created the Hornets Football Shed, inspired by the Men’s Shed at Calvary; where he said “former players are invited to come down, talk about men’s issues and football and help to maintain the facilities in top condition as one of the leading grounds in the competition”.
An area that Southworth is keen to explore as president is a junior code in the Cessnock area, as a former player and good friend, Frank O’Brien is the Junior Development Coordinator of Chelsea FC in England.
He said he believes it is important for young people in Cessnock to have the chance to play football.
“I have a lot of good memories playing for Cessnock; we need to give the same opportunity to young men and women in the area.”
Southworth became a life member of the Hornets in 1984, and said he believes Cessnock now have more life-members than any other club in the competition.
He became president when many of the previous committee members decided it was time for other people to get involved.
He encourages anyone to get involved, support the local club and have their say.
“To continue the progression of the Hornets, we need people to get involved.”
Upcoming events for the Hornets include Old Boys Day at the ground on Saturday, July 26, and a trivia night at Cessnock Leagues Club on Saturday, August 2 (starting at 6.30pm).