Padiham skipper Martin Parkes hangs up his boots

Storks skipper Martin Parkes with the NWC Premier Division trophy
Storks skipper Martin Parkes with the NWC Premier Division trophy

Storks boss Steve Wilkes spoke of his surprise after skipper Martin Parkes revealed that he was hanging up his boots.

The former Preston North End midfielder confessed that the announcement was a bit of a shock adding that the defender’s decision was slightly premature.

Parkes celebrated his 400th appearance for the club recently, in a 3-2 win over Irlam at the Arbories, with that milestone spanning 12 seasons.

The 28-year-old centre-back made his debut in 2005 in a 3-3 draw against New Mills at Church Lane and has since helped the club climb from the Second Division in 2009 to the Evo-Stik First Division North.

“He’s only 28 and it was a shock when he told me,” said Wilkes. “I tried to talk him out of it because I think he’s retiring too soon.

“I’m disappointed that he’s made the move to retire but I respect his decision. He’s been a fantastic captain on and off the pitch.

“He’s a good person to have around the dressing room and you always knew that you were going to get 100% from him on the pitch.

“He would run through a brick wall for Padiham Football Club. It’s a huge loss for us because he should still have many good years ahead of him.

“We wish him all the best and if he does change his mind then he knows that I’m only a phone call away.”

Meanwhile, the 2016/17 season has seen a wholesale ‘Changing of the Guard’ at Padiham FC, with a brand new executive committee taking over the reins at the club.

Incoming chairman Shaun Astin replaced long-time servant of the club Frank Heys who decided to take a back seat after helping shepherd the club from its roots in the lower leagues.

Frank said: “I originally got involved with Padiham because I wanted to see a decent local side in the town which catered for local lads who wanted to play football.

“We definitely achieved that aim, which I was really pleased about, though I feel the step up in professionalism that’s required to take the club further isn’t really my thing and I’ve decided to just go back to watching the match as a spectator.

“I’ve had a great time at the club, doing everything from divotting the pitch and selling pies through to chairing the committee, and I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve achieved.”

Padiham secretary Alan Smith also stepped down from his post after being plagued by health problems which put an end to his 27-year tenure.

Astin said of Alan: “He’s an extremely knowledgeable and experienced man whose loss to the club has been really felt.

“Anyone involved with Padiham FC or the town knows Alan as ‘Mr Padiham’, and his achievements in putting the club on the map and particularly in developing the ground are monumental.

“Thankfully Alan is going to continue in an advisory capacity, though he felt that the pressure of being secretary was too great.”

Padiham FC are now looking for an experienced secretary to join the club. Anyone who is interested in applying for the position should contact Shaun Astin on 07904 439235 or by email: info@padihamfc.net