ALTHOUGH Bury GSOB are relying on their crop of talented young players this season, a club stalwart has seen his long service recognised by the FA.

Howard Croft, who has represented GSOB as a player, manager and committee member, was presented with an FA Long Service Award in honour of his 50-year association with the Bridge Road club.

From schoolboy to club captain, kit man to first-team manager, Croft has racked up half a century of continuous service to the Lancashire Amateur League side.

His father Jim served on the committee for the club and the LAL for more than 20 years.

He first starting playing in the Old Boys first XI in 1968, captaining the team between 1973 and 1985 before taking over duties as first-team manager in 1992.

A decade with him at the helm saw GSOB gain promotion from Division Two to the LAL Premier Division and, since 2002, he has helped the first team in a number of roles from subs collector to kit man and this season is no different, helping to support the club in any capacity necessary.

“I am delighted to be awarded this accolade,” he said. “But it’s the club and the people in it that keep me coming back each week, year after year.

“I’m now looking forward to seeing the next generation of players bringing this great club forward.”

The Old Boys first XI set a club record this season with 15 players under the age of 25 signed on for the campaign and, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Rossendale, they sit comfortably in mid-table in the early standings.