Local dad becomes local legend of Dronfield football

A local dad has taken the job of running grassroots junior football in Dronfield into his own hands.

Martin Hester, of Lundy Road, is a plasterer by trade, but generously volunteers much of his precious time into junior grassroots football – an area of football that desperately needs more attention and help.

The 60-year-old lives in Dronfield with his wife and son, and became the chairman of AFC Dronfield earlier this year.

The club includes teams ranging in age- from under eights to under 18s, as well as the higher-level first team, reserves team and ladies team.

He started as a voluntary, ‘step-up dad’ manager of his son’s under eights team in 2008, who he managed for eight years.

Mr Hester said: “My proudest moment was when the under 15s team that I managed won the league and collected their medals in front of hundreds of people at Barnsley Metrodome.”

AFC Dronfield is located at the modern Gosforth Fields facilities, which boast a full-sized artificial pitch, a newly-built clubhouse with changing rooms, a bar and a balcony and also several grass pitches.

For a small town like Dronfield, an often-forgotten Sheffield suburb, it’s a staggeringly impressive set-up they have.

The club website states that AFC Dronfield was formed in 1985 ‘to give young boys in the area an opportunity to play organised competitive football within a structured framework.’

martin
Martin with the current AFC Dronfield under-eights team

Mr Hester has certainly taken on a similar notion, working hard for the attention-craving state of junior grassroots football.

He had been vice-chairman for three years, but is now chairman and gives up more of his time, kindly volunteering 10-15 hours per week so young aspiring footballers can do what they love.

As chairman, Mr Hester chairs regular meetings with the managers of the junior teams, discusses issues regarding the pitches and facilities themselves, sends people on FA courses and ensures that those with an important role are registered accordingly.

Mr Hester said that the best part is the camaraderie and passion that the younger end show when they win a game.

He then reassured that winning isn’t all that matters, by saying that seeing the kids’ smiley little faces is a reward in itself.

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