Ann a Hallam FC stalwart for over six decades

Hallam FC club stalwart Anne Holland at the club's ground in Sandygate. Photo: Glenn Ashley.
Hallam FC club stalwart Anne Holland at the club's ground in Sandygate. Photo: Glenn Ashley.
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Non-league football survives on its army of volunteers and football enthusiasts - without them, the grass roots game could not exist.

One such person is Ann Holland, who looks after the catering and hospitality at Toolstation NCEL Division One side Hallam FC

Ann has been involved at the club for just over 60 years and is as well known in the non-league circles as the famous sloping pitch at the oldest football ground in the world.

Ann’s involvement with Hallam started when she was a young girl. She explained: “I was born just up the road from the ground so I used to get taken to the matches by my father and grandfather when I was around six.

“In those days there wasn’t a lot to do on Saturdays, so I was always happy to go along and happy to help out. There was always something to do, whether it was helping sell raffle tickets or fetching the water.

“I took over the running of the catering and doing the food for the hospitality in 1974 from my late sister Jean, who had to give it up due to family commitments.

“Nowadays Jean’s daughter, Caroline, helps out with the catering which is really nice.”

Ann, who is also the Under-19s secretary, doesn’t get to see much football on match days at Sandygate as she is too busy serving hot drinks or pasties and chip butties.

“People often ask me how they have played or was it a good game but I can’t really tell them as I only see glimpses of the match,” she smiled.

“I do get to most of the away games which is nice as I get to see the football.”

Ann has seen many managers come and go over the years but remembers fondly the period under Kenny Johnson: “I got on really well with all the mangers... they all brought something different to the club,” she said.

“But I remember we had a good team under Kenny when we won the League Cup. I like the current manager Ryan Hindley, too; he’s very infectious and I really hope he can get the club in the play-offs and win promotion.”

The best improvements in non-league Ann has seen over the years? “The provision of ladies toilets,” she answers.

“Back in the old days you had to nip into to use the changing room loo, which wasn’t ideal!

“All that has changed now with more women coming to watch and get involved in football.”

Aged 68, Ann has no intentions of stepping down any time soon. “People often ask me if I’m going to pack it in. What would I do if i did?

“Saturdays are all about football for me. It gets me out in the fresh air and keeps me active.”

Ann, everyone at Hallam would miss you if you ever did.