John Eagleton

When John came to Colebrook Royals FC in 1997, their two teams played on substandard muddy pitches. Today, the Essex club has 33  teams, with players of all ages enjoying state-of-the-art facilities – and John has been the driving force behind the astonishing transformation.

John’s unwavering devotion to the club has helped him secure funding from the Football Foundation to build seven new pitches and add luxury changing rooms.

It has also enabled them to launch a thriving education project that is changing the face of the community.

Colebrook works in partnership with the local council to provide free evening activity sessions for youngsters to combat anti-social behaviour and they also run a free education programme, allowing youngsters to gain coaching qualifications.

John has played a huge role in the project’s success by promoting sportsmanship in a welcoming atmosphere while encouraging everyone to enjoy sport, regardless of their  ability. John says: “When I first started here, the pitch that we played on was condemned by health and safety

“But today we are a thriving soccer school with fantastic facilities. We really have come so far.

“It’s a monumental task but I have a brilliant team of volunteers. I’m extremely proud of our education centre.

“We have now qualified in excess of 25  young referees and put through over 100 people in coaching qualifications.

“Limes Farm is a council estate in Chigwell which had a lot of anti-social behaviour but thanks to the council providing an activity at the club every week. It has virtually eradicated kids hanging around the streets getting into trouble through boredom.”

John also strongly supports the club’s charity ethos and has helped raise £80,000 for Haven House Children’s Hospice in memory of one of their players who sadly died from leukaemia.

It’s fair to say John’s heart is at Colebrook  – and he is undoubtedly at the heart of the club.  

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