Club Statement – John Harbottle

Wideopen FC are devastated to announce the passing of our Vice President, John Harbottle.

John was an exceptional servant to the club and volunteer for over 30 years. Johns dedication and passion to help local children succeed in sport will never be forgotten. During his time at the club, Johns work behind the scenes enabled thousands of children to enjoy football and learn life long lessons. He was the heart of our club and will be missed dearly. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

We have opened a book of condolences at the clubhouse and also opened comments on this post to allow people to share their memories of John.

Our club President, John Stephenson, has taken the time to write a tribute to John below:

Before coming along to Wideopen Juniors (as it was called then) John was Deputy Head Teacher at Chantry School in Morpeth which he left to set up a County Wide I.T. scheme developing and training teachers in the use of various programmes.

Johns chosen sport was Rugby but had an interest in most sports. He developed an interest in physiotherapy and being the guy he was he ensured that he was properly qualified. He ran courses for Northumberland F.A. and ourselves, he also had private customers, as well as providing excellent
advice and treatment for our players and coaches.

John joined Wideopen in a somewhat low-key role helping Peter Rutherford with the under 17s team. That was about 33 years ago.

He made the mistake of talking Football to me, the outcome being his joining at Committee level, an action that he berated me for on numerous occasions. In good humour I must add.

He and Basil Cole were the main motivator’s in setting up our constitution both being ex rugby club guys. He was the oracle of the rules for the Club. By his own admission to me on many occasions he was a micro manager. He dotted the Is and crossed the Ts.

He prided himself in giving out the correct advice, he was very much the perfectionist, a level he maintained until the latter few weeks of his life.

After retirement, John took on more and more tasks for us, his involvement with us developed into a full-time job. I think that only now we are realising just what a workload that he had. I think that I can safely say that this work will be disseminated between several Committee members.

John Harbottle will for sure be a big loss to all of us at Wideopen Football Club.

RIP John H. Friend to us all and dedicated servant to Wideopen Football Club.

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