The dedication of lifelong football man Keith Maude has been acknowledged with a special award in honour of his 60 years as a player, coach and administrator.
Keith received a Teesside Heroes Award for his long service to Stockton West End after previous spells coaching Elmwood Youth, Fiesta FC, Tito’s FC and Stockton Buffs.
After receiving his award from Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation during a surprise presentation at his beloved football club, Stockton-born Keith said he still retained his passion for the national game.
“I will never lose my enthusiasm for football,” said Keith, 77. “I just really love the game and Stockton West End. It’s a lovely club.
“Over the years I’ve got to know so many great many through football and it makes me so proud when I bump into people around the town who I once coached as young lads.”
Asked how he felt to be called a Teesside Hero, he modestly replied: “I don’t know about that, like. I just do my bit. I didn’t know anything about it beforehand, which is very unlike me. I was gobsmacked but very proud.”
Born in Oxbridge, Keith got into coach at the age of just 19 when a spinal injury suffered at work at Ashmore Engineering curtailed his ability on the pitch.
Asked to help coach the youth side at Elmwood Community Centre, he adapted to life on the sidelines like a fish to water and quickly led his young players to a series of successes.
“Even when I was a teenage player everybody noticed I was an organiser on the park so it was an easy progression for me,” said Keith, who lives in Norton. “I always enjoyed coaching.
Whilst making appearances himself for Elmwood as well as South Bank and Billingham Synthonia, he enjoyed most success as a coach with Fiesta FC – sponsored by the famous Stockton nightclub – and later Stockton Buffs.
It was at the Buffs where a young Gary Pallister played for Keith before joining Billingham Town and later finding fame with Middlesbrough, Manchester United and England.
His long association with Stockton West End began 31 years ago when his son David was with the under-12 side.
After managing a side that his son captained through to under-18 level, enjoying many successes along the way, he led them into senior football within the Stockton Sunday League, winning three successive promotions from Division 4 to Division 1.
In recent years he has assisted son-in-law Chris in running a team in the Teesside League, enjoying more trophy success.
West End’s chairman since 1995, he assisted in the club achieving the FA’s Charter Standard and helped find a ground for their sole use, eventually forming a partnership with Northshore Academy
Club secretary Keith Aitchison, who attends West End games with Keith each Saturday before they travel to watch Middlesbrough FC together as season ticket holders, paid tribute to his fellow stalwart.
He said: “It is impossible to estimate the number of young footballers who have benefited from his 30 years at the club but it must be in the hundreds. He has given so much to grass roots football and to Stockton West End.”
Along with a trophy and a voucher for Mohujo’s Restaurant in Billingham, Keith received £1,000 for a Teesside good cause of his choice. He has split the donation between Stockton West End, Butterwick Hospice and Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club.