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Maureen Burnside

Me and Maureen

It’s always sad when a great stalwart of the grassroots game passes away, but this one is a little bit personal for me. I only met Maureen Burnside a grand total of twice in my life, but she is nonetheless someone I partially credit for my love of football.

A few years ago I submitted a piece for UK football blog ‘The Ball is Round’ about “my first game” that I ever attended – which was a 5th round Chatham Cup tie between MAP and North Shore United in 1992. In my piece, I wrote “Perhaps the most influential thing I remember however, is how absolutely besotted I was with the cheese and pineapple toasted sandwiches available from the tuck shop! To this day I get one at every game I attend as a matter of ritual.”

For a while, when I first started blogging and before I started the doggie pics, I was regularly including pictures of the cheese and pineapple toasties I encountered on my travels. But since then I have been trying (and mostly failing) to watch my weight a bit so don’t indulge in such treats quite so often.

However when I went back to MAP in 2014, for their Round 3 Chatham Cup clash with North Shore, not only was I given a complimentary modern version of my favourite delicacy to sample but I was also introduced to Maureen as the chef extraordinaire who made my original toastie for me all those years ago!

It was a real honour to meet her, and it’s a genuine source of sadness that she is no longer with us.

I asked the club if they would like to send through a word or two about Maureen, so we could post an appropriate tribute to her here.

The following is from club president Keith Earl:

It is with great sadness that our Mt Albert footballing family lost an amazing lady on Saturday 31st of March, in Maureen Burnside after a bravely fought battle.

Maureen and husband Wally came to the club in 1972, and remained with MAP for almost 50 years.

Maureen was manager of junior teams over the years and was also on the junior committee for 5 years. Not only was she involved in the football side of the club, she also cleaned the club and ran the canteen, where she was known as the canteen manageress. Her beef and gravy rolls have gone down in club history and have never been surpassed.

Maureen had her two sons, Tony and Craig, playing at MAP. It kept the family unit tight and all part of the club, which is a philosophy that continues to this day.

Maureen did eventually step back in an official capacity but never left her beloved Mt  Albert, she was at most first team games, home and away, and was never shy in telling players what she thought of their performance!!

As a club, we are weaker without her but will grow stronger by the legacy she leaves behind and the path she and other club  legends have laid for us to follow.

Football cubs are all about success and happy places to be and these things don’t happen without wonderful people like Maureen Burnside.

Funeral details are available on the Mt Albert  Ponsonby AFC Facebook page.

I will have a cheese and pineapple toastie and remember Maureen next time I am at a game where one is available.

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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