By Rob Carty and Simon Borich
When thinking of Warkworth Football Club three Gs come to mind- Grassroots, Gumboots and Good Buggers. Warkworth Football Club is a club that has been built on strong personalities. Good buggers like Deano, Olly, the Carr boys, Lambie, Pies, Jonny, Notley, Stiffy, Rutty and Goffy all come to mind quickly. In more recent times you could add names like Wendy, Erin and Sue to the list. Apologies for the many names that have been left out. BUT there has been nobody more synonymous with football in Warkworth than Craig ‘Craigo’ Julyan.
Craig moved back to Warkworth close to 20 years ago and quickly adopted Shoesmith Domain as his second home. There was rarely a training session, let alone a game that took place at the Shoe that didn’t have Craigo supporting from the sideline. Craig was so attached to the club that he refused to move from his home on Browns Rd due to its close proximity to the ground.
Craigo’s early involvement with Warkworth Football was focussed on the juniors. He loved the banter with the parents on the sideline and returned year after year, never missing a Saturday- rain, hail or shine. It is no exaggeration to say that here is a whole generation of footballers from Warkworth that won’t know football without Craigo. In more recent times Craigo came into the first team fold. This was basically a result of him following a group of juniors from first kicks football all the way through to Seniors. Week in, week out Craigo was there on the sidelines spinning the same yarns, ordering folks around and just loving being in the thick of things. Craig volunteered to be our kit man and for only the price of some Persil washed the first team kit week in and week out. Craigo would then loyally back up on a Sunday and support the Women’s team as well. For nearly two decades there were literally no game days at Shoesmith without Craigo.
Over the course of a couple of seasons Craig hardly missed a game for the senior men, before sadly his health meant he couldn’t attend. This even involved a memorable away trip to Waiheke where the squad went in fancy dress, of course Craigo was in the thick of the action dressed as Batman. Quite appropriate as on the weekend one of the lads described Craigo as, “the hero we need, not the one we deserve!”. While Craigo wasn’t always exactly sure of the finer details of the match it was always refreshing to come into the sheds and hear, “great win lads, well done!”, after being on the end of another pasting!
Craig was an absolute celebrity in Warkworth. Everywhere he went people would yell out his name and say hello. The guy was so synonymous with football in Warkworth that he was given the title of Club Ambassador. Exactly what that role entailed nobody was quite sure, but it was a role Craig was very proud of and to be fair there has never been a better Ambassador for football in Warkworth than Craigo. Everyone involved with football in Warkworth will miss you mate. RIP you Good Bugger.
Categories: Other Football Topics
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.