After two decades of dedicated service to Weston-super-Mare AFC, our groundsman, Bob Flaskett, has made the difficult decision to retire at the end of December 2023.
A testimonial match has been organised to celebrate Bob’s service to the club, taking place on Saturday 27 April 2024.
After announcing his retirement to club staff on Wednesday, Bob spoke about his life in football:
After a playing career that started with Winscombe Under 18s and later Weston St Johns, winning the District Championship and Hospital Cup in 1972. I took over as the manager at St Johns in 1985 with my mate Chunky Hurman as my assistant in the Somerset Senior League Division 2. Within four seasons we gained two promotions to the Premier Division.
“During that time, Chunky & I unearthed a talented 15-year-old by the name of Pete Fryer, who later went on to join Weston-super-Mare AFC and played over 500 games, across a range of clubs, before returning to retire with us at St Johns.
“After 13 years in charge, I stepped down as manager after many happy and successful seasons. During my time as manager, I looked after the pitch and learnt a lot along the way. I continued to look after the pitch after stepping down as manager.
“In 2003, I received a phone call which changed my life. It was Paul Bliss, Chairman at Weston-super-Mare AFC. He asked to meet and persuaded me to take the groundsman position at Woodspring Park. I only took the role because of my respect for Paul in all he did to save the club from extinction.
“In 2004 we moved to the Woodspring Stadium. These have been some of the greatest days of my life. I can recall such talent players such as Billy Clark, Matt Rose, Justin Skinner, Craig Rand, Lee Jarman, Marc McGregor, Mark McKeever, Jon French, and Stuart Slater, just to name a few.
“It has been a pleasure working for Paul Bliss, and the Bliss family. During my time at the club, Mr Paul Bliss has never interfered or criticised my work, which I am most thankful for.”
It has been an honour having Bob at the club for the last 20 years, with him showing such dedication and commitment to his role as groundsman.
Honours Bob has received across the years are not limited to praise from managers and players alike, he has also received recognition in a 3rd place at the FA National Groundsman of the Year 2005-2006 at Step 1-2, and additionally from Somerset FA in 2018 receiving a Services to Football Award.
Bob will still be at the club after his retirement, during the week and on match days in an advisory position.
Oliver Bliss, Managing Director at Weston-super-Mare AFC, said:
It has been a pleasure working with Bob over the years, he has always got stories to tell and anyone who has had anything to do with football in the area knows Bob.
“I am so glad that my Dad asked him to join the club 20 years ago, he has been a real asset.
“Bob is a friend and I am happy that he will continue to come to the club regularly and will be around to support the new groundsman when required.”
Bob’s testimonial match will take place on Saturday 27 April 2024 at The Optima Stadium, with a 4 pm kick-off.
A 2005-06 Weston Legends team will take on Flash’s Legends.
Players and management taking part in this special fixture will be announced over the coming months.
Tickets are priced at £10.00 for Adults and £5.00 for Under 18s.
These can be purchased online now and on the day at the turnstiles.
Bob has chosen to share profits from his testimonial with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. GWAAC is Weston-super-Mare’s local air ambulance charity.
Approximately 5 times per day, GWAAC’s specialist clinical team bring the hospital to the patient, with their skills and equipment, saving lives and giving people the best outcomes possible.
Their Critical Care Crew have attended 83 patients in Weston-super-Mare in need of emergency pre-hospital care so far in 2023.
They receive no day-to-day funding from the government and rely on the support of the community to keep them flying.
Weston-super-Mare AFC would like to place on record its sincerest thanks to Bob for all his work over the last 20 years. We have been very fortunate to have him as our groundman and as part of our club.
We hope you all can find the time to wish Bob a very happy retirement.