Ballycastle’s ‘Mr Football’ Billy Watson nominated for People’s Award

Liam Watson
Liam Watson

Former Ballycastle United FC Chairman William Watson has been nominated posthumously for this year’s 2015 People’s Award.

Now in its fifth year, the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Awards recognise and reward the clubs, coaches and volunteers that make outstanding contributions to grassroots football across Northern Ireland.

The People’s Award gives members of the public the chance to select the winner through an online voting portal. The judging panel has listed William on the shortlist of four candidates and local people are being urged to go online at www.irishfa.com/peoplesaward to cast their vote for William.

William sadly passed away on 19th February 2015, but he has been nominated by his son Liam for the incredible commitment he showed to his beloved Ballycastle United FC.

William - or Billy as he was also known to many - first joined Ballycastle United FC as a player in 1977 and played his beloved game up until the late 1980’s when he moved into managing the senior team for several years before becoming part of the club’s committee and most recently chairman for the past 5 years. His role as Chairman saw William oversee the day to day running of the club from financial affairs to making sure kits were ready for match day.

He worked for the local council and all his spare time was spent helping Ballycastle United FC through training or committee tasks. He was heavily involved in the start-up of the youth teams at the club believing it was crucial to get young people off the sofa and onto the football pitch. In 2013 William worked closely with the senior team in helping them to the league and cup double in the Coleraine morning league and the Steel and Sons Cup.

Since his passing the local council is set to name the local football pitch where Ballycastle United play their home games after him. William will always be remembered by those who love football in Ballycastle.

Commenting on the People’s Award, Pat Jennings, McDonald’s Head of Northern Ireland Football, said: “William Watson gave so much to grassroots football, it is only fitting that he is being recognised for his achievements at the McDonald’s Irish FA Community Award. The Awards provide a great opportunity to pay tribute to those people who do so much for grassroots football and the ‘People’s Award’ category enables the public to have its say in rewarding our local football heroes. We have four incredibly strong candidates in William, Eugene, Rory and Sean and wish them all the best for the awards campaign

“The Awards form a key part of McDonald’s Community Partnership with the Irish FA. The partnership is delivering a lasting legacy for community football, providing clubs with the support and assistance they need to go from strength to strength.”

To view and vote for shortlisted candidates visit www.irishfa.com/peoplesaward