Hatters honour one of their oldest living players

By John Dickens

A 95-year-old World War Two veteran was awarded his unique Stockport County Appearance Number (SCAN) on Saturday.

George Haigh, made his debut for The Hatters in 1938, but had his Stockport career cruelly curtailed by the outbreak of war a year later.  

However, his beloved Stockport County invited him, as guest of honour, to attend the launch of the ground-breaking Stockport County Appearance Scheme.

County are the first ever British football club to award players with their appearance number and are also currently in talks with the F.A. to add it to match shirts.

George, the 482nd County player, received his SCAN certificate along with 50 former and current players at the event.

“I was very excited to receive the award – it will take a central position in my front room,” said George.

“I feel at home in Stockport. I grew up here, went to school here and have supported County since I was a boy, I love coming back.

“I still try and get down to the matches as many times as I can.”

Saturday’s debutant Cameron Darkwah became the 1,287th player to represent County– believed to be more than any other professional club in England.

And the hunt now begins to track down and present a certificate to every single former player or family of the now deceased.

The ground-breaking scheme arose from 15-years work from club historians and fanatics Marcus Heap and Ian Watts.

Marcus described the process as tracing a family tree consisting of over 1,200 different people – including George Best and Frank Worthington, the 796th and 934th respectively.

“This night is what we dreamed of since we started – I remember thinking one day we might be able to do this,” he said.

“This is the fans, handing something over to the players and saying thank you in recognition.

“I want every single supporter in this room to be able to celebrate the history of Stockport County.

“I want all these young kids to go to school on Monday and say I know why I am supporting Stockport and not Manchester City or United.”

The initiative is supporter ran and Graham Privett from the Stockport County Supporters Co-operative, who helped organise the night, said Stockport are leading the way.

“The club have a unique relationship with fans and part of this night is to remember that,” he said.

“A player could have played for six clubs in his career but he will only have one certificate and that’s from playing at Stockport.

“We have set the standard and I believe all clubs will follow us.”

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