FOOTBALL needs stars both on and off the field and the Welsh National League has had plenty of those over the years.

In the final part of a look back at the league, we highlight the work done by the unsung heroes with Stan Jones, Jack Evans, Horace Wynne, Ken Hughes and John Eifion Lloyd among those earning so much respect across the region.

Stan was the most knowledgeable official I ever met and his detailed familiarity of the rulebook was quite incredible. John Mann’s commitment to grassroots football has also been quite considerable especially as chairman of Welsh Schools football.

The Welsh National League have a lengthy list of committee stalwarts - Terry Hewitt, Ray Reeves, Cyril Roberts, Bernie Simon and Arthur Pritchard, who set the highest of standards.

The passion and warmth shown by Cyril and Bernie in particular was quite immense while when the curtain came down on the Welsh National League in May it was a real shame as the likes of Steve Harris, Roy Thomas, Ray Reeves and Bev Jones won’t be involved when the 2020/21 season starts.

Thankfully workaholic Keith Cherrett stays in post albeit supporting a different league.

Underpinning the work of the leagues has always been the North East Wales Football Association which has surfaced numerous unsung heroes.

One of my favourites was Brian Tudor who took charge of all disciplinary matters over several decades and all without the help of technology, just the reliance on his famous green pen and massive black book.

After a successful career as a referee, Ken Hughes seems to have been around for ever and he stepped up to the plate to become a key Welsh FA official.

The same can be said of Vic Cliffe, Brian Roberts, Dave Evans and Paul Wright.

Spending what seems like a lifetime, treasurer Tony Edwards recently retired after over 40 years of service.

On the big Welsh FA stage were Stan Jones, Jack Evans, Cliff Evans, Chas Rowland and Steve Williams.

Steve played a massive part in the merger of Cefn Albion and Druids United and at the same time he became a member of the Cymru Alliance management committee and was elected as their secretary.

He also had quite a lengthy spell serving as both secretary and chairman of the Welsh National League. His presence as a Welsh FA Councillor since being appointed in 1997 is where he really has made a major impression.

He has never forgotten his football roots and has provided immense support and advice to just about every local football club in our area. His knowledge and wisdom is what makes him so special.

His talents and skills have obviously been recognised by the top brass of the Welsh FA and more recently he became the FA’s treasurer. This year he has been elevated to become the vice-president of the Welsh FA and in parallel he is now a UEFA match delegate official and sits on their stadium and security committee.

On a personal level, my first ever memory of senior football was in 1960 going to watch Wrexham face Leicester City in the FA Cup but my introduction to Welsh National League football came from watching Wrexham at the Racecourse and at half time you could look down from the side of the Kop and watch the Wrexham junior sides competing.

The Reserves always played in the Cheshire League but Wrexham fielded a Colts sides, an A and a B team. In fact several of my close friends in the mid 60-s when playing in the B team, represented Wrexham Youth when they defeated Everton 1-0 in the English Youth Cup and in the Everton team were Blues legends Joe Royle, Jimmy Husband and Roger Kenyon.

In the Wrexham team that night were Graham Turner, John Lloyd, Alan Taylor, Richie Cadman and Graham ‘Ozzy’ Jones who became manager of three Welsh Intermediate Cup winning sides with Blaenau Ffestiniog and Welshpool.

On a personal note, I was delighted to pick up the Welsh Football Outstanding Achievement Award to recognise my lengthy five decade service to grassroots football.

As a hobby alongside being secretary at Lex XI, I was working as a freelance journalist for The Leader, it was at a time Welsh Football was really in the doldrums.

The Football Association of Wales needed fresh blood when general secretary Alun Evans was shown the door in 1995.

I applied along with 250 others for his job and was asked to take on such a prestigious role.

But I was soon brought down to earth when my wife asked me would I be happy moving to live in Cardiff without her and my four sons.

And there was only one answer to that!