Farnborough Football Club is sad to announce but with warm wishes, that Roger Peirce will be retiring at the end of this Season, having served as Kitman for the past 20 years.

From washing the kit to cleaning the changing rooms, Roger has been ever-present for First Team games and training sessions over a monumental 20 years.

The Club will be holding a Testimonial for Roger at the Easy As HGV Stadium on Sunday 3 May. The game will be between a Roger Peirce XI and a Spencer Day XI, consisting of past and present players and staff.

Tickets for the game are available on Eventbrite here.

Everyone would like to thank Roger for all the hard work he has undertaken for the Club and wishes him a very happy retirement.

Below is an Interview that Matt North did with Roger in October 2018.

Roger Peirce – The unsung hero.

Over the years, Roger Peirce has experienced all there is to love about football with 30 years of blissful highs and crushing lows under his belt whilst working with Farnborough Football Club. However, as I learned, these days a kit man represents so much more than just a guy carrying out odd jobs. They’re the core of the team, providing stability and familiarity in the form of a proverbial ‘father figure’.

When I asked Roger what his job entailed he replied, “virtually everything…I sort the kit out, wash it, clean the changing rooms…clean the balls…everything to do with the team”. It’s clear from this that he plays a central role in the maintenance and preparation before games, without which, there could be stress and disorganisation, possibly leading to a bad result for the team; but it’s the less obvious work that Roger does, that could really be the difference between winning and losing. “On a match day, any of the players needs, I’ll do for them”, he laughed “and that if they’re after anything, I’ll sort it out for them”. Help like this requires a close connection with squad, to understand what is needed to keep them positive and focused on the game.

What interested me the most was Roger’s viewpoint on the club as a whole. Due to his extensive involvement with the club I questioned him on the changes he has witnessed during his time here. He told me “We’ve got a younger side. Certainly in the last few years the side has got younger and younger.” “I would say the club now is more stable than it’s ever been. Since Spencer Day came in he’s steadied the ship if you like, everything’s been sorted, historic debt, everything. So we’re living within our means which is the first time in a long time at this club. I’ve been here 30 years, I’ve seen all the ups and downs. There’s no point going out and getting the best team ever, winning the league and the next week going into liquidation!”

It seems he has a large amount of respect for the manager, and the way he is running the club, which he can judge perhaps better than anyone. With all the players working part time as semi-professionals it is important to balance good quality players with a realistic budget.

Roger added that, “Some people don’t appreciate on a Tuesday night when you’ve got to go somewhere like Swindon Supermarine, these guys have had a full days work and then have to play a full ninety minutes.” “It’s hard. I’ve got a lot of respect and credit for them”.

Clearly, there is a lot of effort and commitment from the players at Farnborough which Roger sees evidence of week in, week out and seems to typify his love for the club. It appears as though there is a mutual recognition of the effort players put in to support their club, with the owner Rob Prince being praised for his aptitude to “go to great lengths to get people to enjoy it here” despite not having unlimited funds to spend.

To sum up, I asked Roger what his favourite memory of his career was. “West Ham in the FA Cup, Arsenal was another one. The Torquay game here where we were cruising four nill and they almost came back to a draw (after pulling three goals back in the 1991/92 FA Cup run) there’s so many really. We’ve had some great players and I’ve made some lovely friends. It can get you down after you lose a game and have to come in on a Sunday and wash all the kit, but it’s my choice, I enjoy it.”

Ultimately, he left me with this authentic quote: “I don’t support a person, I support this club”, which I think exemplifies the true nature of Farnborough Farnborough Club and Roger himself.