BOSS Mark Halmshaw has hailed the “special” achievement of a first-ever treble at Beeston St Anthony’s and declared: ‘Keith Sanderson – this was for you.’
Beeston were rocked by the shock death of club stalwart Sanderson last October when the former manager – who was in his 50s – collapsed whilst walking with his son-in-law.
Halmshaw, 46, admitted the club were subsequently left with extra motivation to win a trophy in Sanderson’s memory – and seven months later the Saints have snared three.
With the club’s first-ever West Riding FA County Challenge Cup already sealed – in addition to the West Yorkshire League Cup – Beeston needed to avoid defeat at home to sole-remaining title rivals Carlton Athletic on Saturday in their penultimate game, but matters looked grim when Carlton led 4-1 with 11 minutes remaining.
But Beeston, incredibly, roared back to draw 4-4 and seal a treble that is now the undoubted highlight of the club’s 95-year history, and the ultimate tribute to a man that was particularly important in the development of the club’s first ever treble-winning boss.
Paying a glowing tribute to the much missed Sanderson, Halmshaw told the YEP: “When Keith died it was really, really sad for the club and for all of his family and his friends – he was a really popular guy.
“We spoke about it at the time and said how nice would it be and how fitting if we were to lift a trophy this year for him in his memory. To have gone on and obviously done the treble is fantastic. When Keith was at the club, that was when I first got involved – I have been at the club 20-plus years – but he was the one with Bob Greenwood that got me involved with the first team.
“He believed in me and he always said to me ‘you are going to be the next manager and when Bob packs in you will be the next one to take us forward’.
“It’s special to win the treble this year for him. It’s something that will always be remembered.”
Beeston were handed the West Yorkshire League trophy after Saturday’s draw and finished their season with last night’s hosting of Wetherby Athletic. Carlton, who Halmshaw admits have been tough opponents upon their return to the Premier, hosted Leeds City last night – but Athletic will definitely finish second regardless of yesterday’s result.
Last year’s champions Field will finish third with Leeds City fourth, but it is Beeston and Halmshaw who have proved top dogs. At this rate, Halmshaw will be getting offered the Leeds United job, but the manager laughed: “They’d get the same reply as they are probably getting – not interested. I’m happy where I am. It’s more secure where I am!”