ROY Butterworth, Oldham Athletic’s legendary matchday press officer, has put a lifetime of memories into print.
The 79-year-old from Shaw has self-published ‘A Fan of the Inside’, an autobiography which contains a treasure trove of Latics’ stories.
The title refers to Roy’s 57 years of voluntary service at Latics as he has been privileged to see the workings of the club from within the inner sanctum.
It began in 1963 when he helped start Radio Latics but the book goes back even further to 1947 when the schoolboy had his first season ticket when he went to games with his father and grandfather.
It has been a labour of love as Roy, who confesses to not being IT literate, painstakingly compiling his memories in handwritten notes.
And with the help of journalists Phil Rostron, Matthew Chambers and Michael Yarwood, along with help from broadcaster John Helm and Latics’ historian Stewart Beckett, the stories were woven into a book.
Roy, who had his own printing business Burnage Press, which was based in Chadderton and latterly Royton, said: “The book is not a history of the club, but a collection of my memories.
“It has been eventful, including the glory days in the Premier League to seeing the club come through being in administration.”
Roy’s journey began in the era when the likes of Eric Gemmell and Bert Lister, two legendary goalscorers, were club icons.
But in nearly six decades of watching Latics, Roy picks out Bobby Johnstone, who arrived in the 1960s at the tail end of an illustrious career, as the best player he has ever seen at Boundary Park.
“He was some player, unbelievable.
He was the best-ever player by a country mile,” added Roy, who selected Joe Royle as the most successful manager, Ian Stott the top chairman and Alan Hardy the best commercial manager.
“While Joe managed the club in the most successful period in the club’s history, we should not forget the work done by his predecessor Jimmy Frizzell who took the team from the bottom of Division Four to become an established second division side.”
After helping start Radio Latics, Roy became press steward and that evolved to become matchday press officer dealing with the media, which was especially challenging during the club’s Premier League days when the likes of the two Manchester clubs, two Liverpool teams, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham were regular visitors to Boundary Park.
Roy will reach another landmark on the day Latics play at Crawley Town in March – it will be his 80th birthday, which will be spent as a summariser on the club website’s commentary of the game, a job he has also done since the advent of the internet in the early 2000s.
Fan on the Inside has been printed by UK Book Publishing Company and there has been an initial run of 250 copies which are priced at £8.99 with all profits being given to Maggie’s support centre at the Royal Oldham Hospital.