INCREDIBLE Burnley Football Club stalwart Jim Thompson has seen his unwavering loyalty to the club recognised with a prestigious award.
The 82-year-old Clarets fanatic, who started work at the club in 1946 and is still there now in charge of the turnstiles, was awarded the Bluefin Unsung Hero Award at the 2011 Football League Awards.
The presentation took place at a lavish gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
On winning his award, Mr Thompson said it was a very proud moment in his life.
“It is just fantastic to get this award,” he said. “My children will be so proud – I can’t wait to tell them. I love the club and it has been an honour to work for them for all these years.”
Burnley Football Club chief executive Mr Paul Fletcher said: “I have known Jim since I first arrived here many, many years ago as a 20-year-old.
“Ever since that day, whenever I see him he has had a huge smile on his face and I am confident that if Jim wasn’t here, the club just wouldn’t operate properly.
“He is part of the very fabric of this football club and if he wasn’t here, maybe the club wouldn’t be.”
A regular face at Turf Moor, Mr Thompson can be seen on match days organising all turnstile staff as well as collating all time sheets for payments.
He has undertaken many roles behind the scenes though working as a barman in several lounges, press room supervisor and has become a key member of the ground staff.
And having seen off 22 managers and seven chairman during his time at Burnley he has insisted the only way he’ll stop working for the club he loves is if someone “kicks him out”.
The judging panel for this award said: “There were some truly outstanding and remarkable candidates making judging extremely difficult.
“In Jim we have someone that has given a lifetime of loyal and unstinting service to a club that he obviously cares deeply about, a truly worthy winner.”