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Central, MAP to honour club legend

Two rival Auckland football clubs will play a special match to honour a local club hero who died late last year.

Central United and Mount Albert-Ponsonby will play a memorial match on March 19 to recognise the life and contribution of Brian Stanyer, who died aged 61 in October.

Stanyer had been involved with Mount Albert-Ponsonby since 1977, spending time there as a player before holding every available position on the club’s committee over 40 years.

He also spent some brief time with Central.

Mount Albert-Ponsonby’s chairman Keith Earl said Stanyer had put his heart and soul into serving the club and his death had brought the two clubs closer.

“Ivan Vuksich [chairman of Central] said to me, ‘We might be rivals on the field, but off the field we are all brothers in football’,” Earl said.

“And that really hit home for me. The clubs are connected stronger than ever now and I think Stan would be really proud that we’re working hard with Auckland City and Central.”

The annual game will be in the teams’ pre-season fixture list, though some silverware will be on the line with the Brian Stanyer Memorial Trophy up for grabs.

For Central, while Stanyer’s involvement at the club was brief, his impact made honouring him a necessity and club chairman Ivan Vuksich said it felt like the right thing to do.

“I’ve got a great affinity for people who are putting all their hard work into clubs, and I know he did that extremely well,” Vuksich said.

“It”s a good trophy, and it’s in memory of a good man. I’m just really pleased that it’s come to fruition and if we can keep it going in years to come it will form a really nice tradition.”

Stanyer will continue to be recognised as a legend among the local football community, with his death last year a huge blow to the club, Earl said.

“It was quite surreal really, and just a total shock,” he said.

“What it did do, was bring us closer together as members and friends and it just really hit home how much he did.

“Apart from his family, it was the second love of his life.”

The memorial match will take place at 3.30pm on March 19 at Anderson Park.

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Story reproduced courtesy www.stuff.co.nz and can also be viewed here.