Celtic's chief executive officer Joshua Greaves is pictured making Alain Robillart from France's US Vermelles a vice-president of the EVO-STIK League Premier Division club and presenting him with a special award to recognise his unique efforts promoting international relations between the clubs over more than two decades.
Celtic have been friends with Vermelles in the Pas De Calais region of northern France since 1995 when one of their youth teams was first invited to an international tournament. After raising the money to make the trip possible, Farsley have only missed about four tournaments since thanks to the efforts of youth coach Robillart who's organised everything from translating and acting as club taxi to family exchanges.
Celtic paid the surprise tribute to the Frenchman on Saturday after he came over from France for what turned out to be a frozen off fixture with Matlock Town. In an article for the matchday programme, the club said: "Alain has been instrumental in providing a link between Farsley Celtic and Vermelles in France. Over the past 22 years Alain has been the main contact and has liaised with all the Farsley managers who have attended the tournaments in Vermelles. I think Celtic have missed four years out of the 22 years and everyone who has been has thoroughly enjoyed it.
"He has given the opportunity for hundreds of Farsley players and parents, often neglecting his lovely family — wife Natalie and two daughters Anne and Jeanne. Basically, if Alain wasn’t there, the Vermelles trip for Farsley players would not happen. We are all looking forward to meeting him again next year when our U14’s make the trip over the channel."
US Vermelles is a centre of excellence attracting youngsters from a 30 mile radius to play and Farsley Celtic chairman John Palmer told fans he was delighted to see their main contact honoured for his efforts to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the clubs over so many years.
Palmer said: "Alain has helped Farsley Celtic so much over the years in our connections with Vermelles. All at Farsley Celtic would like to welcome Alain to the club as a vice-president. #OneClub."
Images courtesy of @FarsleyCelticFC/Twitter
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