Our long serving historian and friend of the Football Club, Harold Finch, has sadly passed away at the age of 91.
Harold Finch - 9th March 1927 - 20th November 2018
Every football club needs passionate supporters and reliable volunteers to make it function properly.
Owners, managers, staff and players often leave at some point, but those ardent fans stay with the club through thick and thin. It is similar to a long lasting marriage to them, where divorce is unthinkable because there can never be anyone else.
They truly love the club and only death can truly part them.
Perhaps those types of people are harder to find in the modern game because circumstances are forever changing.
Sadly, Crewe Alexandra Football Club lost one of our finest ever supporters yesterday.
Our club historian, Harold Finch, passed away after a really brave fight against illness. He was 91 years of age and had been coming to Gresty Road to support his local team since 1934.
He had seen it all from the days of re-election and a decaying old football ground, to the great players, the emerging youngsters, Wembley trips and days out in the Championship. After years of hardship and adversity, Harold thoroughly deserved to see his team become winners.
No-one had a broader smile on his face than Harold when we rebuilt the Alexandra Stadium, won promotions, won those memorable play-off games or when we lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
He loved to talk about his favourites, Johnny King, Frankie Blunstone, Herbert Swindells, Frank Lord, and Gordon Wallace. I never had the privilege to see them play, but I know they were truly fantastic footballers because Harold would talk so passionately about their wonderful attributes.
His stories about Ernie Tagg and his dealings with Stan Bowles were always told with great affection and humour, as were the hours spend in the company of another of our former managers, the Irishman Harry Gregg.
Harold spoke of the time he woke up to the news that the old wooden stand at Gresty Road was on fire and of course his special bond with his friend, Dario Gradi, and all he achieved for the club and the town.
There were hundreds of stories that he could relive from his extraordinary memory.
The great thing about Harold was that he never got too down following a defeat or a sequence of poor results. In the press boxes up and down the country, he would never moan or become too disheartened. He had truly seen it all before and knew football could change very quickly. He was never worried and put things into perspective.
He just loved his football and following his team.
He had tremendous football knowledge and was a great help to the media team at the Football Club. He loved his stats and would, quite rightly, hammer you if you were incorrect with any information.
You had to earn his respect if you were to be accepted into his Crewe Alexandra ‘family circle’ but he was a great friend, always willing to help.
That kindness will never be forgotten by those who work at Crewe Alexandra.
Harold’s attention to detail was second to none and he would be always willing to help other supporters or officials from other clubs if they needed bits and pieces of information.
That must have been a great satisfaction for him, if say a granddaughter wanted some background information or possibly a photograph when her granddad proudly played for Crewe Alexandra. Doing nice things for people, who were interested in Crewe Alexandra, gave him a real buzz.
Harold was an honourably life vice president of the Football Club, he set up the first Junior Supporters’ Club in the 1960s and edited the matchday programme until 1998. He continued to contribute with his writing and statistical information for the programme until his health dictated that perhaps he needed a rest after over 65 years of outstanding service!
His personal contribution to the success of Crewe Alexandra should never be forgotten.
When we travel up and down the country covering games, there are so many club officials, journalists and older generation supporters asking about him and his well-being. They will be deeply saddened by his passing.
Harold Finch was an immensely proud ambassador of our Football Club and he thoroughly deserved the long standing award, certificate and medal he received from the Football Association in 2011.
In his later years, Harold was sorely missed around Gresty Road on matchday and now his loss will shock many in the game.
Our sincere condolences go to the Finch family and all the friends of H at this very sad time.