RIP, Grandad

Last updated : 04 August 2012 By Ross Gibson

Achie Gibson leading the Iron outDeath doesn't usually give you any relief from hurt in any circumstances, but for my Grandad, who suffered from the horrible Alzheimers Diseases, there was some kind of consolation for the loss of the man I have idolised since a young age: knowing he had his personality back at last. 

This horrible disease ate away at my Grandad and deprived us of his jolly, kind and funny personality in the final years of his life. He was finally back to himself, and although not on Earth any more our family take consolation in the fact that he is now up there shining down on us. He can finally remember the people who loved him dearly, he can remember playing in front of 40-odd thousand fans for Leeds week in week out and leading out the Iron as captain.
As a youngster I dreamt of being a footballer, and luckily I had my Grandad to look up to and give me advice. I remember asking him for a kick around expecting it to be with a full size football but , no, he made sure we played with a tennis ball. We did this as, in his words: "That's all I had to train with when I was a youngster."

He was my idol, his job was what millions dream of doing, and  in that sense he was a lucky man, but he worked very hard to get the opportunity. He deserved it.

Many a time during his battle with Alzheimers I asked him questions about his time as a footballer. It was quite exciting hearing him tell stories of Jack Charlton coming to his house, or going out socialising with the great John Charles. A story that particularly sticks is when he received a red card for a scrap in the tunnel with WBA player Derek Hogg, making him the first Leeds player to ever receive a red card. He told me about how supportive Leeds United were, and the club executives even took time out to visit a distressed Grandad after it happened. He didn't want to be the first player to get sent off for Leeds! It does make me chuckle, though, as he effectively started off the term "Dirty Leeds".
He joined Leeds United on the May 31 1951 and stayed there for nine years. He made 174 appearances for Leeds, scoring five goals. It was his time at Scunthorpe that I am most proud, obviously, being a huge Iron fan myself. He made 138 appearances for Scunny and scored five times
Keep on marching, Grandad.

Archie Gibson's funeral will take place on Monday 6 August at Woodlands Crematorium in Scunthorpe from 1pm.