Today we have to report to our footballers that South Yorkshire Ability Counts League secretary Darren Warner sadly died yesterday.
Darren and Mike Stylianou [Chairman SYACL] were the two men responsible for Social Eyes football team joining the League.
Please visit their website southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com and read all about the Ability League.
At that time we were the first day service to join; all the other clubs were affiliated to football clubs; and 2019/20 we won the 5-a-side League 1.
Our football teams will remember Darren from his constant presence at all League games with his oxygen backpack as he suffered from lung fibrosis.
Darren ran Club Doncaster Titans, affiliated to Doncaster Rovers FC, and based at the Club Doncaster Sports Village, which boasts over 140 players. Darren’s autistic son, Jordan, is actively involved with the Club.
Darren was nominated for the unsung heroes from the BBC Regions at the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in Aberdeen, which he won. The award left Darren stunned at the time. He told the BBC “It’s not often I cry … fancy making me cry on TV. I just want to say thank you to everyone. I am over the moon as you can see.
Watch Darren receive his award.
I was gobsmacked – it’s nice to be recognised. To be nominated was a massive thing in itself but to actually win it … words cannot say enough for me.
I don’t do it for awards, I do it for the kids and adults. It started because of my son. I was a parent getting involved because I wanted to get my son a game of football and that’s it. The reception we’ve had since starting in Doncaster and how much it’s grown in these five years just shows how much it was needed here.”
Attending one of the League events it is immediately obvious how superbly well organised the day is. Mike and Darren are meticulous in their preparation, keeping in regular contact with all team officials; with each game allocated to a specific pitch with a designated referee. You’ll see them touring the venue, making sure everything is in order, but also keeping an eye on how the Spartans [Mike’s team] and the Doncaster Titans are performing. The standard of play is high and there is enthusiastic encouragement of both teams during play and both sides are clapped off at the end of each game after having their photographs taken together.
Darren ran Doncaster Titans every night with the saying:-
“We are a team lads, don’t hurt each other”
Rest in peace and love Darren, a true gentleman and friend of Social Eyes Rotherham.