Barry’s tragic passing provides a sense of perspective - The Evesham Observer

Barry’s tragic passing provides a sense of perspective

Evesham Editorial 15th Dec, 2016   0

BOSS Quentin Townsend admits he will have to separate emotion from the desire for points when he takes Pershore Town to Southam United on Saturday.

This is not just because it pits his present team against his former club, but because the Midland League Division One fixture will become a tragic tribute to Townsend’s former managerial assistant Barry Rumble.

Rumble, who had been coaching one of Bedworth United’s teams, had been part of a trio with Townsend and current Southam boss Ian Ray with the Saints, taking the club to two cup finals in one season in 2015.

However, Rumble, whose playing career included a spell at Evesham United, died from an aggressive cancer last week aged just 41 and Townsend and Ray will mark their friend’s passing when the sides meet at Banbury Road on Saturday. A minute’s silence will be observed before the game.

“The news about Barry was a complete shock. He was fitter than three-quarters of my team, even at the age of 41,” said Townsend.

“He was only diagnosed with cancer five weeks ago and he was just about to start his chemo when he died. It spread so quickly and he died in Myton Hospice in Coventry. It has left everybody numb and our hearts go out to his wife Sarah and his two children.

“Southam was my first job as a football manager and it was Barry’s first as an assistant and, with Ian Ray, we had some real success, taking the club to two cup finals.

“It’s absolutely fitting that we’re playing at Southam this weekend and a lot of our former players will be there on Saturday.

“It’s going to be hard to separate the emotion on the day but we need the points to really kick-start our season going into the new year.”

Pershore are set to include one of the former Southam players against a Saints team still looking for their first league win of the season after signing midfielder Tunde Ajibade.

Ajibade helped Townsend’s Southam reach the finals of the league’s Les James Challenge Cup and the Coventry Charity Cup but has not played this season.

However, Townsend hopes his presence can provide the much-needed spark to gel talented individuals into a consistent team.

“Tunde is a great character, a bubbly individual and we’ve probably been too quiet as a team,” said Townsend.

“He is full of energy, with a great attitude to football and life and people bounce off that approach.”

Pershore will also welcome back top scorer Jamie Clarke after his return from working in America, but Steve Roche (three games) and James Walker (one game) are suspended after their red cards against Coventry Copsewood.

Sean Cooke is unavailable on Saturday and for Monday’s Polymac Packaging League Cup tie at Premier Division Highgate United, whilst Will Stallard and Dane Aldington face fitness tests on niggling injuries.

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