Management team lead tributes to the late Bill Sampson

09 Apr 2017 in News

Management team lead tributes to the late Bill Sampson Management team lead tributes to the late Bill Sampson

By Brian Bennett

Two leading members of Ashington FC’s management team led the tributes to Bill Sampson – a former player and supporter of the club - who passed away last week. Steve Harmison and Lee Anderson – manager and assistant manager respectively at the Woodhorn Lane club – were united when they described Bill as being a strong man who has a lovely family. Anderson said: “On hearing the news of Bill’s death, my first thoughts were for his family. Bill and I go back a long way to when I was a little boy and first started playing football. His son Paul and myself were the same age and played in the same team. We were in the same class at school and same teams all the way through from juniors to seniors and Bill basically looked after me as if I was one of his own. I have known him since I was nine years old and to say that I am devastated for the family is an understatement. They are a lovely family who are very close.” Anderson recalled a story which he will always remember: “We were playing down at Northallerton one day when I fractured my cheek bone in the first 20 minutes of the game,” he said, “I had a shower and supported the lads for the rest of the game then Bill drove me to Newcastle General Hospital and sat alongside me and my dad until I had had my operation. He stayed with me to make sure I was okay and that just sums Bill up. He was a strong man who was a driving force for his family and I think he will be very proud to have the family he has got.” Anderson went on: “It’s a pleasure for me to help Bill’s grandson Ben enjoy his football at Ashington. Ben has been sensational – one of the few pluses for us in a pretty average season. He comes from a top family and I’m upset and feel for them and their friends. Bill’s passing is a great loss and he will be a big miss to me personally.” Steve Harmison said: “Bill was a lovely man. I used to pass him on a Saturday or Sunday on my way to playing a round of golf when he was sitting outside the Church Centre at Newbiggin selling prize draw tickets. I’ve known him for a lot of years because when I played, his son Paul was in the same team and Bill supported us. More recently has been watching his grandson Ben at Ashington. Bill has come on a couple of trips with us and his passing is so sad. He was a big strong man who deteriorated very, very quickly and is from a fantastic family. The way Paul was brought up is testament to his parents Bill and Carol and it is a sad time for them. Bill was always encouraging Ben from the sidelines. We were in two minds whether to play Ben against Washington on Saturday or leave him out but he trained really well on Tuesday and seemed fine. These things happen in life and Bill will be a gentleman sadly missed from the terraces of Woodhorn Lane. The Sampson family are a great family.” Harmison added: “In Ivan Bell and Bill Sampson, we have lost two gentlemen who have supported this club really well. For Ivan, we wore black armbands in our away game at Guisborough then before our home match against North Shields remembered him with a minutes silence. On Saturday, we again wore black armbands but weren’t sure whether to have a minutes silence with Ben [Sampson] in the team. We decided to go ahead with it and Ben handled things very well.”

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