07:00PM, Wednesday 25 March 2020
Rich Bone (left) with Chris Dunn
It is Saturday evening, just after 8pm, and somewhere in the distance is the faint noise of music and the general hum of football fans who have flocked to the nearest pub. York Road is devoid of all supporters. It has been for over three hours now. One man, however, is still in attendance.
“I’m the last one out,” Rich Bone says with a dry laugh. “I’ve still got all the washing to do.”
Bone is Maidenhead United’s kit manager and joined the Magpies in July last year.
By his own admission, the 48-year old is one of the hardest workers at the club and is responsible for ensuring every shirt is clean and shorts are scrubbed before and after each match.
“I’ll head up to the club about 7.30pm on a Friday night,” Bone says. “I get the kit out and hang it all up ready to go for Saturday.
“Then, I speak to the gaffer on Saturday morning to find out who’s in the team and who’s not so I can put shirts and socks out for them.
“When the players start clearing out after the game, I’m left in there packing everything away and starting to get the washing on.
“I’ll go back up on a Sunday and will spend four or five hours finishing it all off.
“It’s a long old job but I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Bone replaced the club's former kitman Jon Urry last year, who spent 25 years serving the Magpies.
Following stints at Flackwell Heath and most recently Burnham, Bone recalled the day he received the offer to take up the role at York Road.
“I was walking around Asda with my wife and the little one and my head completely fell off.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was at Burnham at the present time and I could be going to Maidenhead in the National League. It was a massive step up for me.
“I spoke to Paul Shone, Glen Skivington and Ashley James and said I was going to take the job and, thankfully, they were over the moon for me. It really was an offer I couldn’t turn down.
“People say, well you’re only doing the kit but there’s more to it than that,” Bone added. “You’re like the players’ best friend. You’re part of the team.
“I try to keep them going because we’re all in it together. If they lose, I lose.”
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