Footballers’ cup tribute to Queenie

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Nearly 40 years after the idea was first floated, not one, but two “Queenie” football teams have finally taken to the field.

In 1976, the Lancashire Evening Post ran an article on Ribbleton woman Eileen Ashworth, affectionately known as Queenie, who had 11 grandsons in a row.

FACE OFF: The over 35s and under 35s teams line up ahead of the first 'Queenie Cup' football match

FACE OFF: The over 35s and under 35s teams line up ahead of the first 'Queenie Cup' football match

A member of the family had quipped that football-mad Queenie, who supported PNE, “finally had her own team”.

Queenie, who lived in Cedar Road with husband Jimmy and worked as a door lady at St Joseph’s Catholic Club for 20 years, went on to have 13 grandsons and nine grandaughters, and now has 52 great-granchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

On Saturday, two teams made up of Queenie’s sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons competed against one another for the first Queenie Cup, in memory of the matriarch who died in 1999 aged 82.

Grandson Kurt Czarnota, 33, Queenie’s 12th grandson, said: “She was a real character and football-mad.

GRAN: Eileen Ashworth

GRAN: Eileen Ashworth

“Every time a grandson was born, she’d buy them a little pair of plastic football boots, and we’ve all kept them.

“The idea of having a Queenie Cup had been in my mind for a while and we’ve finally got round to organising it. We hope that it will become an annual thing, as a good celebration of a much-loved nan.”

The eight-aside game featuring an over-35 and under-35 team took place at Preston Sports Arena in Cottam, and ended 10-3 to the under 35s with around 20-30 members of family supporting.

Kurt said: “I can hardly walk now and I had to play for the over 35s so my ego has been dented a bit but it was a good laugh.

“We certainly had the weather for it too, it was brillinat.

“I think Queenie would have been really proud of seeing all the family playing together and she would have loved it.”

Once the teams had finished, showered and changed, it was back to another game of football, but this time, with a pint or two.

Kurt said: “We’re all off to the Guild on Fylde Road for a few celebratory drinks and to watch the FA Cup final.”