SERVING five years at any one football club is a big ask for your modern footballer, but try serving five decades. Malcolm 'Macky' Skinner has, and his dedication to his beloved Mardy AFC saw him pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Welsh Football Trust last week.

Macky who is starting his 51st season with Mardy AFC, where he has undertaken nearly every role possible within the club, has received a prestigious Welsh Community Football Award, which recognizes and rewards the people and clubs that are driving grassroots football in Wales.

As McDonald's Head of Welsh Football explains, "These remarkable individuals and clubs give up hundreds of hours a year to ensure that kids and adults have access to the game in safe and welcoming environments across Wales and it's important that we recognise their extraordinary efforts with these awards."

Macky joined the Mardy during the 1964/65 season and since then his name has become synonymous with the club which was founded in 1897.

Macky recalls, "I was approached by Derek Meadows to join the club in 1964 and it came at just the right time because prior to getting involved with the Mardy I had started to lose my faith in football a little."

Macky's first experience of the beautiful game began when he was a young boy living in Westgate houses at the bottom of Tudor Street.

The former Hereford Road school pupil recalls, "All the boys living in the street formed our own football team and called it the Riverside Rambles FC. We would mark out our pitch at the bottom of Byefield Lane and organize Saturday morning games. It was great fun."

As he got older, Macky began to carry the hamper around Bailey Park for the Abergavenny Thursdays and did the same when the team moved to Pen-y-Pound.

In 1957, Macky began playing for the Abergavenny All Whites, run by Peter Butterfield and Havord Ford.

Macky explained, "Because I was very young to play senior football, at first I just turned up every week for training. Then one day Mr Butterfield told me to go and get my boots because my time had come."

From then on in Macky played every week with the All Whites who later changed their name to the Abergavenny Amateurs FC.

The Abergavenny Amateurs later folded and were incorporated into the Abergavenny Thursdays, something which Macky had deep reservations about.

"A lot of the players who joined the Thursdays didn't get any match time so were forced to join other clubs in the area. Personally I feel it was quite sad that our club just folded in the way they did."

After stints playing for Govilon, Llanfoist, Longtown, Llandewi, and Coopers FC, Macky joined the Mardy and has been an integral part of the club ever since.

A key figure in developing the junior section of the club, Macky was also instrumental in getting the senior side back on its feet and fighting fit again after it folded some 40 years ago.

Macky told the Chronicle, "In the early 1970s I was approached by several senior players in the village to start the senior club again. In those days all we had was a wooden hut to change in and a tin tub to wash in after the game, but no one complained and we just got on with it because football meant so much to us. And I believe that over time the Mardy has become one of the most respected clubs around because of this ethos."

Reflecting on a five decade career with the same club, Macky said, "Over the years a lot of things have changed and a lot of things have stayed the same. I won't deny that we've had a lot of problems, but that's football, and we always worked them out as a club."

Macky added, "This award is a real honour but the biggest honour of all is been given the opportunity to serve Mardy AFC for the last 50 years. It's been a real privilege."