Derby County are to name a stand after their longest-serving member of staff, 82-year-old Gordon Guthrie MBE.
The South West Corner Stand at Pride Park Stadium is to be named The Gordon Guthrie Stand, presented by Derby-based business Aspire Achieve Advance Group Limited, who are one of the fastest growing training providers in the UK.
Guthrie, who has served the Club for six decades, is the Derby County Kit Manager but has been unwell in recent months, although he has been keeping track of the Rams’ on-field performances by watching match DVDs at home.
In 2009 he was awarded the Merit Award by the Derby County Past Players Association, as well as collecting an MBE on Queen’s Honours List for his services to football.
Guthrie’s footballing career was prematurely brought to an end due to injury and he became a club physiotherapist/trainer serving over a dozen managers, including Brian Clough during Derby's glory days in the top flight of English football – and he remains a popular figure with everyone connected with the Club.
He made an emotional return to Pride Park on the final day of last season against Millwall and he received a rapturous applause from the Derby faithful when he appeared on the touchline.
Guthrie said: “It’s a huge honour and I am very proud.
“Derby County has been my life for so long and it’s unbelievable to have a stand named after me.
“This is a special club and I would like to thank everyone for their best wishes whilst I have been unwell and also for the amazing reception I got at the Millwall game, I had a lump in my throat!”
Derby County President & Chief Executive Sam Rush said: “Although I’ve only been in post at Derby County since January I have quickly discovered what a fantastic character Gordon Guthrie is, and it’s only fitting to recognise his services to the Club.
“We’ve been talking to him since the back end of last season and we were approached by Peter Marples, who has a long association with the club, after the Millwall game who came up the idea of naming a stand after Gordon which his company is sponsoring.”
Derby County Manager Nigel Clough said: “I am delighted for Gordon to be honoured in this way, a way in which he feels comfortable.
"You tend to see high profile ex-players and managers get stands named after them nowadays, but I think it is just as important the people behind the scenes like Gordon are recognised for their achievements.
"It is a wonderful honour for Gordon and recognition for all he has contributed to the club over many, many years.
“He is a wonderful man who is loved by everyone at the Club and to see a stand named after him is the least he deserves.”
Peter Marples, Director and co-owner of Aspire Achieve Advance Limited, said: “We are delighted as a company to be involved with the much deserved recognition of a fantastic figure around Derby County Football Club.
“I witnessed first-hand the reception Gordon received at the Millwall game and reflected that something more permanent should be considered.
“On reflection, we probably should have done something when I was part of the previous ownership group but I and our company are humbled to be able to be a part of this tribute to Gordon.
“Seeing first-hand Gordon’s fantastic spirit for Derby County over a long period of time, made this opportunity as a locally-based business and ideal match.”
The stand will be officially opened at the Rams’ home game with Leicester City on Saturday 17th August, with Guthrie due to attend the game and make his way onto the pitch at half-time to celebrate the opening of the stand.