LOCAL football clubs have been coming to terms with the loss of one of its hugely popular players, Ian Grant, who died just before Christmas, writes Leon Prynn

Ian, who was 39, and lived in Falmouth, played for a number of clubs during his career and as well as his present club, Mawnan, also turned out for Falmouth Town, Constantine, Falmouth Athletic and Falmouth Albion.

His last match for Mawnan Reserves was as a stand-in goalkeeper just a few weeks earlier against league leaders Probus. That game epitomised the true character of Ian, who was an outfield player offering to play in goal because the team had no ’keeper, and without hesitation stepped in to fill the void.

He joined the club in 2016-17 and along with Mark Trewin completed a Percy Stephens Cup and Dunn Cup double in the Trelawny League. The following season the duo snapped up the premier division championship, the club’s first league title since 2008-09.

Latterly, Ian was mostly involved with the veterans team, but he was also a much-valued committee member whose quietly spoken observations were always well respected.

Mawnan AFC’s chairman, Mr Gregg Renfree, said Mawnan are not the only football club affected. “Everyone and every local club is heartbroken over the loss of our dear Ian ‘Granty’ Grant,” said Mr Renfree.

“There are many, many others within the football community who are currently grieving and it will take time, if ever, to come to terms with his loss.

“‘Granty' was an extremely talented footballer who had such good ability on the ball along with a unique understanding of how the game should be played which I soon recognised – and was on the receiving end – when he was a teenager and new to the scene.

“As well as playing for Mawnan, ‘Granty’ was a very active member of the club off the pitch and instrumental in our continued success on it. Our condolences go to to Ian's family, partner, friends and all who knew him”.

“I suppose it’s true what they say about friends being the family you choose,” said close friend Dominic Pullen.

“‘Granty’ was like my brother. He was loved by all who knew him and I’m blessed to have had his friendship for so many years. I’m devastated at the loss and he has left a void that will never be filled. Mawnan AFC will never feel quite the same without him.”

One of Ian’s long-standing friends was Simon Spear who remembered their younger days when they played together at Marlborough and Falmouth Schools with some success.

“At Marlborough we were the district champions of the u11’s Smiths Crisps Monster Munch six-a-side tournament in 1994, but lost 1-0 in the county final.

“We also won the five-a-side West Cornwall Schools’ championship at Carn Brea in 1995, but Ian’s proudest moment in school football would have been the 1999/2000 season when he captained Falmouth School to the u16's county championship.

“What made it even more special was the fact we were supported by a maths teacher, Mr Oliver, which meant Ian, with help from his squad, in effect had to manage the team.”

Ian had considerable success at Constantine Football Club and chairman Brian Jory remembered Ian with fondness: “Everyone at the club was very saddened by the news of lan's passing. Ian had two successful spells at Constantine playing under Cy Prynn and Nicky Chinn in the Falmouth-Helston League.

“In 2008-09 he won the division two title and Barker Bowl and reached the junior Cup area final where we eventually lost to Falmouth Athletic on penalties after a replay.

“In 2010-11, under manager Terry Jarvis, Ian won the league and lost in the league cup final.

“Simple to say a wonderful individual, a great addition to all the clubs he played for and always a pleasure to work with.”

The funeral service will take place at Penmount Crematorium on Tuesday, January 16, at 1pm followed by refreshments at Falmouth Town AFC.