There are a few names that we seriously have to question if we would still be here, had it not been for their remarkable contribution. This certainly applies to John Relish.
John signed in May 1974 and despite a broken leg made over 400 appearances.
He contributed wholeheartedly to help us through possible extinction in 76/77 and then, settling at left back, became a key member of our golden era.
John accepted taking on the role of Player-Manager in 1986 to avoid likely relegation and his leadership succeeded in that. He was torn but chose to leave at the end of the season to work for the Professional Footballers’ association, although he did return briefly to play during an injury crisis.
Perhaps his most crucial contribution was agreeing to become Manager in our inaugural season as AFC. The mere announcement that he was to play a key part in it, raised confidence through such difficult times, both on and off the field.
He inspired winning the Double in our first season and saw our return to Somerton but sadly then faced our enforced exile to Gloucester. During that time John felt, partly due to the excess travelling, that it was time to step down and allow others to build on his effort and to concentrate on his demanding work role.
John set up our ‘Former Players’ Association, on the 27th February 2014, coincidentally the anniversary of the gates being closed at Somerton in 1989.
John was inducted in to our Hall of Fame on 18th September 2009