3 months ago
By Chris Wight
IAN Callison brought the curtain down on a 19-year Dalton United career in goal-scoring and winning style.
The Railway Meadow veteran played his 559th and final game for United in their 2-1 West Lancs Division Two win over Stoneclough.
Afforded a guard of honour when he walked onto the pitch with his children, Alfie and Mia, Callison knew just how to write the final chapter in his story as he fired home the winning goal.
The United captain has decided to hang up his boots and enjoy a well-earned retirement from the game, spending his weekends on the touchline watching his son, who is just starting out in junior football.
However, there was a silver lining to his last game as a man not known for his goal-scoring prowess met a low cross to fire home what turned out to be the winning goal.
Stoneclough played their part in proceedings as they, along with Dalton players and officials, gave Callison a guard of honour before the match.
Former team-mates, managers and coaches turned up to see him take to the field for the last time.
His longest serving team-mate, Gareth Jones, said: “Ian will be a massive loss. It’s been a pleasure to play in the same team as him over the years and most of my goals come from hard work by Ian.”
Ex-Dalton United skipper Robbie Sanders remembered a young player turning up from Askam, and added: “I can't recall him having a bad game. He's a great player, servant and a gent.”
Jonny Lowes, who played with Callison at Dalton and against him for Kirkham and Wesham added: “Above all else, his total commitment to Dalton United was probably his greatest attribute. He would literally do anything for the club.”
Former United manager Graham Park and player Dave Mansergh echoed these comments.
The latter said: “I played with Ian for two seasons at Dalton, his attitude to the game was second-to-none.
“He has done what every young player should be looking to do, he has played at the highest level he could for as long as he could.
“He rarely missed a training session and gave everything to the cause on a Saturday afternoon.”
Callison amassed 474 first-team league appearances and 71 cup appearances, including featuring in the Presidents Cup final win in 2012. He has played 559 games in total for the club.
Ian is not the only Callison leaving Dalton at the end of the season.
His dad Alan, a long-time club servant, is stepping down as chairman, while vice-chairman Pete Burns is also vacating his post.
They will be replaced by long-time players and managers Graham Bickerstaff and Chris Athersmith respectively at the end of this month.