STALWART John Brown is stepping up for charity after standing down from football for the first time in 22 years.
The 39-year-old Alsager Town coach is taking a break from the beautiful game after learning he needs a serious knee operation after years of wear and tear.
After years of dedication to the game, playing midfield for the likes of Witton Albion, Stalybridge Celtic, Leek Town, Newcastle Town and the Bullets, his mind and body need a rest.
Brown, who was born and raised in Winsford and now teaches at St Nicholas RC High School in Hartford, played a major part behind the scenes in Alsager's glorious promotion from the North West Counties League last season, and team manager Greg Clowes immediately insisted that tonight's (Wednesday's) pre-season friendly with Football League newboys Accrington Stanley would be a benefit
But the IT teacher has insisted proceeds go towards childrens charity Donna Louise Trust and he has arranged for the match to be held in tribute to former Alsager School pupil Simon Pettinger, 16, who recently lost his battle with cancer.
He said: 'I would prefer the money to go to charity and of course the Donna Louise Trust is a great cause. But I would also be delighted if the game was in memory of Simon.
He added: 'I've decided to take a break from football for a while because I have a wife and two kids, and it takes up so much of my time.
'I also need an operation on my knee, which will include my leg being broken and realigned, and later I'll need a joint replacement. I'm not sure if or when I'll get back in the game, but I'm sure I'll want at least 12 months away.'