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Latics' new safety officer

12 June 2013

John Cooke lands key post

Latics will have a new safety officer for the 2013/14 season.

John Cooke has been appointed to the post to replace long-serving Pete Davis who has retired.

John is no stranger at Latics having served as a football intelligence officer during his 25 years with Greater Manchester Police until his retirement in 2010.

The 52-year-old had Boundary Park as part of his police beat between 1998/2009.

And he recalls incidents such as the hot dog being thrown during the FA Cup tie against Chelsea when referee Paul Durkin, seeing the red ketchup, thought he had been wounded.

There was also Chaddy The Owl appearing in the referee's report in a game against Reading for standing behind the goal trying to distract a penalty taker.

John, who has two teenage daughters Olivia and Eleanor, shadowed Pete Davis for the final seven games of last season to become familiar with the workings of a safety officer.

He said: "I am looking forward to the job which is a natural progression from what I have been doing.

"We are lucky to have a team of good stewards here which will make my job easier."

John, who lives in Shaw and has worked as an attendance officer at Royton and Crompton School since leaving GMP.

In the wake of several pitch invasions by children last season, John will also be working in secondary schools to educate children as part of an ongoing programme of community work.

Pete Davis, meanwhile, has stood down after 11 years as safety officer at Boundary Park.

The 69-year-old was also a former police officer rising to the rank of inspector before his retirement in 1999.

He, too, had worked at Boundary Park as a police officer.

Pete said: "I was fortunate to be working here during the halcyon days when Joe Royle was manager and Latics were in the Premier League.

"I helped organise police resources for matches and also acted as match commander which was often a challenge when the big clubs visited.

"I became heavily involved with the club and developed an affinity as I have with the town through working here."

Pete, who is from Salford and is a lifelong Manchester United fan, says his job was made easier by having a great team of stewards and supervisors.

Neil Joy, Latics' Chief Executive, said: "Pete has served the club well over the last 11 years and always in a professional manner.

"On behalf of everybody at the club, I would like to thank him and wish him well in his retirement."

And of the appointment of John Cooke, Mr Joy added: "As a former police officer, John has a detailed knowledge of the club's matchday operations.

"He is ideally suited to this role and I am sure he will be a welcome addition to our senior management team." 

John Cooke (left) is pictured being welcomed to Boundary Park by Neil Joy.

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