Irvine Vics legend Bert Loach has admitted his 43-year-long love affair with the club could soon be over.
The 67-year-old chairman this week announced he’s taken a break from club duties for the forseeable future for personal reasons.
Bert — known in Junior football circles as Mr Irvine Vics — says he will make a decision on his long-term future in the New Year.
And he admits that tearing himself away from the club he’s served with distinction for five decades is the heartbreaking choice he faces.
“I’m not getting any younger and you have to take a step back to see the bigger picture,” he said.
“I informed the club secretary a few weeks ago that I wanted to take a back seat and I’ve barely been near the place since.
“People have come up to me saying they’ve heard rumours that I have heart problems but that’s a lot of nonsense.
“I think someone saw me coming out the doctors and decided I was on my way out!”
“I just felt, for a variety of reasons, that the time was right for a wee break.
“I’ll sit down in January and decide what I want to do, and while it would be real wrench to leave, I’ll always be a Vics man through and through no matter what happens.”
Devoted Bert’s passion for his beloved Westenders began in 1969 when pals talked him into coming along to watch the team.
That led to his joining the committee where he eventually succeeded Jock Howitt as Match Secretary.
Since those early days, he’s filled every committee position going — sometimes juggling several at a time.
But it has been his dedication beyond getting round a boardroom table, that has set him aside from his Junior peers.
Bert has always gone above the call of duty by lining the park, mowing the grass, writing the match programme, running the line at games, putting up the nets — even retrieving balls booted over the railway line beside Vics Park.
He’s also been heavily involved in the Junior hierarchy.
He became one of the game’s leading administrators as President of both the Ayrshire Region and West of Scotland Association, the former he is a life member of.
Earlier this year, he told Herald Sport, “I simply love Vics too much to go and I can’t imagine myself not being around the place . I’ll keep going as long as I’m fit and able. It’s a simple as that.”