Burton Albion have been praised as 83 year old kitman Ray Hudson says working ‘kills the loneliness’ of living on his own.
He spoke to ITV News about how his role begins at 7 in the morning and lasts up to 9 hours every day and has been doing this for around 30 years.
Ray, aka Rocky, said: “The worst part of my job is when I go home.
“I live on my own because I lost my good lady. Meeting people in this club and the people here keep me going.
“If I have any problems I can sit down with the manager and talk to him or any of them, they’re all brilliant with me.
“Although I’ve got a nice family. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not there when I walk in the door, you know.
“I walk in the laundry room or walk in the front door here, and there’s always somebody saying ‘good morning’ so yeah it kills the loneliness.”
See the full report by ITV News Central Sports Correspondent Dan Salisbury-Jones and more clips from the interview with him by clicking on the link in this tweet below…
“I live on my own because I lost my good lady. Meeting people in this club and the people here keep me going”
— ITV News Central (@ITVCentral) August 11, 2023
Rocky’s previous job was as a brewer, then after spending a lot of time at Burton’s old stadium having bee made unemployed in 1994, the then-management team offered him a job which required him to clean the players’ boots, then lead on to being the kits.
After years of travelling on the road with the club, he’s given that up but still holds a job at the League One outfit and even earned the nickname “Mr Burton” by John Brayford.
Ray adds: “They call me names now and then and it begins with ‘old…’ But they don’t mean it. Well, I don’t think they do.
“I just threaten them. I used to say, I’ll introduce you to Hercules if you start. And then when they say ‘who is that?’ I just show them my right fist.
“It works, they laugh, I laugh and that’s how we get on.”
As mentioned, Burton have also been praised by Twitter users as the 83 year old kitman says working ‘kills the loneliness’ of living on his own…
@Kevinhi02489327: Be good if other clubs done this 👍
@Andy9000: Well done Burton Albion and for Rocky to get out of the house and meet people. It’s so easy to sit at home and do nothing and basically shut down. Proud of you Rocky from an Ipswich Town fan 👏👏👏👏
@ball_launcher: The Legend Ray ‘Rocky’ Hudson, Mr @burtonalbionfc
@Dannyboyr4: Without a doubt a true LEGEND! ❤️👊👍
@Fairynuff50: Absolutely love this wonderful man, been there as long as I can remember 💛🖤
@STV_Olly: This is brilliant from @dsj_itv – if anyone is in any doubt about how much football clubs can mean to people and communities then have a look at this ⚽️
@bwatkiss96: One of the best men in football
@guest157: This man is a club legend. Alway smiling. Always makes everyone feel welcome no matter who you are. 💛🖤
@ollie_crooks: My good mate Rocky ❤️
@LeighOvo1: Every club needs a guy like this, and clearly every guy needs a club too 🙌🏼
@ericgraves7: What a guy!! Love Rocky. And every club needs people like him
@Ilovebafc: God bless you Rocky 💛
@ScottAves: Good on ya Rocky 👌🏻
@Bradley123452: What a man 👏🏻 club legend forever, not many like him about now in football🟡⚫️ #bafc
@markwighty6: I’ve never known @burtonalbionfc without Rocky! Gentleman and Albion legend!
Useful contacts for help on loneliness
Mind’s helplines provide information and support by phone and email.
Local Minds offer face-to-face services across England and Wales. These services include talking therapies, peer support and advocacy.
Side by Side is our supportive online community for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
Age UK (England)
Information on befriending, including an online directory of UK befriending services.
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Professional body for talking therapy and counselling. Provides information and a list of accredited therapists.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Directory of services and groups for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Cruse Bereavement Support
Online community for anyone aged over 13 who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or is curious or unsure.
Hub of Hope
UK-wide mental health service database. Lets you search for local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support. You can filter results to find specific kinds of support.
Website that allows you to find face-to-face groups of people who share your interests or aspirations.
National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
Information about volunteering, including details of local centres.
Organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs across the UK.
Supports people throughout England and Wales to spend time walking outdoors, through its programmes and community. You can search for wellbeing walks near you.
Social activities for people over 75 who have little or no social support.
Provides help and support with relationships, including counselling and telephone support.
116 123 (freephone)
Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS
Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).
The Silver Line
Social Farms & Gardens
Information on care farming and community growing projects, including a network of local farms.
Volunteer by Do IT
Lists UK volunteering opportunities.
Web of Loneliness
Online community and website which provides information and tips on loneliness. Also allows users to share artwork and poetry.