IF you have ever come to Cassis Close, the home of Burnham United AFC, you have probably come across a lady called Pauline Smith.

She is often found in the clubhouse on Saturday with her laptop set up in the bar area, as well as popping behind the bar to get people their drinks.

If you take a moment to watch Pauline, you’d notice how all the players know her name, she knows all their names, the people that come to watch Burnham United know who she is, and she knows them, and even the parents of the juniors and the younger players who play for United know who she is.

The reason that everyone connected with the club knows who Pauline is, is because she is one of the most important people there - even though she isn’t a player, team manger or chairman.

She is the club secretary, a role that she has undertaken for nearly 20 years now.

Pauline is responsible for ensuring that all of the club’s players are signed on, and all the forms are correctly completed - no mean feat given that the club (including women’s and veterans’ teams) has well over 160 players, across three separate leagues.

She is the person responsible for ensuring the club has pitches booked for home fixtures, that a referee is available for the fixtures at home, that the opposition know where United play, and that the teams playing away know where they are going as well.

Pauline also helps run the bar for the skittles and darts teams that play their home fixtures at Burnham United’s clubhouse.

It is very easy to comment, when talking about a football club, who the most important person is to the club - is it the striker who scores 25 goals a season, the goalkeeper who pulls off a string of saves week in, week out, the skilful winger, the veteran defender or the manager who performs miracles getting teams promoted or avoiding relegation?

But for Burnham United the most important person is the unsung hero Pauline Smith, who quite simply is the heartbeat of the club. Every club needs a Pauline.