THE 11 years of service of one of Witham Town's best-loved servants is set to be honoured in a special testimonial match in May.

John Watson has been a stalwart on the playing staff at Spa Road for more than a decade and the club is now paying its respects to that with a match that will bring together two sets of Witham players from different eras of Watson's time with Town.

The game will be played at Spa Road on Saturday, May 4 (kick-off 3pm).

One of the teams will be a Legends side managed by former Witham Town manager Garry Kimble, with whom Watson won two promotions as Witham climbed into the Ryman League premier division.

Details of the players involved will be announced on a daily basis on the club's official Twitter page in the run-up to the event and they will come up against the current Witham Town team, managed by Mark Ashford and consisting of any player that has featured for Ashford's first team this season.

It is set to be a memorable day both on and off the pitch in honour of a loyal Witham servant.

Ashford said: "It’s been an absolute pleasure to have had the chance to work with John in what maybe his final season playing.

"John Watson is a true Witham legend.

"It’s so rare for players to stay with a club for more than one season so to be with a club for 11 years is exceptional and deserves to be recognised and I’m so pleased to see Witham Town lay on a testimonial for him.

"Seeing the joy on John’s face when he scored two long-distance crackers against AFC Sudbury at home will be without doubt one of my highlights of the season.

"To see what football still meant to John after all these years was fantastic to be part of.

"I hope everyone makes an effort to come out and support John on the day.

"He really does deserve a great turnout."

Witham chairman Mark Nicholls added: "John Watson has been a fantastic servant for Witham Town for 11 seasons. "He is a lovely lad who deserves the recognition and I am hoping he will have a large turnout.

"He is an inspiration for all the youngsters coming through the ranks of the club and someone that is a leader on and off the pitch."

Fans also have a chance to play a direct part in the day thanks to a raffle that is taking place.

The winning ticket holder will get the opportunity to either play ten minutes in the testimonial or if they would rather not play, they can sit on the bench with the management.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at Witham's remaining three home Bostik League division north games for £1 a ticket.

And it's not just the current crop of Witham staff that value Watson's involvement.

Former Witham Town first team manager and long-time friend Adam Flint said: "In my first period at the club and now 11 years on it took a while to convince him to come to Witham from Tiptree United.

"Hopefully he now realises it was the right decision with various honours from Essex Senior League winner, Ryman North play-off winner medals to his name as well as a number of cups along the way.

"When I became Witham manager he was the first call I made.

"It was great to have him in the changing room as I knew he would have my back and more importantly the players and for this reason he was made captain.

"John has always had the team's best interests at heart and would even at times sacrifice his starting place and would play out of position all to help the team.

"This is a great example to the young and current players at the club and I’m pretty sure the only position he hasn’t played is in goal.

"The word legend is used a lot in my opinion but this man truly deserves it.

"He’s been great to manage, been a great team-mate and also great friend to myself and many.

"I really hope we can get a big crowd together for the day as he really does deserve the recognition."

And former Witham Town goalkeeper and team-mate Jason Baker added: "Johnny Watson: a constant reminder that good people exist in football.

"From an arm around the shoulder, all the way across to being a constant positive figure - one of the best guys you could ever wish to meet in or out of football."

Entry to the game will be £5 for adults and £2 for concessions with all gate receipts and collections going to Watson.