The Lancashire & Cheshire AFL is saddened to learn that Dave King has passed away at the age of 80.
Dave was one of the most well-known and well-respected members of the L&C community and dedicated more than 60 years of his life to amateur football.
Mike Yates, Chairman of the L&C, paid his own personal tribute: “Dave’s love of football shone throughout his life – as a player, manager, referee and administrator. His knowledge of the game was invaluable in shaping league policy and decision making.
“He will be greatly missed for this, but also for his friendship and popularity within the league committee and the wider L&C league.”
His love affair with the L&C began in 1958 when he joined Aldermere, and he played a remarkable 690 games for the club over a 36-year period. His versatility was obvious given the fact he played in every position for the club. He also held the post as Chairman and ‘held the club together on occasions’. It’s no surprise that he was known as “Mr Aldermere” by many.
Dave’s playing days were curtailed when he broke his leg in a game against Moston Brook, but his versatility and commitment to the league saw him thrive in other roles. Firstly, as a referee for many years. During that time, he gained a notable reputation, as fellow committee member and friend Graham Ellis explained.
He said: “There are various comments from match sheets about Dave King the referee. One said ‘the referee Dave King arrived late after struggling through traffic……and we really wish he hadn’t!’”
It highlights the respect he commanded, but also the high regard he was held in. Graham joined the committee as a result of Dave’s influence in a friendship that lasted for decades.
“Dave will be sadly missed for his football enthusiasm, his warmth, humour, his diligent work, and refereeing experiences.”
He was a vital part of the league committee for many years; during that time, Dave played a key role in all aspects of the league’s business. This included a year as President in 1994-95, and subsequently he was a staple part of the league management committee.
His ‘true vocation’, as explained by John Howard, was his role in organising the L&C’s annual presentation dinner, which is regularly attended by more than 300 guests.
John said: “The work was concentrated over a short period towards the end of the season and required the patience and charm that Dave was renowned for displaying.”
“Grassroots football has prospered over many years and the fact the L&C is now in its 112th season bears witness to the selfless work conducted by so many people over this time.
“Dave has been one of those that has ensured the aims of the original group of league founders have been maintained.
“It has been a pleasure to have known and worked with Dave over the years and I know he will be sadly missed by all his many friends in the game.”
These warm words have been echoed by many paying their own personal tributes. A common theme emerges – one of a man who enjoyed what he did, was a pleasure to work alongside, a character whose presence everybody enjoyed, a gentleman, a man of humour who was the first to offer help, a popular presence, a person who was respected by all, and more than anything, someone who was a pleasure to know.
Geoff Garnett and Dave both began playing in the 1950s and joined the league management committee in the 1980s, at which time they got to know each other very well. Geoff describes a man who was “totally respected by clubs and their officials for his knowledge and willingness to help where needed.”
Geoff added: “His hard work, dedication, knowledge and experience was a vital asset to the league committee. There are so many happy memories I can remember sharing with Dave but the abiding ones are that he was a true legend of amateur football, never afraid to share his wisdom to benefit others.
“It was a pleasure to know Dave.”
The willingness to help is apparent in Keith Marsden’s tribute to Dave, who he described as “an unassuming type whose value to his club and the league cannot be overstated.
“At committee meetings, whenever something needed doing, he was always the first to say: ‘I can give you a hand with that’ and he certainly put tremendous efforts into organising the Annual Dinner over many years.”
Current League Secretary, Brian Davies, first met Dave in the 1990s and got to know him well because of the role of organising the Annual Dinner.
He said: “We worked closely over the final months of the season and that was always a pleasure with his friendly approach. As the date neared, Dave would make a couple of hundred phone calls to finalise the numbers and a small team ensured it all came together on the night.
“A character who will be missed by all those who knew him.”
This contribution to amateur football was recognised in 2018 at the Manchester FA Awards dinner, when Dave was presented with the Frank Hannah Lifetime Achievement Award. This was “richly deserved as his voluntary football work was simply outstanding,” Keith Marsden said, whilst Geoff Garnett described it as “fitting recognition” of his services to the amateur game.
Dave’s indelible mark will forever be imprinted within the L&C’s rich history and his legacy will endure in refereeing standards, the way the Annual Dinner is organised, and commitment necessary to make sure grassroots football thrives.
But more than anything, we mourn a “great guy who will be sadly missed,” according to LAL League Secretary Peter Duffy, and somebody who Malcom Kershaw described as “a true gent and a smashing fella.”
Everybody at the L&C is honoured to have known Dave King, and we extend our deepest condolences to his friends and family.