'Lovely' former secretary of Romford Football Club John Haley dies, aged 85
PUBLISHED: 14:15 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:06 10 May 2017
Romford Football Club
A man who played a key role in a football club for more than three decades has been described as a "true gentleman" after he died on Monday.
Tributes have flooded in on social media for John Haley, 85, who took on many different jobs at Romford Football Club for 32 years, following his death at Colchester Hospital.
He has been described by many as “humble”, “lovely” and “genuine”.
The Romford Football Club said: “It is with great sadness and sorrow that we report that John Haley passed away.
“He was 85 and had been ill for some time.
“John was well-liked and respected by all who had the privilege of knowing him, and we send our sympathies to his family and friends.
“RIP John, “Mr Romford Football Club”.
Born in Havering-atte-Bower, John first watched Romford Football Club play in 1945 at the age of 13 and started compiling the club’s statistics and researching its history as a hobby.
He started volunteering at the club throughout the beginning of his working life and went on to become a member of the advertising and public relations committee.
It was only when the club turned semi-professional when they joined the Southern Football League that he was given the role of club statistician and became the secretary in 1964.
He later took on the roles of company secretary and chief executive officer until he moved to Devon in 1977.
Friend Terry Felton said: “John was a gentleman - he never swore, he respected women, he’d open the door for them and welcome everybody with a handshake.
“He talked about people with a lot of affection, especially his children.
“He was a gentle kind of a man.”
John and Terry have been publishing books on the history of Romford Football Club for 10 years with the latest edition launching tomorrow (Sat).
The event is still due to go ahead in John’s memory.
Terry said: “When we were writing the books, it’s like we knew all of the players personally and we’d get annoyed whenever we read about the club losing, as if it just happened.
“He was a great friend.”