John was a stalwart of grassroots football within Cumberland and specifically within Carlisle, where he was heavily involved with Northbank FC, where he was Secretary and Vice President, and within the Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth Football League where he acted as the league’s representative to The Cumberland FA.
John had joined Cumberland FA as a council member in June 2003, where he was acting as a representative for the Carlisle division. Due to his knowledge and passion for junior football he was immediately assigned to the youth committee eventually becoming chair in 2008. He quickly realigned the direction and purpose of the group to ensure that it was truly reflective of the County and it was under his leadership that the County U18 representative squad achieved it most successful season within the modern era when they reached the final of the Northern Counties U18 competition in 2014.
In 2016, due to his services to local football and the respect in which he was held, John was made an honorary member of Cumberland FA.
Cumberland FA CEO, Ben Snowdon, said: “We are all truly shocked and saddened by the news. John was a true football man who could see the big picture and was only ever appeared to be motivated by what he believed would be in the best interests of the game. He wasn't interested in status or the perceived power it may bring and he certainly didn't want any special recognition. However, despite his best efforts to avoid it, he was recognised for his work in the best way possible as he was a respected, go to guy for anything to do with football. The best tribute I can pay him is that there are very few people, especially when it comes to local football, who everyone appears to like. However, John was one of those special people who held that accolade. This was mainly due to his knowledge, reputation, and the feeling that he just wanted to help you because he loved the game so much.
“To say I am gutted is an understatement”, said CFA Chair, Mr Fred Conway. “He was extremely supportive to myself and to grassroots football within the county. He was a hive of knowledge and more importantly an all-round nice person, who will be deeply missed by all. My thoughts, and those of the County FA go to his family and specifically Nancy and Jack at this difficult time.
“He was a gentleman and will leave a huge hole within the game and community locally. However, I am sure, that everyone who ever met him would agree that they and football locally is far better for having had him supporting from the touchline.”