National League chairman Brian Barwick and president Brian Lee paid tribute to Bill King today after the competition’s former chairman and president passed away.
Barwick and Lee expressed their sadness in a statement from the National League announcing the death of King on Wednesday and extending the condolences of the competition’s past and present clubs to his wife Jane and their family.
He had served as chairman for 17 years, becoming president in 2007 before stepping down in 2015.
The North West Counties Football League also sent their condolences and paid tribute to King for serving them with “immense pride” for many years as president and representative on the Cheshire County FA.
A former chairman of Altrincham, Northwich Victoria and Runcorn, he first became involved with the NWCFL as managing director of Bass Brewery, setting up the league’s first major sponsorship in 1986.
The National League’s statement read: “The National League announces with deep regret and sincere sadness, the passing today of its former chairman and president, Bill King.
“The National League extends sincere condolences on behalf of all current and past member clubs to his wife Jane and all of his family.
“Bill was associated with the League for over 40 years, first becoming involved as chairman of Runcorn FC and then afterwards in a similar role with Altrincham FC.
“A pioneer in helping to form the League in 1979, Bill became vice-chairman in 1985 and then chairman in 1989, when he succeeded the late Jim Thompson.
“Bill served as chairman for 17 years, and developed the League from the original 22 clubs to the current membership of 68.
“Along the way he oversaw the rise of the North and South divisions and helped secure automatic promotion for one club and then two clubs.
“Succeeded as chairman by Brian Lee MBE in 2007, he was appointed president and elected as a life member.
Expressing his sadness, National League chairman Brian Barwick said: “Bill performed a great service to our sport by driving the development of the Football Conference and by linking the “Non-League” pyramid to the Football League through automatic promotion and relegation.
“In the year of the League’s 40th anniversary, the whole League is hugely grateful for Bill’s dedication over many years and recognises his outstanding qualities of leadership and integrity”.
Brian Lee, National League president, paid a glowing tribute to King in the statement.
“Bill was a respected figure wherever he went in the game and he certainly made his presence felt and had a disarming way of securing many things which people in the game now take for granted,” said Lee.
“He was the perfect gentleman and the perfect ambassador for our game.”I have been so lucky to have been able to step into his shoes twice and he was always there not only to guide me in difficult times I faced, he contributed to make a huge difference to so many across the game, a game he loved and cherished with unrivalled passion.”
Altrincham chairman Graham Rowley told the National League’s website he was deeply moved to hear of King’s passing, the statement adding: “Bill joined the Club Board in 1986 and his clarity and vision for the game soon led to him becoming Chairman.
“In 1994 he stepped away to spend more time leading the Football Conference and has been instrumental in making it what it is today, a major player in the football industry! What a great job he did!
“He will be remembered with much fondness by all at Alty and to the end he remained a true and loyal friend with us.”
Image courtesy of www.nwcfl.com