Tributes have been paid to the ‘familiar figure on the sidelines’ of Henfield Football Club following his death.
Tony Adfield – who was also a life member of the Sussex County Football Association (FA) – died of natural causes.
Since his death, the football community has come together to remember a man who was ‘proud of his village’ and who ‘loved his village sport’.
Simon Price, seniors manager at Henfield Football Club, said: “I didn’t know him particularly well personally, but I was always aware of his significant stature within local sport – no more so than about ten years ago when I had to get a new kit ratified by the County FA for my Sunday side, and it ended up with me in Tony’s shed in his back garden with measuring tape, colour charts etc. It would be fair to say he was a stickler for detail.
“A familiar figure on the sidelines, he quite often voiced his frustration at our rather gung-ho defending during my first stint as manager. The measure of the man was that he was also one of the first to congratulate me on our achievements when we had secured back-to-back promotions to the Premier Division – you could tell he was proud of his village, and the village is proud of his legacy.”
Tony was involved with the Sussex County FA for a number of years, including as chairman of the association in the 1972/73 season.
He had a long association with the sport through his connection with Henfield Football Club, the West Sussex Football League and the Horsham and District Football Association in which he spent time as the treasurer, registration secretary, a representative from 1963.
In 1970, the Horsham and District League entered into a merger with the West Sussex Football League, where Tony became secretary of the new structure.
He continued to serve in that role from 1970 until 1982 before he was made vice president of the West Sussex Football League in 1982 and president in 1997.
He served in that role until 2009, in which time he was made a life member of the league in 2004.
The Sussex County FA added: “Furthermore, Tony was a club man too, having been involved with a number of clubs over his time within football and other sports, especially cricket.
“Henfield was his home, and he supported both their football club, and very much so their cricket club, being the avid fan, supporter and stalwart of cricket too.
“Tony will be missed by many, but leaves behind him in his memory, much sterling work which continues to allows participants to play both football and cricket, and he played his part in that, a very large part too. Once the association has details of the funeral, we will advise accordingly.
“I am sure you will join us in having Tony’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.”
Simon Andrews, a manager and committee member for Henfield Football Club, added: “Tony was a great supporter of both cricket and football within Henfield for many, many years. Up until fairly recently, Tony would still attend games to cheer the lads on. Even when his health started to get the better of him he would stop you in the street to ask about the team and results.
“Tony was also a stalwart of the Sussex County FA for many years. He loved his village sport and will be sadly missed by all that knew him.”
Tony also had a long connection with Henfield Cricket Club stretching back to the 1950s and was even made president seven years ago.
Conway Thorns, the president of the club said: “Tony had an association with Henfield Cricket Club for over 60 years.
“He began playing in the 1950s and became 2nd XI captain. Latterly, he spent a great deal of time in helping run the club and was treasurer for many years. In recognition of this work the club was delighted to elect him as president seven years ago. He was particularly proud to be involved in encouraging the junior members of the club.
“Despite his failing health in recent years he was a dedicated supporter of our teams and could always be seen on the common on match days.
“He will be greatly missed.”
Read more tributes to Tony Adfied here.