John Sellers, who was the founder chairman of the Weetabix Youth League, passed away suddenly last week.
He was also an extremely popular and well-respected coach in the north Northamptonshire area while he remained president of the Weetabix League for a number of years.
He also became well-known outside of football circles when he wrote books about his experiences at Kettering’s Henry Gotch School.
But it was his contribution to local football that he will be mostly remembered
for and his death has prompted a number of local figures to pay tribute to his legacy.
Northamptonshire Football Association chairman Bob Cotter said: “John was the founder chairman of the Weetabix League as well as a coach.
“He was very well respected and contributed a great deal to the development of youth football in the Kettering area in the late 70s and 80s.
“As the founder chairman, John was a man with the vision and leadership to provide a substantial youth league based around Kettering.
“The Weetabix League is one of the three major youth leagues in the county now and its early growth and development was down to John and the team he amassed around him.
“Over the years, many young players in the Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough areas should thank John for their first opportunities to play football under his vision for youth football in central Northants.
“His background as a local player and coach generated much respect around the county and his contribution to youth football in Kettering and Northamptonshire should never be underestimated.
“The Northamptonshire FA extend their condolences to John’s family and all those associated with the Kettering Weetabix League.”
NFA representative and Midlands Scout for Milton Keynes Dons, Dave Fairbrother added: “John was, along with others, one of the original people to set up the Weetabix Youth League all those years ago and every team and young local footballers have benefited from his many coaching sessions over the years.
“We always tried to put the football world to rights when met up and I’m going to miss our chats. I hope he enjoyed them as much as I did.”
The Weetabix League, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, paid tribute to their founder member with all teams observing a minute’s silence ahead of their games last weekend.
League chairman Gerald Hawthorn said: “John Sellers and Ken Burton were the founder members of the Weetabix Youth League some 40 years ago.
“John was an inspirational coach in the county who was always happiest on the training ground coaching and developing young footballers.
“John was dedicated to youth football hence his desire to create a league where all the young players could display their skills
“The Weetabix League is John’s legacy to local football and he will be sorely missed.”
League vice-president Nev Tingle added: “Having always been an opponent of John, whether playing football or cricket, it was with some surprise to me that in 1986 John, together with Christine Barrett and Mick Abrahams, invited me to join the team administering the running of the now formidable Weetabix Youth League.
“The continued success of the league, is down to the many people who over the years have dedicated themselves and are still doing so, to keep the dream of Ken and John alive.”