Colleagues pay tribute to former Ashington FC chairman

Colleagues paid a warm tribute to a former chairman of Ashington Football Club who died last week at the age of 85.

Eric Nichol was at the helm when the club in the 1970s.

Ted Whiteman said: “I knew Eric through business and football for around 20 years and he was a good friend.

“He got me involved at the club as secretary and was easy to work with and had his heart and soul in the football club. I’m very sorry to hear of his death.”

Ken Prior an ex-manager at the former Portland Park ground, said: “As a person, Eric was first class. He was good to me and even when I left after eight to nine years to go to Alnwick as manager, we had a good craic.

“I kept in touch with him via a friend when Eric was in the care home and I was not only invited to a birthday celebration for him at the Half Moon at Stakeford but was also sitting beside him where we recalled former times.

“We shook hands the last time I saw him and he will be greatly missed.”

Jack Marks, coach to Ashington when they reached the semi-finals of the FA Amateur Cup in the 1973-/74 season when Nichol was chairman, said: “Eric was dedicated as chairman and had it not been for him, Ashington may have folded in the 1970’s.

“They were going through a bad patch and on rocky ground but the club recovered and Eric got the clubhouse organised and put a lot of effort into the club.

“Our working relationship was good and he was happy with the progress which we made.

“Eric was delighted with our run in the old FA Amateur Cup where we actually started in the extra preliminary round and played around 14 games to get to the semi-final.

“There we played Bishops Stortford at Sunderland’s Roker Park and after a 0-0 draw lost the replay 2-0 at Brentford when our goalkeeper, the late Eddie Nesbitt, got an injury and we had to play Tommy Dixon in goal.

“Eric was a good bloke and I’m sorry to hear of his passing. He will be genuinely missed.

A funeral service for Eric was held on Monday in the Ashington Parish Church of the Holy Sepulchre.