THE funeral of John Maley in the village of New Hartley, where he ran the junior football club for 53 years, was attended by almost 500 mourners in the church and on the main street.
Mourners included the present New Hartley squad along with hundreds of former players who had played under John over the years.
Players that have moved from Hartley to play in the football league were also present including Ron Guthrie (Sunderland), Paul Stoneman (Blackpool), Steve Walker (Doncaster), Graeme Fenton (Blackburn and Villa), Steve Cuggy (Maidstone Utd) and three times European cup winner Ray Kennedy of Arsenal, Liverpool and England fame.
Also David Walton (Derby and Shrewsbury) travelled up for the service, returning straight after.
John’s son, also called John, said: “As the cortege approached the church, the amount of ex-players, family friends and officials from other clubs lining the main street was unbelievable.”
Former Ashington manager Peter Johnson added: “I wasn’t surprised at all by the turn out as the man was an absolute legend and it was a privilege to play for him.”
The team will continue to run under the helm of John’s sons, John and Michael, along with coach Michael Woods.