Ex-Fleetwood Town manager Kevin Byrne says his assistant Malcolm Denning will be missed for his sunny disposition and football knowledge.
Denning passed away at Royal Preston Hospital on Sunday, aged 79,after a short illness. He played for Town in the 1960s and 70s, then was Byrne’s assistant in the 1980s.
A season ticket holder and well-liked member of the club’s former players’ association, Malcolm is survived by wife Sylvia, son Bobby, daughter Claire and stepchildren Darryl, Alison and Tony.
The family tribute reads: “Mal will be hugely missed by all his family and endless friends and business associates.” His funeral will be held at St Chad’s Parish Church, Poulton, on Wednesday July 24 at 12.45pm followed by a committal at Carleton Crematorium.
Byrne said: “Malcolm will be massively missed. His affable disposition as well as his knowledge of the local football scene was phenomenal.
“He would always be out on a Sunday morning and turn up with players for us at Wrens and Fleetwood in those non-league days. He was very popular.
“He’d suffered greatly in the last few years with a variety of illnesses but never opted out.
“He always wanted to be involved and never complained.
“Until he became too ill I don’t think he’d missed a former players’ meeting since the association was formed.
Denning made his Town debut in January 1960 at New Brighton in the Lancashire Combination, the first of 31 appearances (with 11 goals) before he moved on to Horwich RMI, Bacup Borough and Lytham.
He joined Town’s coaching staff in 1979, working alongside Alan Tinsley as well as Byrne, who recalled: “I’ve known him for 52 years. It was a lifetime of friendship inspired by football
“We were coaches at Fleetwood and he was my assistant at Wren Rovers, where we had three successful years. Our friendship endured and our wives were friends too.”
The family have asked that any donations be made to Fleetwood Town Community Trust.