The Fylde coast football fraternity has been united in sadness at the death of Blackpool and Fylde Sunday Alliance stalwart Dennis Peters.
Dennis, from Argosy Avenue in Grange Park, died peacefully on Friday, at the age of 68.
A goalkeeper in his playing days and later a referee, Dennis was honoured by the Lancashire FA for 50 years’ dedicated service.
He helped to run Blackpool’s Saturday amateur competition, the Blackpool Combination, and was on the committee of the Sunday Alliance for 45 years until he retired for health reasons 18 months ago.
He occupied many roles within the Alliance’s committee, including registration secretary, fixtures secretary and finally chairman.
Dave Connor, who succeeded Dennis as chairman, remembers with great affection the man who revelled in his nickname of “Grumpy”.
“Yes, he could be grumpy and he liked to growl,” recalls Dave, “but Dennis’ bark was worse than his bite and he did so much for local football.
“We lost Peter Collins not so long ago, who was another of the great servants of the Alliance involved from the start, and Dennis was of similar standing to Peter in our football community.”
Carole Cox served on the B&FSA committee with Dennis for over 30 years. Carole said: “He was proud of that nickname ‘Grumpy’ but he was a gentle giant really.
“He never married or had children, but he had a dog he loved and they were an institution in local football.”
Postman Dennis even put his trusty pet to good use in service of the Alliance as Dave Connor recalls.
“When he was refereeing and there were doubts over whether a pitch was playable, he would stand in the centre circle and throw a stick for the dog to chase. If the dog and the stick made it back, the pitch was playable.”
Indeed, Dave remembers Dennis spending a lot of time on the halfway line in his refereeing days. “Yes, Dennis always boasted that he could referee matches without leaving the centre circle. He said it was because his eyesight was so good.”
A minute’s silence in Dennis’ memory will be held at all Alliance games on Sunday, December 3.