FRIENDS of Vic Knop, who died last month, say they will miss a man who dedicated his ‘heart and soul’ to the game he loved.
The Anderton-based administrator was 73.
He helped launch the Mid Cheshire Sunday League more than three decades ago, acting as secretary – and referee too – since.
“Vic spent many long hours making sure the competition was run properly,” said fellow committee member Graham Edgeley.
“That it is as well organised today as it was at the start is a testament to him.
“His heart and soul was in local football, and clubs and players were never under any illusion as to the rules should they fall foul of one of them!
“Vic was known for his hard, but fair, approach but was always on call in the bedroom that was his office at home in Anderton.”
Knop represented the Sunday league on the Mid Cheshire District FA’s committee, acting as an official too for the Mid Cheshire Youth League and also the Moss Farm 7s League.
Gordon Bennett attended many of those meetings with his friend.
He said: “Vic was one of the nicest chaps you could ever meet.
“He loved his football; he used to go and watch a match every weekend at Moss Farm.
“He got so much enjoyment from refereeing that it inspired him to put something back into the game.”
Like Edgeley, Bennett had a tale to tell of Knop’s approach to administration.
He added: “It had to be his way, which was by the book. He was fair with it, mind. I remember his grandson was secretary at one of the clubs, and even he didn’t escape a fine when they did something wrong.”
There was a lighter side too, according to Bennett.
He accompanied Knop when they took a team from Rudheath Youth Club to the Isle of Man in 1973.
“Vic had refereed the match but we lost,” he said.
“When we got off the coach, the players all rushed to grab hold of him. They lifted him, carried him onto the beach and then threw him – fully-clothed – into the sea.
“He took it in good spirit, it was part and parcel of going on tour and he loved that.”
Mike Talbot-Butler, a former sports editor at the Guardian, paid tribute too.
He said: “I cannot speak too highly of a man who kept everybody in touch with what was going on in the league, including me as a life vice president and one of the league’s co-founders in 1966.
“Vic was efficient, but he always had time for people and did football in the district a great service. He’s a huge loss to sport in the area.”