It is with deep sadness we have received the news of the passing of Gordon Swinton, a life member of the Football Conference.
Gordon was a long-standing official of Stafford Rangers, the town where he was born and where as a young boy he became entwined, not just to his local club but to a way of life which would extend over his whole lifetime.
Stafford Rangers were in the middle of their heyday which was synonymous with all that epitomised the senior reaches of the non-league scene, with three FA Trophy appearances and many glorious FA Cup runs in which Gordon played a major role as a Club Director and Vice Chairman.
Rangers were a founder member club of the competition on its formation in 1979; and Gordon due to his experience with many other leagues and refereeing was an ideal candidate to help the new kids on the block! Well respected in all that he did for his own club, he went on to become an integral member of the Board of the Football Conference. He was honoured to serve as a director for and on behalf of all clubs, let alone his own for some twenty years. Upon his retirement from the Board and following so many, many years of service that brought recognition of his work from many other facets of the game, he was bestowed with a Life Membership in 1999.
Latterly living in Liskeard in Cornwall, Gordon was just short of his 99th birthday. A remarkable achievement in its own right but he packed a tremendous amount into all he did, whether it be work or play.
The current President of the Football Conference Bill King who worked alongside Gordon as a colleague and friend commented:
"Gordon was a dedicated football man at heart. He was a great servant to his Club and as a director of the Football Conference in its formative years was held in high regard by all. When he stepped away from many years of active commitment to the game and being part of the original building block on which the Conference was built, it was a just and honourable reward that he rightly be awarded Life Membership".
Our condolences are extended to Gordon’s immediate family, including his wife Edith, to whom he was married 73 years, four children, seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, plus his many friends and all who knew him and worked alongside him through his sheer love of football.
Despite his age he consistently demonstrated his passion for the two things in his life he held most dear, his family and football. He epitomised both just a few months back, when despite his years, he showed his support for one of his great nephews playing in a match on a windswept hill in the Duchy, resolutely refusing to take shelter from the elements.
Arrangements for his funeral are still to be made, but his family have stated that it was Gordon’s wish that any donations made should go to his great nephew’s youth team. At the heart of his family and at the very heart of our beloved game, where it started for Gordon it also ends by this kind gesture.