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Ebbsfleet secretary honoured for half a century's service to football

PUBLISHED: 10:06 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:06 26 June 2013

Peter Danzey (left) being presented with the award by FA Council member Philip Smith

Peter Danzey (left) being presented with the award by FA Council member Philip Smith

Archant

It's not been a bad month for Ebbsfleet United secretary Peter Danzey.

As recently as May it looked like the club was heading into oblivion, but it was saved by a knight in shining armour and now Peter has been honoured for 50 years of service by the Football Association.

The award, Peter said, came as quite a surprise and he added he would not trade in his five decades in football for anything.

The Gravesend resident said: “I’m quite chuffed about it but you know when you get one of these you must be getting on.

“I only know of three or four of these being handed out during my time in football – it’s almost like a knighthood within the football circle.

“You need to be a bit of a geek to become a good secretary, and very organised.”

Peter, who is 68 on Sunday, received the accolade from FA Council member Philip Smith at the Kent Football Association annual meeting earlier this month.

In announcing the award, FA Board vice-chairman Barry Bright described it as the most prestigious the association gives out.

Peter played more than 800 games for Empire Paper Mills from 1963 to 1984, and also served as the club’s secretary until the team folded in 1994, two years after the company went into liquidation.

Not to be deterred, he made sure his involvement in Gravesend football wasn’t finished.

He joined the council of the Gravesend League before becoming assistant secretary in 2001 and fixtures secretary (a “thankless task” according to Peter) in 2004.

The league dissolved in 2012 but by then he had already taken on his biggest challenge in football – the Swanscombe-born football fanatic had agreed to become club secretary at Ebbsfleet United three years earlier. It was a steep learning curve.

“It’s a role I didn’t think I’d be taking on in my 60s and the difference between the local leagues and Conference Premier is huge in terms of the paperwork that needs to be done and the hours you need to put in.

“But I quickly got up to speed and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. There are certainly no plans to retire just yet.

“I’ve always said I’ll stay involved as long as I enjoy it. Towards the end of last season, things were difficult on and off the pitch and I wasn’t sure we’d even have a club next season.

“But since the new owners came in, I haven’t been able to stop pinching myself.”

Peter’s work has not gone unnoticed by those in charge at the new-look Fleet. Vice-chairman Peter Varney said: “This is a tremendous personal honour for Peter and well deserved.

“He has had a hectic few weeks with all the recent new signings and will be equally as busy for a few weeks more yet we hope. We will be arranging a formal pitch presentation to him at a home match early in the new season.”

n Do you know anyone who you think deserves to be a local hero? Contact the news room on 020 8477 3858, or email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk

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