Friends to gather for funeral of SIL ‘colossus’ Alan Gorham

Alan Gorham

Alan Gorham

The Suffolk footballing family will tomorrow come together to say goodbye to a legendary figure of the county’s non-league scene.

Alan Gorham, who died last month at the of 76, was involved in football in the region for more than 40 years with the Suffolk & Ipswich League (SIL).

His funeral will be held at 2pm tomorrow at the St Pancras Roman Catholic Church in Ipswich.

David Mayes, of the SIL, said: “Alan Gorham was a colossus amongst sports administrators.

“He was the man primarily responsible for the Suffolk & Ipswich League becoming one of the most respected and well run leagues in the country.”


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Gorham, whose father George was a member of the League Management Committee in the 1920’s, had his first association with the league when he refereed Boys Brigade Cadets and Woolverstone United Reserves in 1961.

In 1966 Alan followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the League Management Committee as Assistant Secretary.

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He continued with his refereeing career and by the end of the 1960’s was a Southern League referee and on the Football League’s list of linesman.

On one famous occasion he had to have a police escort out of Highbury after being responsible for a player being sent off.

In 1974 Gorham was promoted to League Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.

Mayes added: “He wanted a more professional outlook and was responsible for so many innovations, including more competitive divisions, the introduction of sponsorship, ground gradings, Meritorious Service Awards and more.”

Gorham took on even more duties when he was made Chief Executive in 1997 and continued with his tireless work until standing down from day to day league administration in 2005.

He was President until his death.

His funeral will be held at St Pancras Roman Catholic Church in Ipswich at 2pm tomorrow.

Family flowers only but if you want to make a donation in his memory make it payable to ITFC Charitable Trust, or Alzheimer’s Society East Suffolk, c/o. G. M.Taylor, Independent Funeral Directors, 27 Ulster Avenue, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 5JS, telephone 01473 806131.

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