David Porter and Gary Steed get Suffolk FA 50-year service awards

Suffolk FA Chairman Phil Lawler, centre, presents FA 50-Year Service medals to Gary Steed, left, and

Suffolk FA Chairman Phil Lawler, centre, presents FA 50-Year Service medals to Gary Steed, left, and David Porter, right, on the Portman Road pitch. Picture: SUFFOLK FA - Credit: Archant

Two stalwarts of the Suffolk football community have been recognised with the presentation of FA 50-year service awards, writes Nick Garnham.

David Porter and Gary Steed received their awards from Suffolk FA Chairman Phil Lawler on the Portman Road pitch prior to Ipswich Town’s Sky Bet Championship match against Bristol City.

Former Suffolk FA chairman Porter said he felt honoured to be recognised.

The 66-year-old added: “I am proud to be Suffolk born and bred and I feel honoured to be recognised in this way by The FA.

“I have always been a grassroots person, so it is pleasing for not only me but the grassroots aspect of county football to be recognised.”

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He started playing at the age of 14 in 1965 as a centre half and turned out for Barsham, Beccles Youth, Beccles Town, and Lowestoft area sides Athletico 67 and Europack, before hanging up his boots at the age of 38.

David then took up the whistle and became a Class 1/Level 5 official, refereeing the Suffolk FA Junior Cup Final and twice being the man in the middle at the Veterans’ Cup Final.

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He was an assistant referee at various FA Cup matches and was once an assistant referee at an Ipswich Town versus Arsenal FA Youth Cup tie.

David has been involved in the administration of Suffolk County FA since 1988 as a Council Area Representative and also sitting on various committees and panels.

He has twice been chairman (2004-2007 and 2012-2016) and was a director from 2000-2016 as well as being disciplinary chairman from 2010 onwards and chairman of the referees’ committee.

Steed, from Stowmarket, started out as secretary/manager of Stowmarket Athletic as a teenager. During his time, the club grew from one team to three, with them all winning several trophies in the Ipswich Sunday Morning League.

He’s also a qualified referee, ran the Stowmarket Carnival six-a-side tournament for around ten years and has worked in various capacities with the FA in the county for some 30 years.

The 67-year-old said: “Outside of family, football has been my life, and I am lucky to have met so many friends and colleagues through football.”

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