Pyjama antics are David's top memory

FOR a man just presented with a treasured medallion by the Football Association for 50 years' service to football and who has been invited to three Buckingham Palace garden parties, David Routh's sporting highlight came at 3am - and when clothed in his pyjamas.

Elvin King

FOR a man just presented with a treasured medallion by the Football Association for 50 years' service to football and who has been invited to three Buckingham Palace garden parties, David Routh's sporting highlight came at 3am - and when clothed in his pyjamas.

It was after Suffolk National Association of Boys' Clubs had won the Gillette Cup against Merseyside with a 3-2 victory at Goodison Park in 1982.

David's association with Suffolk NABC goes back 60 years and a previous manager of the side he was a committee member when a southern county won the national trophy for the first time since Hampshire in 1957.


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“We had an excellent celebration,” recalled David. “And at 3am in the room I shared with the late Stan Wagstaff in the Holiday Inn at Liverpool I placed the cup on my head looked in the mirror and said: 'I will never do this again.' It was wonderful.

“The previous year we had lost in the final at Portman Road to Durham, and the then Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson said to me that northern counties would always win and that they 'couldn't be beaten.'

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“We showed that it could be done, and it was a memorable night.”

George Minns was manager with Bob Sharman his assistant and Bob's son Paul the captain.

David, 79, received his award from the FA in recognition of his service to the NABC, his 60 years association with Achilles FC, for founding and being involved for the last half a century in Suffolk youth league football and for co-founding the Suffolk Girls' League five years ago.

He was chairman of the youth League - now known as the Ipswich and Suffolk Youth League - for 24 years and has been president since.

“Another highlight was continuing to be elected president when two leagues merged and Sir Bobby Robson had been president of the other league,” said David.

A left-back of left-half in his playing days, David played his first match as an eight-year-old for Western School, Ipswich and played adult football for Sea Cadets and St Clements United Reserves.

When he came out of the Army in 1949 he joined Achilles and played his last game for the club's veteran side when aged 46.

He never made a first team appearance and, in his own words, was 'the worst player Achilles ever had.'

He was secretary of Metaltec SIL Achilles from 1956 until 1964 and president for 12 years before taking a break and then coming back to take the post again from 1991 to the current day.

“Hopefully I will be involved for many more years,” said David, who bemoans the lack of loyalty in football these days.

“Professionals used to play for money and amateurs for fun, but now you don't know where you stand with payments creeping down to SIL level.”

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