Is time up for Ernie?
SOCCER: At the age of 88, one of Suffolk's most loyal and respected football servants is considering hanging up his boots. Ernie Brown, who has given 50 years service to Suffolk FA, is a county life member having been secretary from 1959 until 1980.
By Elvin King
AT the age of 88, one of Suffolk's most loyal and respected football servants is considering hanging up his boots.
Ernie Brown, who has given 50 years service to Suffolk FA, is a county life member having been secretary from 1959 until 1980.
A popular figure around the county, Ernie has also served with distinction on main Football Association committees and is still on the Challenge Cup committee and the representative matches committee.
"I have always enjoyed working for the Football Association whether at national or county level," he said. "And I am still getting enjoyment today.
"But at the age of 88 it is probably time to start thinking about hanging up my boots."
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Ernie, who lives in Saxmundham, became Suffolk assistant secretary in 1952 before moving up to the top county post eight years later.
"In 1959 there were around 300 clubs in Suffolk," he said. "Now there are more like 600. Suffolk football is in good hands and I would recommend a sporting involvement to youngsters of today.
"I have had many wonderful times in my football career, with the biggest honour being asked to chair the FA Challenge Cup committee for three years."
During that time he used to pull the balls out of the bag for all the rounds of the FA Cup, often being heard live on radio with the BBC being allowed to enter the inner sanctum of FA headquarters for the draw.
"So many things have changed, and it is all big business now," added Ernie, who played the game for a while before taking over his administrative roles.
He has recently handed over the presidency of the Suffolk FA to Gordon Blake having held that coveted position for four years. Ernie was county chairman from 1983 until 1985.
Barry Felgate, press officer for Suffolk FA, said: "After a lot of thought Ernie decided to hand over the presidency to Gordon.
"He is still a life member so we will be able to call on his vast experience, and everybody in county circles appreciates all the hard work, time and effort he has put in.
"Ernie is a life vice president of the Football Association and he still shows the same love and affection for the game as did 50 years ago."
At the official hand-over of the presidency, Ernie was presented with a gift to mark his 50-year service and his wife Ivy was handed a bouquet for her help and support.