In the summer of 2001 Ken was asked by the then Committee of Mulbarton Wanderers’ Youth FC if he would like to form a Men`s adult team he agreed and the team was formed and entered into Division 4 of the South Norfolk League (as it was then, now the Central and South Norfolk League).
The team was a mixture of a few ‘old heads’ but mainly young players - the season was started full of optimism, but things didn’t go to plan; by the turn of the year they were sitting near to the bottom of the League, but Ken was confident and said things would turn. He was right, as after Christmas the team went on an unbeaten run to finish Runners Up and promoted! Ken`s first promotion as Manager.
Over the next few years Ken managed the team to two more promotions and into Division 1 of the South Norfolk League before stepping down as Manager, and handing the baton on to others. Ken kept involved, confirming fixtures with the opposition and referees, and was always there with a word of advice/encouragement for Managers, and helping out on a match days.
Ken’s strengths as a Manager were his man/player management which stood him in good stead for his time at the club. This was shown particularly in his dealing with referees - he was a great one for respecting the officials and would say “without them we would not have a game”. He would greet them at the ground, chatting before and after the game forming bonds with lots of them, which enhanced the reputation of the Club with officials as well as with the governing bodies of the game. Even when he had stepped down entirely, we still had referees asking “where is Ken, how is he” etc.
When Ken was in charge he always said “Play to win, play hard but have a laugh about the game afterwards”. After stepping down as a Manager, Ken had various Committee roles including Vice Chairman, but his most important from the Club’s point of view was liaising with the Parish Council and Village Hall committees, where his negotiation skills came to the fore, keeping relations between the committees and the football club on an even keel.
One of his most important roles was being part of the football club group that negotiated the first lease of Mulberry Park with the Parish Council. At the time it was not a certainty that Wanderers would be able to play on it, as other clubs were looking to rent the pitch.
All through his bouts of ill health his positive attitude shone through, and his sense of humour was always to the fore. After his health forced him to step down completely, Ken would always love to know updates about the Club.
Ken`s funeral took place at Mulbarton Church on the 7th March 2019 and it was good to see a number of his players from those first few promotion teams in attendance.
Updated 15:55 - 13 Jun 2019 by Danny Gaskin
Kens` legacy at Wanderers will live on, as it was him who set the Men`s teams on the path to where they are now.
Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.