FA rewards Gary’s half-century of loyal service

SERVICE RECOGNISED: Suffolk FA Chairman Phil Lawler, centre, presents FA 50-Year Service medals to Gary Steed, left, and David Porter on the Portman Road pitch
SERVICE RECOGNISED: Suffolk FA Chairman Phil Lawler, centre, presents FA 50-Year Service medals to Gary Steed, left, and David Porter on the Portman Road pitch

Two stalwarts of the Suffolk football community have been presented with FA 50-Year Service awards.

Gary Steed and David Porter received their awards from Suffolk FA chairman Phil Lawler.

Steed, 67, born in Stowmarket and who still lives in the town, started out as secretary/manager of Stowmarket Athletic FC in his teenage years.

In 1972-73 the club became the first side to win the Suffolk Sunday Cup and also won the Gippeswyk Sunday League, the Ipswich Sunday Morning League’s top division.

During his time at Stowmarket Athletic, the club grew from one team to three, all winning trophies in the Ipswich Sunday Morning League.

He first watched Ipswich Town play at Portman Road on September 7, 1957, when they beat Notts County 2-1.

Since 1960-61 Gary has regularly attended home matches. He has been a season-ticket holder from 17, and a frequent away follower.

Gary also managed ICI in the Suffolk & Ipswich League Senior Division for one season and kept them up when they were in dire straits.

However, the pull of Ipswich Town proved too strong, although he qualified as a referee and ran the line in the SIL Senior Division when Ipswich were away.

Gary, who considers himself lucky to have seen the club play several European away ties, was voted Ipswich Town Supporter of the Year runner-up in 2007.

He joined the Suffolk FA West Suffolk Area Disciplinary Committee as secretary 30 years ago, and a couple of years later became county Disciplinary Secretary.

Gary, a Life Member of Suffolk FA, had to stand down after suffering a heart attack in 2005, but has retained his position on the panels of the Disciplinary Committee.

He said: “I can’t believe where the last 50 years have gone. Outside of family, football has been my life, and I am lucky to have met so many friends and colleagues through football.”