Mike Spooner, a man instrumental in the rise of Eastbourne Borough FC, resigned as CEO today due to ill-health.
Mike, described as the heart and soul of Langney Sports and then Eastbourne Borough, has been with the club for 26 years and stands down from his role, having been diagnosed with cancer.
He is set to undertake further medical examinations in the coming weeks and all at Priory Lane wished him well.
John Bonar, chairman of the Football Committee, said, “Mike is part of the fabric of the club and it is heart-breaking to hear of this sad news. Mike has helped to guide this club to where it is today.
“People do not realise how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to keep this club running and Mike was key to this. He has worked seven days a week at the club for no remuneration - just for the love of the club.
“His knowledge of non-league football is second to none and he has always been the one who I would ask for advice.
“This brings everyone back to earth with a massive bang. I know I speak for all of the Football Committee when I say we are devastated but hope all goes well in the fight against such a terrible disease that seems to always hurt the best people.”
Lee Peskett, CIC board chairman, added, “Mike has worked tirelessly for Eastbourne Borough - and if ever there was something needed doing Mike would no doubt get it done. I have learned so much from Mike.”
Paul Maynard, CIC Board vice chairman said, “During my tenure as chairman Mike’s always the first person I go to for his sage advice. He was instrumental at developing the community culture of Eastbourne Borough and always a positive influence. He will need every ounce of that positivity in the weeks and months ahead.”
Mike, as CEO, worked closely with the football Managers at Priory Lane. Former boss Garry Wilson, who guided Borough from the County League to the top level of non-league football, said, “This news is such a shame to hear regarding such a good man. Mike became an integral part of ‘the team’ during my time managing The Sports - and as such the club and I owe so much of the club’s success during that period to Mike’s work. Tommy Widdrington, who took over as manager in 2102 before leaving for Coventry City, added, “Mike is a fantastically loyal and intelligent man who I can honestly say it was a pleasure to work with over my years at Eastbourne Borough.”
Borough stalwart Mick Grimer perhaps summed up Mike’s contribution in one sentence, “Without Mike, the club would not be where it is today.”