Those involved with the Club will now doubtless be aware but we have to advise the sad news that Club Chairman Dave Baker died in the early hours of this morning at St. Peters Hospital after being re-admitted to hospital over the weekend. He was 72.
The messages of sympathy and goodwill that have been flooding in, simply illustrate just how popular Dave was at the Club which had become his main focus in recent years following a long career in football. Dave first came to the club as Reserve Team Manager in the 80’s and was hands on from the start. He moved on to become 1st Team manager at both Feltham and Chertsey Town but returned to Ashford some 10 years after leaving, to join the Committee.
When the vacancy arose Dave was nominated as Chairman but lost out by a narrow majority to Phil Marshall. It was typical of Dave that he was straight up to Phil offering him his full support at the end of that meeting.
Phil had to resign at the end of that particular season and Dave won the next vote and took over as Chairman, since when he has worked tirelessly for the Club, being virtually ever present at matches and also becoming the Board Room chef where his after match casseroles, some say stews, became almost legendary in both the Combined Counties League and possibly more so in the Southern League. It was a standing joke that he would add a certain amount of spice just before the end, based upon his view as to whether or not the referee had performed well. If it was sausage in the casserole, referees who had performed well usually received at least three pieces of sausage if not more, whilst his fellow Board members sometimes seemed not to get any sausage at all. Dave took all the ribbing in good heart, especially over his story telling, always word for word as we remembered it from the last time he told whichever story it was, which, on occasions, may only have been 30 minutes earlier! We loved him all the more for it though and it would not only be the writer who would love to hear one or two of them just once more.
Dave was also a long serving referee on the Allied Counties League and the West Middlesex Sunday League with some more never ending tales. He was a Fulham supporter . He played for Ashford Veterans’ team for a number of years and like so many of us was steeped in football almost to the exclusion of everything else.
The Club’s deepest sympathies go to his wife Carmel who was devoted to him and all members of his extended family, many of whom were at his bedside yesterday. He fought the cancer that enveloped him with everything he had, right to the end and will be sadly missed by the Ashford family and many other football people. RIP Dave.