Alec Berry 50 Year Long Service Award

Alec Berry awarded The Football Association 50 Year Long Service Award

He has been recognised for his exceptional work throughout grassroots football in Essex

The FA 50 Year Long Service Award celebrates people who have completed 50 years of administrative work within grassroots football, recognising their commitment to the game. Without these people, the grassroots game simply wouldn’t exist as it does now.

Alec started his grassroots journey as a player for St Peters Football Club, his local club in Walthamstow. He started the administrative role as secretary for Woodstone Football Club in 1972 to 1974. In season 1980 his nephew volunteered Alec as the manager of his team, Turnford Youth Football Club. The Club grew in strength and attracted players, culminating in winning the League title and the Challenge Cup. With two daughters it was difficult, and he was spending too much time with the boys’ team, rather than with his daughters. So, in 1984 he took his Referees exam and took up the whistle. Word soon got around and he was asked to help with his daughter’s school football team as assistant coach to the sports teacher and Match Referee, until 1988.

In season 1987/88, Alec was promoted to a Class Two Match Official (equivalent to a Level 6 today) as was welcomed into the Thurrock Association Sunday League as a Match Official as well as a member of the Thurrock Referees Association.

Alec in 1990 gained promotion to a Class One Match Official and started to officiate in Step Five football and act as Assistant Match Official at Step Four football. As was the norm he was appointed to The FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase, FA Youth Cup, FA Sunday Cup and Football League Fourth Official. He Officiated on the Eastern Counties Football League, The Spartan South Midlands Football League, The Spartan Football League as well as many Saturday and Sunday Essex Leagues. 

Many school’s games were officiated by Alec and he was awarded a National Schools Final on two occasions one as Fourth Official and the other as Match Referee. When Director for Referees at Essex CFA, he took teams of Match Officials to Officiate in Schools Semi Finals. Giving the experience to these your aspiring Match Officials games at Football League grounds.

Alec has always been a member of his local Referees Society since 1984, West Essex being his first and as still a member of Thurrock Referees Society today. He has held various committee positions with the Thurrock Referees Society, Social Secretary, Coach, Mentor, Vice Chair and Chair and is still Vice chair today. In the past year he was recruited to the National Referee’s Association, working with the Regulation and Welfare Team. Helping members through hard times on and off the field of play. 

In 1992 he joined the management committee of the Thurrock Association Sunday League as Referee Appointments Secretary, holding the post for five years before taking on the role of League Secretary and then Vice Chair. Alec is now a Vice President of the League taking the position in 2011. He also is a member of the Essex RA’s Benevolent Team helping those who need help through hardship.

Alec was elected to serve his area as an Essex CFA Council Member in 2000, and his talents were soon to be recognised, in 2001 he became the Vice Chair of the Referees Committee and its Chair in 2002, and a Board member. He in 2010 he was elected as Vice Chair of Essex CFA and its Chair in 2011 serving until 2014. Alec, when Director for Referees, formed the Essex Referees Academy which has seen many Essex Match Officials rise through the ranks. At present there is one Match Referee, and six Assistant Referees working on the Football League who were in his Academy. Many others still operate at Level two, three and four.

In 2014 he was elected to serve the Essex CFA ad its Football Association Representative on FA Council. He served on the FA Sunday Committee, the National Game Finance Committee, the Alliance Committee, The Step 6 to 5 working group, the National Game Cups Committee and the Referees Committee until retirement in 2021. He is however still involved with Match Official development, having been a Match Observer since 2000 and now can be seen at matches helping to develop Level 4 Match Officials. He also coaches Level 7 Match Officials.

Alec still works tirelessly for football, even though he has taken a step back. He has been recruited as a committee member at Tilbury FC a step four club and has been appointed as a Ground Inspector for the Isthmian Football League for season 2022/23 and he will always be seen somewhere near a pitch or helping someone in football.

Congratulations once again to Alec on his award for his service to grassroots football.