Nick Barmby leads tributes to Hull football 'mainstay' Les Mallory
HULL City legend Nicky Barmby has led tributes to a coach who devoted 40 years to helping boys realise their footballing dreams.
Les Mallory, described as the "mainstay" of Hull Schools Football Association, died peacefully last Friday. He was 76.
Former City manager and midfielder Barmby, played for the Hull schools' representative sides, run by Mr Mallory, from 1984 to 1989, before entering the professional game.
He said: "It's very sad to hear the news. Les did so much for Hull Boys.
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"We all have great memories of growing up playing on a Saturday and he will be sadly missed. He was a very good man."
Adam Lowthorpe, who made almost 100 appearances at right-back for City during the nineties, first met Mr Mallory in 1986.
He said: "I was selected to represent Hull Schools under-11s.
"Les took care of all the administration, co-ordinated fixtures, booked venues, buses etc to ensure talented players had a chance to represent their city.
"Les also taught at Sir Henry Cooper, where I was a pupil, and ran football and cricket teams.
"It was all done in his own time. He often gave me a lift to training after school.
"Les cared passionately about sport and particularly football and spent many years as a committed volunteer.
"All players were treat equally and learnt respect and values about how to conduct yourself representing the city."
Tony Mason, secretary of Hull Schools Football Association, said Mr Mallory commanded huge respect.
He said: "Les was a gentleman and very loyal to Hull Schools Football Association over many years.
"Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. He would always make time for people, especially the youngsters."
Barry Jackson, also a member of the organisation's committee, said Mr Mallory was a towering figure in local football circles.
"Les was an absolutely fantastic guy," he said. "He was a stalwart – the mainstay of this organisation.
"A lot of people, including Nicky and Adam, have benefited from his expertise over the years."
Mr Jackson said many of today's emerging City talent, including defenders Liam Cooper and Sonny Bradley, were helped by his friend and colleague.
He said: "Les was a very likeable guy. His main focus was always on the kids and helping them achieve their goals."
In 2003, Mr Mallory was given a special Football Association award for services to the sport.
Mr Mallory's funeral will take place on Thursday next week at 12.45pm at Haltemprice Crematorium in Willerby. His family have requested only bright colours are worn. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the cardiac unit at Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham.