Tributes to Brian France, former North Ferriby boss who was much-loved figure in non-league football
TRIBUTES have been paid to former North Ferriby boss Brian France after he passed away aged 73.
An iconic figure at the non-league club, it was France who paved the way for all the Villagers' recent successes during his time in charge as manager, having joined at the end of the 1994-95 season.
The highlight of France's managerial career at Church Road came in the 1999-2000 season when the club won the Northern Counties East League title, the President's Cup and East Riding Senior Cup for a memorable treble.
He was assistant boss when Ferriby lost in the FA Vase final at Wembley in 1997, but he also steered the club to their first UniBond Premier Division play-off final in May 2006, before eventually losing to Farsley Celtic.
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"Brian's success was self evident," said Ferriby chairman Les Hare.
"He is an iconic figure at Ferriby and in the amateur football scene because he knew everybody.
"He was a bubbly character and everyone at North Ferriby would like to extend their sincere condolences to the France family."
Ferriby captain Paul Foot was brought to the club by France and he has vowed to win the Evo-Stik Premier League title in his honour this season.
Currently top of the table at the halfway stage of the season, Foot is determined to see the job through as a tribute to the man who first handed him the captain's armband.
"Winning the league would be the ideal tribute to Brian," he said.
"Brian had a big impact in my life after joining Ferriby. He immediately made me captain and that showed he had great belief in me as a player.
"He was a great manager who would go round all the players in the warm-up and have a word with them.
"He always had time to talk to anyone associated with me and I'll miss Brian. He always made me smile."
France stopped being involved in football when he suffered a brain injury after a ball hit his face during his time in charge of Scarborough Athletic in 2010.
A benefit fixture was held in his honour at Bridlington Town's Queensgate ground last year which saw an ex-Tigers squad, spearheaded by Dean Windass, face Scarborough Old Boys.
Windass, who was managed by France in the Hull Sunday League, praised his professionalism and said amateur football would miss him after his death on Monday.
"Brian was like a professional manager in the amateur game," Windass said. "He managed me when I was a young kid and I've known him all my life.
"He was very enthusiastic and a brilliant football manager. He will be very sadly missed."
His son, Darren, said his family were grateful for all the messages and support his family have received.
He added: "I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone at this difficult time for the family. It has been truly overwhelming."