Soham Town Rangers and Ely City honour ‘true football man’ and former manager Dennis Lightning

Dennis William Lightning

Dennis William Lightning - Credit: Archant

Soham Town Rangers have paid tribute to their former manager Dennis Lightning, who died on Friday following a short illness at the age of 62.

Dennis William Lightning

Dennis William Lightning - Credit: Archant

Dennis William Lightning joined Soham at the beginning of the 1997/98 season, firstly as assistant-manager, before being promoted to joint-manager alongside Richard Goodjohn at the beginning of the next campaign.

During his two years at the Lane, Lightning helped the club win back-to-back Cambs Invitation Cup finals before leaving at the end of the season to take over as manager of the Cambridgeshire FA representative side.

As well as Soham, Dennis was also connected with a number of other sides locally including Saffron Walden, Histon, Ely City, Sawston United and Cambridge City.

A minute’s silence was held prior to the Greens’ Emirates FA Cup tie at home to Westfield’s on Saturday as well as at Ely’s home Thurlow Nunn League match.

Ely City First manager Brady Stone said: “Dennis signed me for Ely City and was truly a great man. From the moment I first met Den we clicked, not just football related, but away from football as well.

“He always had time for everyone and will be sadly missed. Both Dennis and Alan Alsop as a pair made me enjoy football again and I will always thank him for that and for getting me into this amazing club. Miss ya big man.”

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The clubs chairman during Dennis’ stay and current chairman Robert Button said: “In his time as manager Dennis was a gentleman and a friend to my wife Jean and myself.

“He never asked anything from the club that they could not afford and was a true football man through and through.

“I will miss him telling me that it was always windy at the ground.”

Current football secretary Derek Oakey said: “Dennis was the one of the best to liaise with from a secretary’s point of view.

“I will never forget when I dropped a fire cracker behind him and made him jump.”

Former Robins manager Alan Alsop, who Dennis brought to the club, said: “Dennis was the one that got me to come to Ely and work with him.

“Working with Dennis was an absolute pleasure as he had a wicked sense of humour and we shared so many happy times together.

“I shall miss our chats on the phone, but mostly I will miss him as a friend. RIP Dennis.”

Paul Jeffrey, of Ely City Football Club, said the news was “a shock to everyone at the club.

“Dennis was a true football man and his knowledge of local football was unsurpassed.

“The club sends out its deepest condolences to his wife Shona and all of his family.

“The club will observe a minute’s silence before the start of the up and coming game on Tuesday September 12 v Godmanchester Rovers. Kick off at 7.45pm.