4th December – 15 Years On

It is 15 years ago today that Kevin Kovacs sadly died and following this the League established the Kevin Kovacs Memorial Match such was his stature within the League, (although he never knew it himself). The original matches were played near the anniversary of the date of his death but then got moved to create a sort of Community Shield type of event. However, it is my belief that as time has moved on this tribute to him had declined in it’s status and clubs were simply arranging friendlies on the same day. Something needed to alter and the decision to move it back to near the date of his anniversary was agreed and the venue also altered. There will be those that remember Kev and those who never knew him. However, for those that didn’t I have posted a few of the comments received following his death. There are many, many more in the archive section of the former web site pages. If you read these you will understand that this person deserves to be remembered by this League. Indeed, as a few people commented, if it were not for Kev the chances of this League still going would have been in doubt. This picture of Kev really does sum him up. A good book, his animals and a cup of tea. Only thing really missing is him wearing some football boots lol. So here are a few tributes to Kev and why we choose to remember him on one particular Saturday each year.

Part of Ed Walkers comments who was the web sec at the time:

Football can be quite a cruel game at times; people get hurt and quite often there’s a lack of sympathy and emotion save for the scoreline or the referee. My mum used to say that footballers don’t cry, but I’ve shed many tears since I heard the news. He said to me on the way home in the car, ‘Ed, I’m 47, what have I done with my life?’. I suppose I can answer some of that for him.

He left an indelible impression on the WMCFL. He came into contact with literally hundreds of players, managers, referees, secretaries. It’s fair to say looking back, there may not have been a WMCFL if it wasn’t for him. He was warm. A great conversationalist, an intellectual. I loved this side of him, he had an opinion on most things, although he was quite prepared to listen to others’ views. We spoke every Saturday night. He’d let me know the scores from the day’s games so that I could update the website and in latter months it was the other way round. Quite often these chats would go on for ages whilst my tea got cold. Up until his dying days he was interested in what was happening. He tried to include as many people as he could in the football. There were many times when I’m sure his encouragement kept teams in the League, although he knew when to draw the line.

He was passionate and competitive. On the field, he took the games very seriously, whether he was watching or participating. He even played in a number of games after he was diagnosed. I remember one conversation I had with him. He told me that he’d asked the doctor who had informed him of the leukaemia if he could still play football, but forgot to ask ‘Am I going to die from this?’. I’m going to miss you Kev and so will the League. You were a Christian and a gentleman.

Pete Bennett – Manager and Club Secretary, Rowley College FC – When we joined the league in 1992, Kev was one of the first people I spoke to and I recall our telephone conversation as though it was yesterday. He stressed the competitive nature of this ‘Christian’ league and that became for me a rule of thumb: he was competitive I’m sure to the very end. That is how I’d like to remember him most as someone who believed passionately in healthy competition: as part of that all-conquering Chawn team of the early nineties (in our first match against them we played out of our skins and lost 3-0!) but more significantly as that team aged and gradually broke up as a man who championed his beloved Chawn through thick and thin, where others would have given up and called it a day. I’ll really miss that enthusiasm. Best wishes from the Rowley boys!

Jadon Silva –  Then Club Secretary, Amblecote Christian Centre FC – Kevin was one of the nicest people who I had contact with in Christian football, indeed football as a whole. At games it was always great to play against him – he was competitive yet a true gent. Off the field he was always so helpful, working tirelessly to ensure that the League as we know it runs as smoothly as it does. We are thankful to him for the work he has done for the League. Kevin will be deeply missed by all who knew him. All at Amblecote FC pass on our deepest sympathies to his family.

Rob Hill –  Former Club Secretary, St. Thomas’ and  current WMCFL Treasurer – When St Thomas’ joined WMCFL some years ago it was my first experience of running a team in a league that was affiliated to a County FA. Needless to say I was completely ignorant of procedures, rules and regulations etc. How lucky I was therefore to have a person like Kev to guide me through the admin maze. Kev was always approachable, friendly, helpful, polite and above all a great encourager. Kev never made me feel a nuisance with my petty queries and seemed to have an abundance of patience and wisdom. He loved the game of football and cared passionately about the league for whom he was a tireless worker. Kev will be sorely missed by so many and all at St Thomas’ send our deepest sympathy to his family.

Andy Massey, Bilston Beacons Club Secretary and formerly of West Bromwich Beacons – I was lucky enough to play against Kevin and his Chawn team mates on more than one occasion in my first few seasons with the Beacons. Kevin was a tough competitive player who would regularly beat me in both aerial challenges and on the floor, usually resulting with me on the floor as well! These tackles were nearly always accompanied by a quick apology and a helping hand to my feet…what a gent! Kev loved the game of football, but more importantly he loved the opportunities it gives for people to meet and enjoy each others’ company. Kevin’s work both on and off the field has contributed to his legacy that is the WMCFL as we know it today. As secretary of Bilston Beacons I can only thank him and his family for the hours he has put into the league to enable us all to play this wonderful game. Kevin will be sorely missed by everyone…being dumped on my backside after a tough tackle will never be the same again!

These are just a few comments made by people upon hearing the news of Kev’s death 15 years ago, there are many, many more.

Unfortunately, Kev’s match this week was postponed because of a frozen pitch. With all the rain we have had lately Kev would have had a laugh that it was the frost and not the rain then settled down with a cup of tea and a good book.

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