The world of St Albans Sunday League football is remembering two local legends who passed away within a matter of days of each other.

Prolific goalscorer Alan "Dickie" Last died on July 30, followed on August 4 by long-term chairman Jim Lynch.

Colney Heath resident Dickie Last died at the age of 85 following a heart attack on a recent holiday to the Isle of Wight.

He won every Sunday League honour over a 15-year career with Ballito Fully Fashion, Sporting Club and Queens Head Colney Heath. Although playing at full back for St Albans City on Saturdays, Dickie was the Sunday League's top goalscorer in the opening season (1961-62) with 48 goals, scoring over 200 goals in his career.

He topped his tally in 1965-66 for Sporting Club with 58 goals in the season, including 12 goals in one match.

Over his 15 years he won the Knockout Cup on the three opening seasons of the league, and as a member of the Colney Heath Queens Head club caused the biggest upset of all time when the Division 2 club defeated the mighty Sporting Cub 1-0 in the Knockout Cup.
He was also a member of the League’s representative side that won the County Inter-League Cup, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win against Watford Sunday League. When Dickie hung up his boots he took up refereeing and became one of the league's most efficient referees.

The story of his nickname goes that when he was born his three brothers wanted to call him Dickie, but his mother insisted on calling him Alan, although it appears the three brothers won in the end. Dickie’s wife Janet died in 2018, but he is survived by his daughter Julie.

Peter Fisher, chairman of the Herts Advertiser Sunday Football League recalled: "Dickie could not stop scoring goals with both feet and with his head, and he was also a great servant to the running of the league - always available to present winners' trophies at a minute's notice. He was truly a gentlemen when taking up a refereeing role after his playing days."

Lifelong friend Jim Whiting, also from Colney Heath, who had the ability to easily take the ball from opponents without tackling, added: "Dickie and I followed each other from one club to another... Carlton, Marconi, St Albans City, Sporting Club and Colney Heath for 20 years and I never saw his name taken nor him being sent off by any referee in all that time."

Herts Advertiser: Herts Ad Sunday League chairman Jim Lynch.Herts Ad Sunday League chairman Jim Lynch. (Image: Herts Ad Sunday League)

It was only two months ago at the Herts Advertiser Sunday Football League AGM that Jim Lynch stood down as chairman due to ill-health, having held the position for seven years. He was 67 when he died last week.

Jim was born in Roscommon in Ireland and moved to England in 1974, when he went to work at Cory's Distribution Centre in London Colney and within a year he had met and married Christina.

Two years later they moved to Wheathampstead and had three children: two daughters, Valerie and Rebecca and son James, followed by four grandchildren.

Christina does not recall if Jim played football in Ireland but she said when he came to England he played in goal, unusual for a fairly small man, and everyone called him Seamus.

Jim got involved in local youth football when James was five years old with a team of youngsters called Wheathampstead Wanderers. When James was 18 he had to move and play senior football with Wheathampstead '89 and Jim became manager, secretary and coach.

He ran his own decorating and building company from the early 1980s and was a keen Spurs season ticket supporter.

Christina said he was an avid gardener and thankfully did not suffer too long and was just about able to watch the England Women beat Germany with all his family around him.

Jim's son James still plays for Hanburys in the Herts Ad Sunday League.