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Touching tributes to man who was at 'the heart of football club'

PUBLISHED: 20:17 14 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:25 15 September 2019

Norwich United's ground. Photo: Angi Sharpe

Norwich United's ground. Photo: Angi Sharpe

Archant © 2009

Touching tributes have been paid to a well-known member of the Norfolk football community and a long-serving volunteer at a Norwich club.

Norwich United posted on its website to pay tribute to Darren Goddard, who they said was at "the very heart of the club" and "intrinsic" to everything happening at Plantation Park.

Mr Goddard, who has died after an illness, had been involved with the club for more than 20 years.

In a statement, the club said: "Like his late mother Betty, who worked on the gate and in the tea-hut, Darren took great pride in the club and was always keenly interested in all his teams and how they performed.

"He will be sadly missed by not only those of us who were fortunate enough to know him well, but also by the wider football community.

"There will be a minute's silence before our next home game, against Kirkley and Pakefield on Tuesday evening. To say we are heartbroken is an understatement."

During the club's away match against Great Yarmouth Town on Saturday afternoon, a minute's silence was held in memory of both Mr Goddard and Ray Kiddell OBE, from the Norfolk Football Association.

A flood of tributes came in reply on Twitter, including one from Wroxham FC, who said they were "deeply saddened" to hear about the news.

And Norwich City Women FC said: "We are devastated to hear this very sad news. Darren will be missed by everyone at the club. He looked after us our superbly at our home games and will never be forgotten."

Emma Fletcher said: "So sad to hear about this, Darren was the heart and soul of Norwich Utd and Plantation Park and helped me so much when I was a player and manager."

Andy Eastaugh said he was "absolutely gutted", describing Mr Goddard as "a true Planter".

Andy Kennedy said it was "very sad news indeed", while Jay Eastoe-Smith said he was a "great man".

Great Yarmouth Town FC joined the tributes, and said: "We are so sorry to hear of this terribly sad news. Our sincere deepest sympathies are with everyone concerned."

Meanwhile, Kirkley and Pakefield FC said: "Such sad news, always got a warm welcome when visiting the club, always smiling and a great sense of humour."

Norwich United Youth FC added: "Darren was such a character and such a great help to the youth teams over the years. He will be sadly missed by all of us."

Darrell Allen said: "Darren Goddard was the very best, one of those unique irreplaceable characters that are so rare but are cherished so much.

"Plantation Park will never be the same without you mate, but all of us @NorwichUtd will keep doing you proud on the pitch."

- To pay tribute to Mr Goddard, email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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