Dave Bryant Obituary

Dave was born in 1960 in Enfield and lived there for the majority of his life. Football was always his passion. His mum was an avid West Ham fan but it was after being taken to watch Enfield beat Woking at Southbury Road in 1968 that he found his true football love. There wasn’t too much to dislike about watching one of the best non-league teams in the country during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Frequent league winners, countless county and league cups, plus of course visits to Wembley in the FA Amateur and FA Trophy finals, and Dave rarely missed a game home or away. A decline set in during the 1990’s that culminated in the sale of the Southbury Road ground. Dave was instrumental in setting up a supporter pressure group to try and stop the sale. He made an impassioned speech at the council planning meeting turning some of the committee to go against the recommendation of the sale. Sadly, the chair’s casting vote carried the day but the supporters had someone to take us onto the next challenge of keeping senior football in Enfield.

For his day job Dave worked at Nalgo, now Unison, the trade union that represents public sector workers. He had a deep sense of right and wrong. He hated racism and detested discrimination of all kinds. That may have evolved from his work at the union but he always had a sense that injustices should be overturned. He certainly had a stubborn streak and so when it came to righting the wrong of the borough losing its football club he had the bit between his teeth. It wasn’t just his desire to put things right that made this fight ultimately successful it was also his ability to bring people with him and reason with those who objected to the road taken. He did that through his wonderful personality. Always generous, always having a joke and an ability to turn bad situations to ones you felt could be overcome. A testimony to his personality is that those who strongly disagreed with the formation of a new club were always on the best of terms with Dave. Always approachable, it was difficult for anyone to dislike him.

At the time the new club was formed Dave managed to also look after a young family. His first wife Linda and daughters Amy and Clare shared Dave’s love of nature. He enjoyed his fishing and bird watching and really loved trips to the Wye Valley with Amy and Clare over the last year. He loved his dogs: firstly Clough named after manager Brian Clough, then Benn (named after his political hero Tony Benn), D’Arcy (who Dave insisted was named after Alf D’Arcy the Enfield England international), and currently Lucifer.

Dave tackled his illness with typical bravery and was supported by his wife Rizete, daughters Amy and Clare and Claire’s husband Ollie, who all gave him so much care. Thoughts are with them and his step daughter Barbara.

I was fortunate to visit Dave several times in the last days of his life. He asked questions as to what games we had coming up and really wanted to stress how important the fans were to the team and how supporters should encourage them when things were tough. I can think of no better way to celebrate Dave’s life than asking all fans to make that extra noise when needed. He would love that.

Rest in peace mate.

Paul Millington