Meet The Members: Iain & Elaine Keay

As the country’s first supporters-owned club, members are our lifeline. Without them there would be no Enfield Town FC.

Our membership continues to grow and we are looking at achieving record figures this season. How important individual members are and the contribution they make can never be taken for granted. To celebrate our members, we will be publishing articles highlighting their personal contributions over the years.

We start with two members who have been extremely generous with their support. Iain and Elaine Keay have supported the club as members since we were formed. Unfortunately, their health means that they have been unable to attend games so directors Paul Millington and David Bryant visited them at their Essex seaside home to chat about what being a member of the Town means to them.

Iain and Elaine were Enfield born and bred and have fond memories of supporting the old Enfield FC. Iain’s attention to the club was initially drawn when listening to BBC Radio on a Saturday afternoon in 1959 when the live commentary was Enfield’s FA Cup 2nd round tie with Bournemouth. 

Both fondly recall the FA Amateur Cup finals and in particular the replay v Skelmersdale in 1967 played at Maine Road, Manchester. The family set off from Enfield with their car blazoned with balloons and scarves. The locals were obviously upset with the Enfield win as all the balloons had been burst when they returned to the car after the game.

Iain and Elaine get ready for their trip to Manchester

Iain’s passion for football and his contribution to the game in Enfield went beyond his love for the local club. He was a sports teacher at Firs Farm in Edmonton and then Grange Park and Lavender Primary.  He obtained his FA coaching badges and qualified as a referee. He managed the school teams and was keen for pupils to carry on after school and formed Lavender Youth. Later a new youth team, Field End Youth, was formed and Iain was invited to help run the club and managed three of their teams.

He counts among those he coached: Paul Moran (Spurs & Enfield), Martin Grainger (Birmingham City), and Dan Woodhouse (Enfield). He also coached cricket and three youngsters went onto play for Middlesex CCC. Iain recalls during a break from teaching and whilst working as a social worker for Haringey Social Services in the mid 1970’s he was invited for an interview as assistant club secretary at Spurs but sadly did not get the job.

His involvement at Enfield included contributions to the Attack magazine. A supporters’ magazine that was one of the first, if not the first, fanzine. He let us into a secret in that he ghost-wrote the regular column by the captain (of Enfield and England), Tony Jennings. Iain recalls covering the visit of the England national team managed by Don Revie who had a training session at Southbury Road before an international.

He still has his collection of Attack magazines and has donated to the club shop his collection of football books and programmes including that for the inauguration of the floodlights at Southbury Road when 10,000 turned up to see the game v Spurs in 1962. His favourite player of the old club was Roy Thomas who regularly now attends Town games. Iain has too many favourite games but the FA Cup 4th Round replay v Barnsley in 1981 at White Hart Lane in front of 35,000 stands out.

The Keay family off to Wembley

After moving to the Essex coast, Iain managed a bookshop that supports the local hospice. He follows every Town game on Live Score and despite not being able to travel, he and Elaine have bought their memberships and season tickets every season. Additionally, Iain has made significant donations over the years that have made a real difference to our club. He explains that after the loss of Southbury Road he felt the Supporters Trust was the only viable way to continue with football in Enfield. He knew many of the old club’s stalwarts that followed the Town (Roy Butler, Keith Wortley) and decided supporting the Town was the way forward.

Iain recognises that as a supporters-owned club there is no single money person and progress and success on the pitch needs financial support.  The donations have certainly made a difference to our Club and helped bring us to where we are now, and hopefully will bring the club the future success we all want.

It was a pleasure to meet Iain and Elaine. We at the Town have been very lucky to have them as long-standing members. We thank them for their support and generosity.

Paul Millington