THE dedicated secretary of Kidderminster & District Football Association has stepped down after nearly 40 years.

Ernie Pyke has been working behind the scenes at the Kidderminster League for five decades, becoming secretary in 1980 and taking on the chairman’s role as well in 2006.

The 80-year-old has given notice to retire as secretary and is keen to see some 'young blood' take his place and give the league a new lease of life.

Ernie told The Shuttle: "The league has seen some big changes over the years. It's all run using the web now which I'm pretty good at.

"It's been a steady increase until seven or eight years ago when junior football nationwide started to die down.

"It's unfortunate but kids today don't want to play football after the age of 15. They're more into their phones and social media.

"I'm 80 years old now and the other members are getting old. We need some young blood to sustain the league's growth."

Ernie has been at the heart of the local football scene for more than half a century, first as a player for works teams RTB Wilden in 1956 before shifting his focus to refereeing in the 60s and graduating through the ranks, turning linesman for the West Midlands League in 1969.

The pinnacle of his refereeing career came in 1976 when he became a Football League linesman, where he rubbed shoulder with some of football’s biggest names.

Ernie will continue supporting the Kidderminster & District Football Association in his role as chairman.

He said: "I wish I could carry on giving as much time as I do now to the league but if you live to be a nice old age like me you will find that you slow down tremendously.

"I'm sad to be stepping down as secretary but I'm staying on as chairman because someone's got to steer the ship."

For information on getting involved at the Kidderminster League, visit