A lovely guy, a smooth communicator and one of the hardest-working volunteers you could ever hope to meet.
Those are just some of the things people had to say about Ken Malley, who passed away after suffering a stroke last month aged 70.
Ken’s funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium, where it was standing room only in the chapel.
Well-wishers and friends bid a fond farewell to Mr Malley, who was chairman of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and an executive director of the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).
The song Portsmouth by Mike Oldfield was playing as Ken’s coffin was brought in.
Pompey Rock by Shep Woolley and the song Blue Moon were also played, the latter a tune which had a special significance for Ken and his wife Maureen.
A wake was held at Fratton Park’s Victory Suite afterwards where more than 50 people gathered to share their memories and raise a glass to a man known as not just a hard-working colleague and football advocate, but also as a good friend.
Ken was a co-founder of the supporters’ trust, and had been there since the early days of the steering committee in 2009.
He was also a regular contributor to The News’ Sports Mail, penning the Away-Day Guide for Pompey fans during the season.
FSF chief executive Kevin Miles, of Tyneside, said Ken was a ‘widely admired individual’ and a good friend to many.
He was a lovely guy and a good friend. We’re all going to miss him.Jake Payne
Mr Miles said: ‘He was one of the nicest men ever to be an effective operator on behalf of football fans.
‘He could be persuasive, but forceful, and he never lost his temper with anyone.’
Mr Miles said he travelled the world with Ken, going to England matches as part of the FSF’s Fans’ Embassy team.
He said: ‘I’ve never come across a more hard-working volunteer with a genuine concern for other people.
‘With his passing we have lost a huge asset for the supporters’ movement.’
Ashley Brown, Pompey club director and former chairman of the supporters’ trust, said Ken was a diligent man who did a lot for football.
Mr Brown said: ‘The thing about Ken was that he always had a positive thing to say about everyone and everything.
‘He worked tirelessly, not only helping to save Portsmouth Football Club but also helping supporters across England in many other clubs across Europe.
‘There are thousands of people in the football world who knew Ken and will remember Ken for all the hard work he has given for the greater good of football.’
Originally from Portsmouth, Ken lived in Newton Abbot, in Devon.
Fellow Devon resident and founding member of the supporters’ trust Jake Payne said he had been friends with Ken for 27 years.
Mr Payne, 57, and Ken started a group called the South West Supporters’ Club, later called the Devon Blues, which was made up of many former Portsmouth dockyard workers who had relocated to Plymouth.
Mr Payne said: ‘We met through our love of Pompey and we followed them all around the country. He was a lovely guy and a good friend.
‘We’re all going to miss him.’
Mr Payne said Ken was somebody who got on with things and worked to help the club and its supporters.
He said Ken regularly made the 300-mile round-trip from Devon to Portsmouth just to go to meetings of the supporters’ trust steering committee.
Mr Payne said: ‘He was a doer. A lot of people talk about things that should be done, and Ken actually did them.’
Jo Collins, 63, is the assistant secretary and legal advisor for the trust and was also the trust’s first chairwoman.
Ken served as vice-chairman alongside Ms Collins. She said: ‘I couldn’t have had a better vice chairman in the inaugural year that the trust was in existence. He was thoughtful, considerate and very easy to get along with. What a great loss for the trust.’
The club’s PR consultant Colin Farmery, 52, of Southsea, said Ken was a lovely guy with strong principles.
Mr Farmery said he had known Ken since they were both on the steering committee of the supporters’ trust in 2009.
He said: ‘You can see from the event today how well liked and respected Ken was.
‘He was a lovely guy, he always had a kind word to say about people and always had a smile on his face. He was a guy who had some strong principles, who wanted to ensure he did his best, not only for Pompey fans, but fans across the country.
‘But also, he was a very pragmatic man – someone you could do business with.
‘It’s a great loss, not only to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, but also to football in this country.
FSF president Monica Hartland, of Cobham, said Ken was a ‘benevolent kind of man’ and an ‘ideal communicator’.
Ms Hartland said: ‘He certainly had great communication skills. He really was lovely. It’s a sad day, even more so because his passing was unexpected.’
Pam Wilkins, of Southsea, is an old friend of Mr Malley and worked with him on the trust board.
Ms Wilkins said he was: ‘He was a well-mannered, well respected man throughout football and he will be well missed by us all.’
Trust vice chairman, Tom Dearie, also paid tribute to Ken. He said: ‘This is a desperately sad time.
‘Ken will be greatly missed by us all on the PST board, Portsmouth Community Football Club and everyone who knew him.’