Stevenage Football Club will pay tribute to Ken Headington ahead of Saturday's home game against Northampton Town...
Following his tragic passing on Sunday 10th February, the former Foundation Coach will be honoured with a minute's applause prior to kick-off for all he did for Stevenage and the local community.
Ken’s family and the Foundation staff will take to the pitch, surrounded by others that Ken meant so much to over the course of his professional life. Over 500 players and coaches from Bedwell Rangers will be in-attendance, along with former colleagues from the Hertfordshire FA and Walking Footballers from across the county.
Both teams will be welcomed onto the pitch by a guard of honour from his beloved Upfront team, a social inclusion project that Ken and his wife Sandra ran.
Ken grew up in Stevenage, attending Heathcote School before completing a Further Education Diploma at Stevenage College. His first venture into football saw him join Bedwell Rangers in 1983 and held numerous positions within the Club, integral in them becoming one of the first clubs in Hertfordshire to achieve FA Charter Standard status. The club would go on to achieve FA Charter Standard Development status and win Development Club of the year in four times, most recently in 2016/17.
Ken took his first professional role in football in 1999, as the administrator and secretary for the Stevenage Football Club Football Scholarship Scheme known as EFCO based at North Herts College, during a time that saw players such as Jack Midson and George Boyd come through the programme.
He would leave the EFCO programme to join Hertfordshire FA in 2004 leading on the roll out of the FA Charter Standard programme and working as one of the County FA’s Football Development Officers. Over a 12-year period, Ken’s work included creating one of the strongest grassroot club networks in the Country as well as playing a prominent role in the growth of disability football in Hertfordshire.
From 2016, Ken spent time furthering his passion for inclusion working with the Herts Disability Sports Foundation providing physical activity opportunities to for Day Service users. One particular centre was Leydon House that Ken continued to support until recently.
An avid Nottingham Forest fan, football was never too far away and in 2017 Ken returned to the game with spells at Boreham Wood FC and Watford FC community trusts before accepting a role at the Foundation towards the end of the year. During the 16 months at the Foundation, Ken was the key driver behind the extraordinary growth in Walking Football in Hertfordshire and supported a number of programmes including Youth Engagement, Primary School education as well as a welcoming figure on a Matchday in the Kids' Zone.
Away from work, Ken along with wife Sandra, developed the Upfront Project in the town, a pre-cursor to the Premier League Kicks sessions that take place each week. As the project evolved, Upfront stay trued to its original aim of providing football to those that want it that face more barriers than most and the players would represent the town in the Hertfordshire Senior County Inclusive League and continue to do so to this day.
With a bumper crowd expected and the pre-match tribute in-mind, supporters are advised to arrive at the Lamex Stadium early than normal for Saturday's game.