An “esteemed member of the Highland League family” credited with saving his club has died suddenly.
Garry Davies, secretary of Rothes FC, helped the club fight back from liquidation in 2015, and more recently celebrated their first historic Highland League win last year.
The 62-year-old, who was married to Lesley and dad to Colin and Steven, died suddenly at home in Rothes on Tuesday.
Last night’s match against Forres Mechanics was cancelled, and the team’s game against Brora Rangers on Saturday has also been postponed as a mark of respect.
All other league matches will be preceded by a minute’s silence.
Club chairman Iain Paul said it was “impossible to imagine Rothes FC” without Mr Davies, who also represented the team on the Highland League’s management committee.
Deeply shocked and saddened
Mr Paul said: “We’re all deeply shocked and saddened by the passing of our friend Garry.
“He’s been a stalwart of Rothes Football Club over many years and in the past six years especially his skills and experience have been critical to our rebuild.
“He often made reference to how proud he was of our substantial progress in a relatively short time, highlighted with our third place finish in the league and with our lifting the Highland League Cup for the first time in our history (both in 2020).
“In his role as secretary he touched every club in the Highland League and he was also proud of his league management committee role and his contribution to the wider league decision making.
“His enthusiasm and determination to make sure things were done right was greatly appreciated by myself and others and this positive influence to strive for continual improvement was recognised by the committee, management, players, sponsors and fans alike.
“Right now I’m still numb and the dozens of messages just show how much love there was for Garry and it really is impossible for me to imagine Rothes FC and my own life without Garry Davies in it.
“Our thoughts and concern now though are to helping Lesley, Colin and Steven and their wider family through the most difficult time of their lives.”
In a social post, the club described the grandfather-of-five as an “exceptional secretary”, and said his contribution would “always be remembered”.
It added: “His passion and commitment to the club have been immense and never wavered. Even when we faced the unprecedented challenges of the past 18 months, he typically, lead the charge in readying Rothes FC to keep everyone safe at our club both on and off the park.”
Club’s survival will be his legacy
Highland League secretary Rod Houston also paid tribute to Mr Davies: “I think everybody across the Highland League is shocked and saddened by Garry’s sudden passing.
“Our thoughts are entirely with Garry’s family and all his colleagues and friends not only at Rothes Football Club but in the community.
“Garry was an esteemed member of the Highland League family who used his membership of the league management committee to apply common sense and good straight talking to a lot of the issues.”
In 2015, Rothes FC faced being liquidated due to an unpaid tax bill of £33,000.
Local businessman Richard Forsyth stepped in at the 11th hour and saved the club by contributing to a £20,000 down payment which was enough to stop the HMRC moving to have the club wound up.
Mr Davies was involved in the battle to save the club and help rebuild it.
Mr Houston added: “Garry’s current stint as secretary of Rothes came when he helped to get the club through the crisis in 2015.
“In terms of the club, his contribution to that survival exercise will be his legacy.
“His presence and sense of humour will be deeply missed.”
Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Fort William FC, Deveronvale Football Club and Turriff United Football Club have also paid tribute, praising not only Mr Davies’s contribute to Rothes FC but the wider league as a whole.