The players are desperate to show their gratitude to a welcoming true gentleman, says Matt Longhurst
Tributes have been published on social networking sites after the Southern Counties East Football League leaders confirmed the tragic news at lunchtime.
“Erith & Belvedere are devastated to announce the passing of club director Martin Tarrant,” said a club statement.
“Last night Martin passed away. Martin’s contribution to Erith & Belvedere Football Club cannot be praised enough.
“Martin was someone who everyone at the club got on with and he is someone who would always give the club 100% despite balancing the commitments of having a full time job alongside his work for the club.
“Working with Brian Spurrell he produced one of the best programmes in non-league football and all his work in attracting and retaining sponsors for the club has kept a steady financial flow of income coming into Erith & Belvedere.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Martin’s friends and family and we will be honouring Martin at our home game on Saturday against Greenwich Borough.”
The Deres reached The FA Vase Second Round after coming back from Eastbourne Town with a 2-1 win after extra time last weekend.
Reflecting on the game, Longhurst said: “After another week of togetherness and quality on the pitch and a great result away from home in The FA Vase, we showed the character and resolve of the group after going down to ten-men after just sixteen minutes.
“A piece of magic by Jake Britnell and a first goal for Damien Ramsamy saw us through to the next round, albeit after some outstanding goalkeeping from George Kamurasi.”
Erith & Belvedere welcome Greenwich Borough to Park View Road on Saturday sitting nine points clear of Ashford United at the summit with 37 points from fourteen games.
The Deres are 23 points clear of fourteenth-place of Greenwich Borough, who have collected 14 points from their eight games, but Ian Jenkins’ side have games in hand owing to their record FA Cup run, which was ended by Vanarama Conference North side Worcester City in the Fourth Qualifying Round two weeks ago.
Longhurst is relishing the vital clash at Park View Road.
He said: “We look forward to a great game against the title favourites in Greenwich Borough, who have possibly assembled the most experienced squad of players ever seen in the Kent League, with ex-Champions League and Football League players as well as a vastly experienced management team.
“It’ll be a good test of how far we’ve come as a group in a short space of time.”
Reflecting on the sad news that has shocked the club, Longhurst said: “It is with great sadness that we report that our friend and director Martin Tarrant sadly passed away on Wednesday evening and brought shock across the whole club.
“Martin had been so excited by the start to the season we’ve made and Saturday was full of praise for the team and Tuesday called me to discuss the team etc for this Saturday and now all of a sudden he’s not around.
“It goes without saying our hearts go out to his friends and family and the players are desperate to show their gratitude to a welcoming true gentleman who has made us all feel part of his club this year and we’ll be doing everything in our power to make him feel proud of our performance on Saturday.
“There will certainly be no need for motivational team talks that’s for sure. We go into the game in good form and full of confidence – let’s hope we can go and get the three points that Martin was desperate for this Saturday.”
Dartford manager Tony Burman wanted to pass on his club’s condolences to Martin’s family.
Speaking at the end of the interview ahead of The FA Cup First Round tie between Bromley and Dartford, Burman said: “He lives a couple of doors away from my mum and we just heard about it this afternoon. I knew him and I am really sad, shocked by the news. I have known him for a long, long time from when I used to play for Erith & Belvedere. He was there and Martin was always a good lad.
“I saw him regularly because he lives a few doors away from my mum. It’s just a complete and utter shock. I pass on condolences from everyone at Dartford Football Club.”
Other tributes were published on Twitter throughout the day.
Former club secretary, Frank May, now chairman of league rivals Cray Valley wrote: “I was saddened and shocked to hear the news of Martin’s passing. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. RIP Martin.”
VCD Athletic’s physio, Alison Maloney added: “So sad to hear about Martin, true football/E&B man through and through. Prayers with the club and his family at this sad time.”
Micky Collins, who guided the club to a Kent League double the season before last, posted a photograph on Twitter with the pair holding the two pieces of silverware, writing, “RIP mate. You will be so missed. We all had a good drink this night. He was so proud of his club.”
It goes without saying, the Kent football family are saddened to hear the news and our condolences go to Martin's family and friends during this sad time.
Visit Erith & Belvedere’s website: www.erithbelvederefc.co.uk
Erith & Belvedere v Greenwich Borough
Southern Counties East Football League
Saturday 8th November 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY