All at Brentford Football Club were saddened to hear of the death of former Chief Executive Keith Loring. Keith was in charge of the off-field operations of the Club for a decade in the 1980s and 90s. He has died after a short illness.
The Club has paid tribute to Keith over the past few days, as his funeral has been held. Our players wore black armbands when we played Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.A full tribute was released on our website here.
Peter Gilham, the Club's long-serving matchday announcer and also Player Welfare Manager, got to know Keith when he arrived at Brentford. They remained friends for approaching 40 years. Peter wrote the piece below, which appeared in our matchday programme on Tuesday.
I don’t know where or how to start.
Where do you start when someone who has been so instrumental in your life, in the two things I hold dear – family and Brentford Football Club - is cruelly deprived of their life which they lived to the full?
I was totally lost for words (which is not something I usually struggle with) on receiving the news upon our arrival in Leeds last Saturday afternoon. I’m still struggling to do so now, so will leave it to others to write fitting tributes to the original 24/7 man who first came to Brentford at the back end of the 1984/85 season.
Keith Loring never stopped working and I think that’s why he took to me; I have always felt we must respect treasured time with family and friends, and that time each day must be found to switch off, if for no other reason than to keep the mind active and fresh. Keith needed that bit of respite as he was a full-on ideas man who would want to see every project through to the end.
It was about four weeks after Keith took over as Commercial Consultant at the Club that I had the opportunity to sit down with him. We hit it off instantly. Keith was a visionary with some grandiose ideas for Brentford, a number of which manifested themselves and became crucial to the continuance of the Club at the time, and over the ensuing decades.
It was he, now as Chief Executive, who first introduced the sporting dinners, golf days and lotteries. He was also at the helm when the award-winning Football in the Community scheme was first launched. One of his proudest moments was spawned in January 1986. It wouldn’t have surprised me if it had been Keith himself who spread the rumour that the meeting at Hounslow Civic Centre was to thwart an expected takeover by a certain club in South West London. But the hundreds of fans who turned up that evening were in fact witness to the launch of The Brentford Lifeline Society, which is still in existence today having been true to its name by donating both directly and indirectly in excess of £2m to the Club over the past 35 years.
It was Keith who saw the true value of fans and their opinions, and a number of die-hard fans can still bear witness to Keith (with me in tow) being summoned into the social club after every home match to hear the latest “word on the street”. He always had time for fans and wasn’t afraid to face them head on if he felt they were besmirching the reputation of the Club.
As said previously, I am finding it hard to put into words everything that Keith deserves lasting credit for. Indeed, I know that Derby County and Mickleover Football Clubs would speak just as glowingly of Keith and his legacy. As a friend he was one of the best, both professionally and personally. I have spent countless evenings in his and his family’s presence, many holidays together and social and Club events too numerous to mention. Now I will hold each and every one of those cherished memories dear.
I’m certain he will be wasting no time in planning an event somewhere up there. Those in attendance will be that much richer for his presence.