James Payne, the longest serving employee at Suffolk Football Association (FA), left this week to take up a new post.
The 33-year-old joined Suffolk FA in April 2001 as a clerical officer at the same time as football development officer Will Cook.
They were the county’s first full-time employees and were based at the county’s headquarters at Felaw Maltings in Ipswich.
Payne, who lives in Stowmarket and used to play for SIL side Framlingham Town, then became football administration manager and has been the county’s Get into Football Officer for the past two-and-a-half years.
During that time he launched the multi-award winning Twilight (Friday Night) Football Project.
The Level 7 referee since 2010 and Level 1 coach takes up his new post as children and young people officer at Suffolk Sport, the county sports partnership, on August 1.