It is with great sadness and regret to inform you of the passing of Dick Almond, youth leader, coach and mentor for thousands of players over the last 60 years. Dick arrived at Montagu (Newcastle, England) shortly after the Club’s formation in the early 1950’s and spent the next 60 years providing opportunities for young players in the Newcastle region, including Seacoast United Founder, Paul Willis and Director of Soccer, Iain Scott. Both Paul and Scotty played at “Monty” since they were 12 years old and were members of Dick’s U15 squad that came to Atlanta, Georgia in 1979 as part of the Friendship Force.
“While Dick had been poorly for a few years, it still came as a shock when I received the news. I usually spoke to him once a month and had a great conversation with him three weeks ago about the new Clubhouse at Monty and how well Newcastle was doing in the EPL. He inspired me as a kid and as an adult and I will always be grateful to him and Montagu as the Club, and he in particular, had a lot to do with who I am and where I am today,” said Paul.
“We had a very good side at Monty and while the talent was there, Dick worked us hard to make sure we didn’t take anything for granted and helped us reach our potential. A lot of the players had very successful playing careers and it’s also no surprise to see so many of us working as coaches today. We were kids but he respected us and treated us like men and looking back he and Monty had a huge influence on us,” commented Scotty.
Over the years, Montagu teams have been hosted by Seacoast United families on a handful of occasions and both Clubs have played against each other on either side of the Atlantic. Dick made it over to Seacoast United on two occasions in the last 10 years and had fond memories of his visits over here and how much soccer had grown. SUSC’s U16 Development Academy squads have stayed with Monty families the last two years as they competed in the Four Nations “Clubs For Young People” Soccer Tournament held in Durham. As part of SUSC’s "Taste of English Football" trip back in 2008, about 20 Seacoast parents attended Monty’s 60th Anniversary Dinner which included a tribute to Dick’s work.
Paul is heading over to the UK for Thursday’s funeral to not only pass on condolences from everyone at Seacoast United but to also acknowledge the impact Dick had on both Clubs and to continue the wonderful relationship we share with everyone at Monty. God Bless Dick.