End of an era as Cosens departs

Outgoing Hastings United secretary Tony Cosens (left) receives a memento for his many years of service to the club from chairman Dave Walters (right). Picture by Terry S. Blackman
Outgoing Hastings United secretary Tony Cosens (left) receives a memento for his many years of service to the club from chairman Dave Walters (right). Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Tony Cosens left his office at Hastings United Football Club for the final time on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old has stepped down as secretary after a remarkable 35 years and his involvement with football in the town goes back some 55 years in total.

Cosens said: “I’ve been here in one form or another for 55 years and I decided now was the time to call it a day. There’s been some good times and some bad times, but I’ve enjoyed most of it.”

Hastings-based Cosens joined the new supporters’ club of Hastings United in 1959 and assisted the organisation in building a club bar beneath the main stand at the Elphinstone Road ground.

He was chairman and secretary of the supporters’ club for a number of years before becoming Hastings United secretary from 1979 until the club ceased trading in 1985.

Cosens has fulfilled the same role at Hastings Town (now United) ever since, as well as being secretary of the Hastings & District Football Association for the best part of two decades.

Asked about highlights from his time at United - with whom he has been awarded life membership - Cosens said: “Obviously the (FA) Cup run last year was a good one, but the best times were when we were in the old Southern League Premier Division, and got promoted under Peter Sillett and George Wakeling.”

Cosens is also an honorary vice-president of the Sussex County FA and in 2011 received a Football Association award for his service to the game over half-a-century. What’s more, he is a former Kent Youth League management committee member, and was secretary and fixtures secretary of the Southern Counties Combination League.

“I’m still involved in local football through the Hastings FA, and I shall keep going out watching games here and there, and follow Hastings,” added Cosens, who didn’t rule out a return to football administration at some point in the future.