It is with a true sense of sadness and regret that we record the passing of John Mounteney, the highly respected former vice-chairman of the club, who has died suddenly at the age of 79.
Colin Slater pays this tribute…
It’s easy to point to John’s official connection with Notts County but that is by no means the whole story. Whatever capacity he occupied, John was essentially a fan who cared deeply about the club he supported from 1946, when he saw his first match at Meadow Lane.
What was already becoming a loving enthusiasm for the Magpies flourished during the memorable success of the “Lawton era” in the late 40’s and early 50’s.
Has the world’s oldest professional Football League club ever had a greater or more devoted friend? It’s highly doubtful.
It was in 1980 when he was first appointed to the board of directors and quickly became vice-chairman, serving under Jack Dunnett. While the chairman was in London for most of every week, serving as a Nottingham MP, John was entrusted with much of the day-to-day decision making.
It says much about his character that, when Derek Pavis became the new owner in 1986, John continued to serve as vice-chairman with the same dedicated loyalty, a total period of 24 years.
To the end he remained a close personal friend of both men.
In later years he was deeply troubled by various crises which engulfed the club.
In 2009 he gifted his 10 per cent shareholding to Munto Finance to enable them to gain control of the club, believing it would herald a new era of greater prosperity. When, only five months later, Munto put the club up for sale, John publicly expressed his concern at the situation. He was similarly concerned when Notts fell into administration for 18 months, during which its very existence was threatened.
But, to an even greater extent, he relished in the halcyon days experienced under the management of Jimmy Sirrel and Neil Warnock as Notts twice reached the top flight of English football, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
His wife Daphne of nearly 50 years – they were planning to celebrate their golden wedding in September – shared John’s passion for the Magpies.
Over a period of several years in the 70’s and 80’s she worked in the lottery office at Meadow Lane and they were always together at matches.
Their son Edward is equally devoted to the club.
John and Daphne continued to be honoured guests in the boardroom but it was not their first port of call at home games. They made a point of dropping in first to see whichever former player who was guest of the day. Legions of former players knew them as personal friends.
Until recent years John and Daphne made their home at Burton Joyce, the same village where Jimmy Sirrel, the most successful manager in Notts’ history, also lived and, inevitably, they built up a close relationship with him.
They also enjoyed the same relationship with Jack Wheeler, the club’s trainer-coach for 26 years, and it was entirely typical of John that he sought to recognise this by becoming president, and an active supporter, of the Jimmy and Jack Legacy Fund.
Nottingham-born, and educated in the city, he was in business for many years with Leivers Brothers, of Arnold, serving as non-executive chairman.
Business colleagues and whole generations of Notts County adherents will unite in mourning his passing.