Jack Dunnett, who for a whole decade had an immense influence on the revival of Notts County, has died in hospital in London after a short illness at the age of 97.
He was simultaneously also a key figure in the city’s political fortunes as a Labour Member of Parliament for Nottingham Central, then after constituency boundary changes, Nottingham East.
It was with the west London club, Brentford, that he first became a director of a Football League club, later switching to Notts after a local businessman, Bill Hopcroft, had rescued the club from financial oblivion.
At Brentford Mr Dunnett had become an admirer of Jimmy Sirrel, who was part of the managerial set-up, and after his own election as chairman to succeed Mr Hopcroft he soon embarked on the task of bringing Sirrel to Meadow Lane which he achieved early in November, 1969.
The club was then in the Fourth Division, since re-branded as League Two, and earned three great promotions to take them, ultimately, to the top flight of the English game. The first lifted Notts into the Third Division in 1971, the second into the old Second Division (now the Championship) in 1973 and the third into the old First Division (now the Premier League) in 1981.
Mr Dunnett was one of four men who, throughout this transformation, held key positions the others being Jimmy Sirrel, captain Don Masson and trainer-coach Jack Wheeler. In addition, Mr Dunnett became a significant figure on the national scene as President of the Football League, the only director in Notts’ long history to be elected to such a lofty position.
When he retired from the Meadow Lane board in 1987 he was succeeded by Derek Pavis, who was responsible for the complete redesign and rebuilding of the Meadow Lane stadium in only two years, 1991 and 1992. His vice-chairman was the late John Mounteney who held the same position under Jack Dunnett.
Our thoughts are with Jack's family at this very sad time.