Tributes to Les Burns
Tributes have been paid to former Dartford Football
Club captain and legend Les Burns whose funeral was held this
Mr Burns, who died on December 19, played for the club from 1961
Steve Irving, vice chairman of Dartford FC said: “Les was a
Dartford legend and I was extremely sad to hear of his passing.
“Dartford Football Club send condolences to his family and
Mr Burns was born in Canning Town in 1943 and was signed for the
Darts by player-manager Alf Ackerman in November 1961. He made his
debut in 1963 against Oxford Utd Reserves in the Metropolitan
Mr Burns was soon appointed captain and led the Darts to Kent
Senior Cup success, promotion to the Southern League Premier
Division in 1969-70 and during the 1973-74 season, when Dartford
won the Southern League Championship and went to Wembley in the
final of the FA Trophy.
Before he left Dartford FC, Mr Burns had completed 642 starting
appearances and scored 76 goals.
Mr Irving added: “He was the ever-present defensive lynchpin of
that Wembley side and will be remembered by many Dartford
supporters as an uncompromising, tough tackling defender and will
be greatly missed.”
The funeral took place on Monday jan 7 at Corbets Tey
Crematorium in Upminster, Essex. Fans and those who knew him have
Ray Baker, 70, formerly of Mounts Road, Greenhithe, said: “I
have supported Dartford FC since 1952 and have clear memories of
“He was a gentle giant, always calm and rarely fouled with
malice. He truly was an inspiring footballer, captain, fans’
favourite and a great servant of Dartford FC.”
John Morton, a match delegate co-ordinator for the premier
league played with Mr Burns at Dartford from 1969 to 1974.
He said: “I have very fond memories of Les. He was a big bloke
but very nimble on his feet.
“In February 1970 we played Gravesend and Northfleet, alongside
the current England manager Roy Hodgson, in the Kent Senior Cup at
Watling Street. We won 4-2 and I think Les scored.
“The game was filmed by the BBC for a possible Thirty Minute
Theatre play and we all had to return the following day for various
“At the end of filming all the players from both sides had to
lie lifeless on the muddy pitch – I’m still not sure why.
Unfortunately the play never materialised so we were clearly better
footballers than actors.
“It will be 40 years since our Championship triumph and our trip
to Wembley in the FA Trophy next season and I was hoping to
organise a get-together of that side but now we’ll be missing the
skipper, Big Les.”