Back to news

League News


  • 25/05/21
  • By Combination
Football image
Football image

We are proud to announce Lionel Cooke and David Otley as the newly appointed Vice-Presidents of the league


Whilst in the Army, Lionel became a Class Three Referee in 1979. During his Army career, he was also the Army Referees Appointment Secretary in Berlin from 1979 to 1981.

Lionel joined the Blackburn Combination Management Committee as Registration Secretary in 1994. In 2003 his duties were extended when he also took up the position of League Treasurer. He continued to fulfill both roles until the end of the 2016-17 season when he relinquished the role of League Treasurer but has continued in the role of Registration Secretary.

In 2000 Lionel received a Distinguished Service Award and in 2005 he was presented with an award for completing Ten Years of Service on the Combination Management Committee

In 2006 he was the recipient of the William Fox Memorial Trophy
In 2013 he was presented with The Fusion Community Sports Organiser Award which aims to recognize valuable contributions of individuals helping to run leagues and clubs in the North West. The Fusion awards are sponsored by Asian Image and celebrate achievements from all sections of the Community.
In 2014 he received an award for achieving 20 years of service on the Combination Management Committee
In addition to his work with Blackburn, Combination Lionel was also a Committee Member with the East Lancashire Football League. Over the years in the summer months, he has been involved with local cricket as an umpire and being the Club Scorer for Accrington Cricket Club.

He continues to be a member of the Combination Management Committee and will now become a Vice President of the League.


David began as a player in 1962 with Grimshaw Park in the Darwen League. He continued his career with Waterside Paper Mill, Darwen Paper Mill, Chapmans, Mullards, and ROF until 1982.

David then took up refereeing in 1982 and continued refereeing until 2020.

He joined Blackburn Referees Executive Committee in 1984 as Treasurer and became their President in 2008.

David joined the Management Committee of Blackburn Combination in 2005 as Referees Appointment Secretary and continued in this role until the end of the 2016-17 season. During this period his enthusiasm, hard work, and commitment to his role ensured that it was a rare event if a game in the Combination was played without an official referee.

In 1998 David received a Long Service Award from the General Purposes Committee.

In 2009 David was presented with the Blackburn Sports Council Special Award for Services to Local Sport and the Blackburn Combination William Fox Memorial Trophy. This was then followed later in the year when he was the recipient of the Lancashire Football Association 30 Year Long Service Award.
In 2011 David was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Combination General Purposes Committee
On the 15th June 2015, David’s outstanding achievements were recognized at the national level when at the L.F.A. Annual General Meeting he was presented with the Football Association 50 Year Long Service Award.

Since then he has continued to be a member of the Combination Management Committee and will now become a Vice President of the League.