Southampton FC is saddened to learn that Roy Beazley MBE recently passed away at the age of 78.
Although he was once on the books of the club as a youngster, Roy’s own playing career was a brief one which was cut short by injury, but he became close with a young Terry Paine and John Sydenham who were breaking through at the club in that time.
Roy’s affiliation with Saints carried on, and he became one of the founders of the Ex-Saints charity football team and helped raise thousands of pounds for local charities for over 40 years. His extensive charity work saw Roy awarded MBE in 2006.
As a stalwart of the community, he became well-known to both current and former players of Southampton from his role with the Ex-Saints where he managed the team of former pros, while maintaining his involvement in coaching local children in schools and at summer camps.
He worked in Southampton for over 30 years and, following early retirement, re-joined Saints as a community coach.
In his later years, Roy battled cancer, but never lost his passion for fundraising or his love for Saints where he continued as a keen supporter of the club’s academy – often driving the minibuses that carried the club’s young players from their digs to the training ground.
The bond between Roy and Saints was as strong as ever in the final two months of his life following a terminal diagnosis of cancer.
A number of ex-Saints went to see Roy at his home up until his death, which was valued by both the man himself and his family. Brian O' Neil once visited and he phoned every day, plus Ian Juryeff kept in contact from France on a regular basis. Bill Beaney, John Crabbe and Ally MacLeod were also in touch while James Ward-Prowse made a personal visit, with many more showing their friendship, respect and support to Roy over the last few months of his life.
Mike Earls and Roger Fry were regulars at Roy’s during that time and said that he did not complain about his situation or the great physical pain that he endured with such an awful disease. He was determined to remain strong and involved with his family and friends to the end where he spoke of the fondest moments in his life, one of which was his long lasting relationship with Saints.
In his own words, he truly loved all the Southampton players he became friends with throughout the years.
Roy (far left) pictured with the Ex-Saints charity football team
Saints’ Honorary President Terry Paine MBE is one of many former players who have expressed their sadness of his passing just before Christmas Day.
“I never missed the opportunity to meet or speak to him when I was back in the country and was always amazed at the way he handled his illness with great calmness and dignity,” said Paine.
“I have certainly missed his Christmas card that he sent via email each year, but more importantly I will miss his friendship that we had over many years my condolences to his wife and family. R.I.P”
Club historian, David Bull, expressed a debt to Roy for access to his network of ex-Saints:
"When I started pursuing ex-players, 20 years ago, for my biography of Ted Bates, I was told Roy was the man with the contacts-book. Not only was he generous with phone numbers, but I twice remember him ringing to say he and Sheila had a house-guest whom I might like to interview: John Sydenham, over from Australia; David Paton, down from Scotland. So off I'd go to their Maybush home, where they'd vacate their living room for me to interview their guest. Their home really was a communications hub."
Mike Thew, Chairman of the Ex-Saints Association, added his condolences on behalf of the former players that came into contact with Roy over the years.
“Roy will be sadly missed,” he said. “He worked hard to establish the name of the Ex-Saints in raising funds for charities by way of football games and other fundraising events.
“Roy was the Manager of the Ex-Saints football team and a Director of both the Trust and the Ex-Saints Association prior to his retirement, after which he still kept in touch with many of the ex-players of Southampton FC.
“A true gentleman and a sad loss to everyone, a very hard act to follow.
“On behalf of the Ex-Saints Association - our thoughts go out to both his wife and family at this very sad time.”
Roy is survived by his wife Sheila and children Susan, Angela and Paul.
ROY BEAZLEY 1937-2015