YOUNG footballers are to recognise the achievements of junior league 'hero' Chris Ord before games this weekend.

The former secretary of the Teesside Junior Football Alliance (TJFA) died at the weekend, aged 66.

During his time in charge, the passionate football fan successfully grew the league's standing in the region.

This weekend, teams will show their appreciation by holding a minute's applause before kick-off.

The Northern Echo:

Chris Ord and his wife Pauline. Picture: Teesside Gazette

A TJFA statement said: “Chris was passionate about grassroots youth football and, along with his wife Pauline, was hugely influential in growing the TJFA into what is now one of the most respected youth leagues in the country.

“He was always willing to offer help and advice if needed and will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.

“The TJFA management committee would like to request that all teams hold a minute’s applause in memory of Chris, prior to their games on Sunday, March 10.”

His son Matthew Ord took to Twitter to thank people for their messages of support.

He wrote: "Thank you my dad loved what he did and it was always about the kids and grassroots football, we hope he has left a legacy and encouraged kids to kick the bag of air about as he would say.

"These lovely comments really help us all at this time."

Speaking to the Northern Echo he said: "Dad started a Kader team because he didn't want his own kids kicking around on the street.

"There was probably only five or six age groups that only had one league from Under-11s to Under-16s and in those leagues there were probably only six to eight teams per league.

"Nothing like it is now. He had a vision for it to be something bigger and better, take kids off the streets and make sure they were playing under some sort of guidance.

"He got himself into quiet a few arguments over the years and I have had a few people saying 'you're dad put me straight on one or two things' but he only did it for the kids."

He added: "You also have to give massive credit to Pauline. (Dad) was the man that everyone saw, but Pauline did absolutely everything behind the scenes."

Matthew said he was immensely proud of his father and what he had left behind.

"He has left a legacy. Kids who he trained have now got their kids in the league. That's what will genuinely mean the most to him and have him smiling down on us," he said.

Stokesley Reserves football team wrote on Twitter: "Awful news to hear of the passing of Chris Ord over the weekend. Thoughts are with his family at this time. What a remarkable job he did in his time at the TJFA. The people of Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas will miss his drive and enthusiasm and advice."

Boro Rangers wrote: "The people of Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas including all of our first team will be forever grateful for his work."

Pools Youth FC wrote: "Without Chris this league would not be what it is today and our thoughts go out to his family rip Mr TJFA."

Redcar Town FC wrote: "Gutted to hear the sad loss today of a local football legend Chris Ord, he and and wife Pauline's dedication to the TJFA league made it one of the best junior football leagues in the country and what a true gent he was. Our condolences go out to Pauline and family."

While David Laud paid tribute writing: "Had the pleasure of meeting Chris on a couple of occasions. Genuine passion for the game and my son benefited from TJFA for many years. So sorry to hear of his passing. We’ve lost another local hero."