The Kent football family have been paying tribute to a local legend.
Paul Foley – affectionately known as Mad Dog – has died at the age of 48 after a long battle with a brain tumour.
“A great character, a real winner and a top lad” – just some of the comments shared on social media since the news of Foley’s death broke.
He captained the double-winning Maidstone United side of 2001/02 and was a member of Cray Wanderers’ 2003/04 Kent League title winning team.
He had also been part of a double-winning side at Ramsgate.
Foley, a former Arsenal junior and son of former Charlton manager Theo Foley, played for a number of other Kent clubs, including Margate, Chatham and Ramsgate.
He also played at VCD and went on to manage them, winning the Kent League title while at the helm, leading the club into the Ryman League.
Despite suffering with illness, he co-wrote his father’s autobiography, “Theo, Give Us A Ball,” which was published in 2017.
He died on Thursday, having first being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012, suffering with limited mobility.
Many of his former club’s have offered their sympathies to the family and have spoke of their affection for the man.
Cray Wanderers chairman Gary Hillman described him as “a real winner and character.”
FA Vase winner Marc Seager said: “Absolutely gutted to hear the sad news that Paul Foley has left us.
“Was never a team-mate but was a very respected opponent, who I enjoyed many battles and plenty of banter with over the years.
“He was so supportive of me with my fight with illness, something I will never forget.”
— Chatham Town FC (@ChathamTownFC) April 10, 2020
Stones under-23 joint manager Kane Rice kept it simple, writing: “Winner…RIP Boss.”
David Weatherhead commented: “Very sad news. Top man. Top player.”
Steve Marshall described him as a fierce opponent and a great bloke.
Darren Lovell said: “Very, very sad news. Paul was a natural leader, a strong character but most of all, a really nice bloke. RIP Skipper.”
We are saddened to learn that former club captain Paul Foley died this morning.
Paul was with the club between 2001 and 2003 and captained the double-winning side of 2001/02.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. 🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/LQnSkqnSnS
— Maidstone United (@maidstoneunited) April 10, 2020
David Powell added: “Gutted to hear this news. I’ve known Paul since we were kids, played together at youth level for RACS and then at Margate. A great lad, pleasure to have known u mate. RIP Axel.”
Ramsgate issued a tribute, saying: “At 48-years-old he was far too young to be taken away from us, leaving behind a wife and three daughters.
“Paul was a great servant to Ramsgate FC and was part of the double-winning side in 1999, as well as the team that got to the quarter-finals of the Vase in the late 1990’s.”
Their club legend Jim Ward also wrote on the club’s website, saying: “Foley’s name was always one of the first on my team sheet, a big strong commanding man and a great character in the changing room.
“Besides football he was a great friend of ours and although he gave the hard-man exterior he would do anything for you.”
“He will be sadly missed by many for his humour, football skills and knowledge. Our best wishes go out to Chloe and the girls.”
Foley had also played for Erith & Belvedere, Fisher and Welling United.