TRIBUTES have been flooding in after the death of an “absolute legend” of grassroots football in Weymouth and Portland.

Len Mahoney, 95, died from pneumonia at Dorset County Hospital on Friday night, less than 48 hours before a cup final held in his memory.

The local football community paid tribute to Mr Mahoney following his death, with a minute’s silence observed before Portland United’s final league game of the season.

Minute silences were also observed before the three Weymouth Sunday League Cup finals held at Grove Corner yesterday, with the final game being held for the Len Mahoney Cup – which was named in his honour following his years of work and dedication to local football.

Mr Mahoney, pictured right, who also managed the Hotel Rembrandt in Weymouth before he retired, was a successful football referee officiating professional games in the old Division 1.

He was also a former player and long standing supporter of local football.

Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Ray Banham first met Mr Mahoney in the 1970s at meetings for local referees.

Mayor Banham said: “I am very sad to hear that Len Mahoney has passed away.

“Myself and Len go back years when we were both referees.

“He was a great organiser and he was a legend as far as local football is concerned and in the town. He will be missed by an awful lot of people, and I send my condolences to his family and his daughters, and I am sure there will be many people at his funeral. He was quite a character on and off the pitch.”

Andy Lowe, secretary of Weymouth Sunday Football League, said: “Len was an absolute legend of local Sunday league football for many, many years and it is a great loss.

“He put so much effort into the league and he was very, very passionate about grassroots football.

“He used to come down and watch the finals and he will be greatly missed by everybody.”

Robin Satherley, chairman of Portland United Football Club, said: “On behalf of Portland United Football Club we are very sorry to hear of the passing away of Len Mahoney.

“He was a great ambassador and supporter of local football, and he will be sadly missed by everyone.

“We held a minutes silence before our game against Merley Cobham Sports, and at each of the three cup finals held on Sunday.”