TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of Southern League chairman Anthony Hughes.

The "passionate and dedicated football man" had been involved off and on with the Southern League for over 20 years.

Southern League clubs in Worcestershire paid tribute to Hughes on social media.

Hughes first started as League Director in 2003 before being named Vice President six years later.

He then went back to his local club Merthyr Town, where he stayed until they were promoted back to the Southern League in 2015, where he once again picked up the League Director role.

He was elected Vice Chairman in 2017 and was the League’s FA Representative from July 2016 until October 2023.

Hughes became Southern League Chairman in June 2022, which fulfilled a lifelong ambition for him having spent his childhood watching the Southern League before embarking upon an association with his local club, Merthyr Town, which lasted for over 30 years.

His involvement at Merthyr included being Club Secretary, Director, Board Member and, more importantly, a loyal supporter.

"In his role here at the Southern League, it was all about the clubs and putting them first as well as making the League as approachable, embracing and forward-thinking as possible. The game will be a much poorer place for his passing," read a league statement.

"We send our condolences to Debbie, Victoria and Shaun, and all of Anthony’s family and friends at this most difficult time."

Merthyr, Hughes' beloved club, also paid their own tribute on X (previously known as Twitter):