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Club Mourns Passing Of A True Notts Stalwart

20 October 2014

The club extends it deepest sympathy to the family of Mr Louis Levin, a lifelong Notts supporter whose love for the club never deviated over eight decades...

Colin Slater pays this tribute to a man he knew as a friend.

Lou (as all his friends called him) was as excited as any child with a birthday to be invited to join the Notts Board of Directors in the Sixties.

He had been a fan since being taken to his first match at Meadow Lane at the age of six or seven - a day imprinted on his memory.

From that experience there was only one club for him and becoming a director was a dream come true.

He joined a Board comprising Jack Dunnett (chairman), Bill Hopcroft and Ralph Sweet of whom only Jack now survives.

Some 20 years as a director are dwarfed by his claim to be the club's longest-serving supporter. As recently as last season he still attended the occasional game, taking his place, still as as season ticket holder in the main stand, some 80 years on from his first - match what an incredible record!

Notts had known some extremely difficult and difficult times in the years immediately before he became a director and it was a source of great joy to him that, under the leadership of Jimmy Sirrel, he was involved as Notts headed into better, more exciting and more rewarding times.

One day remains a sharp memory.

On 28 April, 1973 Notts were at home to Tranmere Rovers and victory would ensure promotion to the Second Division, now rebranded as the Championship.

The day before the fateful match I made one of my comparatively rare Friday visits to the ground, arriving by co-incidence at just the same time as Lou.

We encountered Jimmy at the back of the main stand. Lou told him that he had brought bottles of champagne with which to celebrate promotion.

"Very good", said Jimmy "but you do realise we have to win the match - which is more important to me than any champagne."

Celebrating success was something he revelled in. Players of that era recall that getting into Division Two, as Notts did on that great day, meant a resumption of rivalries with Forest.

Now, Lou was strictly a one-club man and he yearned for nothing more than for Notts to beat their neighbours.

When they did he paid for a celebration meal at a Nottingham restaurant for all the players and staff.

His generosity, and that of his wife Sybil, who died in 1996, was legendary. She raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through the New Appeals charity, which she founded and for which she was awarded the OBE. Their parties, when they lived in Adams Hill, were "musts" in the diary.

He was also in the habit of entertaining me at the Black Boy Hotel in Nottingham to discuss one or other of the several initiatives he launched as a director, all of them involving working with supporters and seeking to help the club financially.

At the time he joined the Board Lou was head of the family firm of lacemakers, thus continuing a Nottingham tradition, and later became a merchant banker with Singer and Friedlander.

Those of us who attended his funeral service on Monday of this week included Vivienne Pavis (associate director), John Barnwell (former manager) and Les Bradd and Don Masson (former players). We heard a wonderfully eloquent tribute to Lou by his son, Paul (as big a Notts fanatic as his dad) supported by his sister, Suzanne.

Family, his faith as a practising Jew and Notts were, said Paul, his three priorities in life. And we all knew that to be true.

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