Dennis Signy, who was group editor of the Hendon Times series for 17 years, died peacefully in his sleep this morning.
After going on to a career in national sports journalism, Dennis later became a football administrator, serving as chief executive of Queen’s Park Rangers and as a member of a Football League advisory panel.
His death was announced by Barnet Football Club for whom he had more recently worked as a PR consultant.
A statement on the club’s website read: “It is with deep regret that Barnet FC have the sad duty to announce that Dennis Signy OBE died peacefully in his sleep this morning. He was aged 85.
“Dennis had bravely fought against a series of ailments in recent years, showing a great fortitude and determination.
“Everyone who met Dennis learnt something, and they also knew that they were meeting a man who knew his subject inside and out and that you were dealing with a gentleman in every sense of the word.
“Dennis was a football man through and through, his list of contacts in the game was legendary, but there was more to him than that and anyone who had the good fortune to enjoy a conversation with the man would soon become aware of the fact.”
Friend and former colleague Charlie Harris, who was editor of the Borehamwood Post from 1984 to 1988 described Dennis as “a lovely man, a great editor, and a constant joy to work under.”
Said Charlie: “He was one of the few local newspaper journalists to whom the description ‘legendary’ truly applies. In fact, as he would have been the first to agree, the phrase ‘a legend in his own lunchtime’ could have been coined for him.
“He was also a staunch supporter of the Institute of Journalists, especially in the dark days of the 70s when the NUJ and the government were trying to impose a closed shop in journalism.
“He will be missed, and his exploits will be recounted whenever two or more north London journalists gather for a pint.”
Starting out as a wartime cub reporter on the Hendon and Finchley Times at £4-a-week, Dennis was group editor for 17 years until the late 1960s. He continued to write a column for the newspaper until earlier this year.
He wrote about his illness in his last column, published in March, thanking the staff at North London’s Chase Farm Hospital where he had been in intensive care.
Dennis was also the author of several football books including a history of QPR, and wrote a regular column in the Barnet FC programme entitled Signy’s Soundbites.