Our Board

John Street

Chair of the Board


A senior manager in local government, John has over 40 years’ experience of dealing with a wide range of both strategic and operational topics including budgetary control, staff management, business planning and project management, all within tight (predominantly legislative) deadlines and within an ever-changing political environment.  

Johns always enjoyed the beautiful game (mainly from the touchline) and has had no direct involvement in the game until taking up a role on DCFA, as well as the additional role of Company Secretary for Exeter City A.F.C Ltd.  Both of these positions allow him to use the skills and experiences gained in delivering excellent services within the public sector, for the benefit of football in Devon.

In his position as Chair of the Board of Directors of DCFA, he is looking forward to continuing to develop the Association's ambition of enhancing lives through football in Devon. 

Dave Parish

Vice Chair of the Board


David Parish lives in Great Torrington and has served DCFA as Council Member representing the North area for over 20 years.

He is currently the Leader of Council for DCFA and represents the DCFA Council on the Board of Directors.  He also chairs the Rules and Sanctions Committee. Dave has previously chaired Discipline and Charter Standards and worked with the DCFA team and clubs to improve their disciplinary record and assist clubs in gaining charter standards.


Dave is currently the Vice Chairman of the North Devon League and has been a committee member since 1996. For the past 28 years I have been Chairman of the Torridge Cup Committee. The Torridge Cup is a prestigious local competition which has been running since 1923.


Outside of football Dave worked for the Royal Mail for over 30 years managing in multiple business functions. He is now semi-retired as a part time postie. In addition to his football and employment experience, Dave is also operating as a Councillor on Great Torrington Town Council.

Chris French

Chief Executive Officer


Chris was born in Gibraltar and moved to Plymouth as a toddler and where he still resides.   A player throughout his youth, Chris started his coaching journey at the age of 15 and still continues to coach with his sons team YMCA All Saints.

Chris joined the County FA in 2010 and has held various roles during this period and took over as CEO in April 2023.  During his career he has held a wide range of volunteering roles with the Devon Junior and Minor League, Plymouth Schools FA, Devon Schools FA, SB Frankfort as well as working for The FA and the England 2015 Rugby World Cup.  

As recognition of his work in football and the local community Plymouth University awarded Chris an Honorary Sporting Colour in 2015 and the Devon Junior Minor League Ralph Bowman Memorial Trophy for Services to the league in 2013 and 2022.

Away from the County FA Chris is the Vice Chair of Governors for Pennycross Primary School, Committee Member at his club YMCA All Saints and enjoys his training and running for Hyrox the World Series of Fitness Racing.

Chris Cole

Finance Director


I have been involved in local football for many years now, mostly involved with the running of my local club Witheridge, which I duly held and served many different roles.

Around 1996 I was approached and given the opportunity of joining the Devon County FA as a Council Member.

For several years I served on various Committees of the Association including a lengthy spell as Chairman of the Discipline Committee.

During my time as a DCFA Council Member I was made the Finance Director in 2011 and was then duly elected to the Devon FA Board of Directors.

In addition to the Devon FA, I have been involved with the Devon & Exeter Football League as their Fixtures Secretary and took over the same position for the newly formed Devon Football League in 2019.

My working career has always seen me working with finance as I’m an Accountant, who has worked for Bedford & Co Accountants for some forty years and still enjoying my day-to-day work.

In addition to football, I also enjoy Cricket and helping the Community of where I live when possible.

Max Willey

Operations Director


Max was born in Cornwall moved to Devon 29 years ago also having played football in Cornwall for many years.

Max has worked in the fire industry for 40 years, He was the Managing Director of a company called Firewatch South West Ltd based at Newton Abbot. In the last 12 months he decided to sell Firewatch and has now retired.

Firewatch became involved with Devon FA and the sponsoring of the Senior cup in which they have been delighted to have supported  for over 10 years. The opportunity came along to join Devon FA as the Operations Director which Max was delighted to take up.

Max currently dedicates some of his spare time at the local magistrates sitting in Plymouth and Newton Abbot which he has now done for the last 13 years.

Max also plays his part as a volunteer and helps support with the delivery and collection of food for a local food bank organisation within the South Devon area.

Jen Dixon

Equality Director


Jen brings a breadth of business experience and keen interest in football to the board.

Jen started her career as a Chartered Management Accountant and change maker in the private sector holding a number of roles in different sectors.  It was during her time in banking that Jen pivoted her career to inclusion, diversity and equality where she was a senior manager in Inclusion & Diversity. Jen was approached by Somerset FA to join their inclusion advisory group (IAG), where she became vice chair. Not long after moving to Devon in 2016, Jen successfully applied for the role of chair of Devon FA IAG.

Jen has two daughters who have played football since an early age, leading her to be involved in the grassroots football structure. Jen kicked off her involvement in 2013, to support the coaching of one of her childen's teams. Qualifying as a level 1 coach for the local Under 6s team, Jen started her journey in volunteering in football.

Over the last 10 years Jen has coached through the age groups in both mixed and girls' football, set up a girls' Wildcats centre and recently started a women’s recreational football team under the Devon FA Female Flexi Football initiative. Jen has been recognised by her club Central in Exeter with the Adam Stansfield club person of the year award and is a previous winner of the Devon FA community project award. Growing up at time when girls were often not allowed to play football Jen is committed to creating an inclusive environment on and off the field of play for all.

Tom Sampson

FA Rep & Board Safeguarding Champion


I have been involved in football probably since I could walk! first as a player then as a Referee, Referee Tutor, Mentor and Coach, Observer, and FA Referee Developer.

I became a Devon FA Councillor for the West area of the County in 2011, and area co-ordinator in 2015. I am currently a Director of Devon FA, where I sit as the FA Representative and Safeguarding board champion.

As FA Councillor I sit on the FA Referee’s committee, the Football Development committee.

I am currently the Chairman and Secretary of the Devon Wednesday league, ensuring midweek football in the West area of Devon continues long into the future. 

During the 20/21 season I took on the role of chairman of the South West referee’s pool which has responsibility for appointments and observations of referees on the Western and South West Peninsula leagues.

I am also a Vice President of the West Devon Referee’s society 

My long association with the game has been underpinned by an absolute passion and desire for football. As an individual I have strong values of fairness, integrity, honesty, and inclusivity.

Bill Wilson

Senior Independent Advisor


Bill originates from the North of England and spent most of his life as a young footballer and trying to play for Liverpool Football Club.

Injury forced Bill to retire early at the age of only 27 and it was volunteering for many different roles ranging from Club Secretary, Coaching, Management and to now again as a Chairman of a football club.

He has now been involved with football for over 50 years and it was in 2021 that he was given the opportunity of becoming the Chairman of Barnstaple Town FC.

During the latter part of 2021, Bill decided to join the Devon FA Board of Directors. He has been made the Senior Independent Director for the Association, which now means this role allows him to check and challenge on how the county is performing as a business.

During his business career he spent many years in London and ran one of the best Ad Agency companies in the UK. Since leaving London he moved to Devon in 2003 where we purchased his first holiday park in North Devon.

Since then, he has now become the owner of three successful holiday parks in the North Devon area and is finally looking over the next few months to retire from his work in the entertainment sector.

He’s been a former director of Carlisle United and helped them enjoy winning the League Two title in 1995 and helped the club appear at Wembley for the Auto Windscreen Cup Final in 1997.

In addition to Carlisle United, he also he also took over the running of Workington FC and managed to have help the club avoid possible extinction and took them to their first Championship win for the first time in 115 years.

Bill's focus is now to be committed in improving the Grassroots game of football in Devon in particular the North Devon area but has said on many times that he is more than happy to help and lend a hand anywhere across the county.

Dr Rod Hawker

Community Engagement Director


Born in Exeter, Rod is a retired health & social care clinical academic having spent most of my career working within the NHS as a mental health nurse specialising in the treatment of alcohol misuse. A joint academic career was undertaken through part-time research resulting in the award of MPhil (Psychology) and later a PhD (Advanced Social Work) - both through Exeter University. These joint clinical and academic interests resulted in involvement in national alcohol treatment strategies, as well as the education of medical and other clinical staff in both Hong Kong and Malaysia on behalf of Exeter University Post Graduate Medical Centre.  

Having spent most of his teens playing for Exeter City as an amateur player he subsequently played for a few local teams until the wear and tear of injuries led me to enter football coaching and management. His coaching/management career took him initially to Newtown FC (Exeter), after which he managed at Wellington FC, Barnstaple Town FC, Heavitree United and Dawlish Town FC.

During this period Rod was also very involved in concurrently managing/coaching women’s football (1976 onward). During the 1980’s Rod was appointed South West Regional Coach to what was then the Women’s Football Association - responsible for the identification and preparation of players for potential international team selection, and in assisting the team manager on international duties.

He was fortunate to be able to continue my involvement in coaching until he reached the  pre-determined retirement age of 70, by which time he had gradually moved into the realm of football administration, initially as Vice-Chair of the Devon Women’s Football League (now Chair), and at Tedburn St Mary Football Club, where he currently holds the role of Chairman and Secretary. He is now in a second term as a Devon FA Councilor and recently appointed as Director of Community Engagement.

Donna Burns

People Director


Donna Burns will bring to our Board over 30 years of international executive experience from across wealth management, investment and retail banking, asset management and manufacturing sectors.  Donna is experienced in leading and advising executive committees and boards at a country, regional and global level, demonstrating strong commercial, leadership and interpersonal skills and she has successfully bought, built, scaled, wound down, sold, and transformed several privately owned and globally listed companies.  

Donna is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (FCIPD) and has a wealth of experience in Human Resources, including coaching executives and management teams, having worked globally for companies such as Coutts, Goldman Sachs and Apollo Asset Management.  Donna is a big supporter of the development and growth of individuals and has developed many junior talent programmes during her career.

She has a deep foundation in risk management, compliance, policy, and governance and is a passionate and vocal supporter of equality, diversity and inclusion.

While Donna has limited experience of grassroots football, she has over the years and still continues to watch her son play grassroots football.  She is an avid football fan and is a Chelsea FC season ticket holder!


James Greenacre

Business Development Director


James Greenacre has 18 years of experience within professional sport and having recently changed sector, he is keen to give something back to an industry that has played a key part in his development.  James is currently the Director of External Affairs for Theatre Royal Plymouth and shares responsibility for the shaping of the organisations business strategy, ensuring the charitable objectives are met and that the charity delivers its Creative Strategy to both existing and new audiences.   Alongside this, James is also a director of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce having been elected by the members of the Chamber.

James’ skills include stakeholder engagement and business development, strategic focus and interpersonal skills and he considers himself to be a motivator, team-builder, confidence booster, capable and accountable individual who can navigate at all levels of industry. 

He is passionate about both civic and corporate social responsibility and is proud to have played a key role in the development and activation of Plymouth Argyle’s Project 35, Argyle’s Social Action Plan.  This aims to reduce poverty in Plymouth through a comprehensive campaign of fund-raising, awareness building, social outreach, education and charitable support.

James enjoys sailing and cycling and is a proud father to two young daughters who he brings up in the South West with his wife, in an area they are delighted to call home.


Dan Cole

Marketing & PR Director


Dan Cole has substantial experience in communications, public relations and reputation management in professional sport.

Alongside freelance communications work for sporting organisations at regional, national and international level, Dan spent five years at Plymouth Argyle, including as Communications and Football Media Manager, playing an important role in the modernisation of the media operations as the club rose from League Two to the Championship.

Having left Argyle in the summer of 2023, Dan now works for a global sporting body, the International Tennis Integrity Agency, as Communications Manager. Dan brings experience of media management and crisis communications to Devon County FA, alongside a network of regional, national and international media contacts.

A Devon resident with a young family, Dan has a passion for grass-roots sport and its power to enact social mobility and improve health outcomes.


Chris Broadbent

Co-Opted Champion for Sustainability


Chris Broadbent is joining the Board as a Co-opted champion for Sustainability.  He brings a breadth of skills and knowledge acquired from 25 years across marketing, media and communications in sport and leisure, regionally, nationally and internationally. 

Chris is adept at working at all levels of sports and more recently at community level, he is the founder and CEO of sustainable sports charity Planet Earth Games.   This is an innovative new sustainable sports model, engaging with national and international audiences, with additional with community, schools, digital and products strands. In the pandemic, the virtual Planet Earth Games was launched and reached over 1.5m on social media in the first edition.  Planet Earth Games is a charity which Chris has built from the ground upwards and won the 2022 BASIS Sustainable Sport Awards. 

He has also worked at two Olympics, four Commonwealth Games and one Asian Games in different roles including Communications Manager, Chief Reporter and Website Editor.

Chris is a passionate follower of grass roots football in Devon, supporting his son’s U11 team, whilst regularly attending senior men’s games at Bovey Tracey FC and Buckland FC.