He will replace the outgoing Major General “Mitch” Mitchell MBE who has been in post for six years and served as a Trustee for over a decade.
A passionate football player, coach and fan with a deep-rooted love of The Soldiers' Game Niall has been Involved at grass roots level as a Youth Coach in the civilian world in addition to operating as the Chairman, then President of ROYAL SIGNALS football since 2012. He has been an Army FA Trustee for the Men's Representative sides and Chairman of the Massey League since 2015. As a player he played at regimental level from 1992 through to 2013 and for the Army Crusaders from 1996 – 2006 and also represented the Pentagon and British Embassy while serving in the USA between 2006-08.
Upon his appointment as the 46th Chairman of the association, formed in 1888, Brigadier Stokoe said,
'I would like to first thank General Mitch for his incredible work in leading Football in the Army these last six years. Under him, the game has thrived, with player participation at an all-time high and increasing levels of referee and coaching excellence across the board. We as a Committee have professionalised too and it has all been down to his passion for the Soldiers' game and desire to the best for all who enjoy this fantastic sport. Thank you for leaving such big boots for me to fill!'
“I am delighted to accept the position of Chairman. I see the role as the opportunity to continue to give back, to reinforce the principles of good governance and sound organisation the Army FA currently enjoys.
“To act as an Ambassador for the Soldiers' Game and use my experience and footballing network for the good of the sport in the Army and to ensure its continued wide participation as well as its place as an exemplar County within the Football Association.
“I recognise and relish those aspects of the role that will see me engage 'up and out', seeking opportunities with a variety of external stakeholders as well as creating the space and freedoms for the Army FA office and its Trustees to carry out their roles in the delivery of the game for all to enjoy.
It is the Soldiers' Game and to be its Chairman is a singular honour.”
Outgoing Chairman General Mitch leaves the Army in August. He added,
“I am delighted we have secured Brigadier Niall to be the next Chairman. The Soldiers’ Game deserves a Chairman who is a great people person; who can help secure the funding we need to raise the standards across the whole game and in every format; who is prepared to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into running the game every week; who has a vision for where football needs to be in the future; and who is a passionate football fan themselves. Niall is that Chairman. I simply could not be handing over to a better football leader and football fan, although I do worry about his football taste: he is a Spurs fan!
I am incredibly sad to leave. It has been a huge privilege and great pleasure to have been the Chairman of the Soldiers’ Game. I have many people to thank for their support and hard work but I will only pick out one group – our volunteers- who run the game at all levels. You are the lifeblood of football across the Army. Thank you.”