Former England captain Clayton dies
Ronnie Clayton, the former Blackburn Rovers and England wing half has died today at the age of 76. Yes, Blackburn Rovers, and that means of course that I shouldn't like him and probably I didn't back in the 1960s when I saw him wearing a blue and white halved shirt. But he also played for my country on 35 occasions and was also the England captain for a period.His league career was spent entirely at Ewood Park and he played no fewer than 579 league games for them at a time when our two clubs were rivals, and no more than that. No wonder the Blackburn web site today described him as one of their best known and most loved figures.They also said: "No one had a bad word for Ronnie," and that was certainly my recollection of him. I met him on a few occasions. I certainly didn't know him but on those occasions I found him to be a really nice, genuine bloke.The last time I saw him was, believe it or not, at Turf Moor just under a year ago when he attended a 'This is Your Life' evening for his old mate Jimmy McIlroy. Alan Beecroft organised that event and Alan told me tonight how saddened he was at today's news. Ronnie had gone out of his way to be there that night despite ill health.My thoughts, and those of everyone in football, should today be with Blackburn Rovers and more so with the family and friends of Ronnie Clayton, most notably his wife Val.I've just read that the game today has lost a great footballer and a great man. I think that rather sums up Ronnie Clayton.
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