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Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Friday, 29 October 2010 18:17 UK

England and Blackburn winger Ronnie Clayton dies

Ronnie Clayton
Clayton made 581 appearances for Blackburn Rovers

Former Blackburn Rovers and England footballer Ronnie Clayton has died at the age of 76.

Preston-born Clayton's career at Blackburn spanned two decades and he made 35 appearances for England, many as skipper.

Blackburn were Clayton's only club side and chairman John Williams told their website: "No-one had a bad word for Ronnie and he will be sadly missed."

The club will pay its respects before Saturday's home game against Chelsea.

Described as an outstanding wing half, Clayton was rated as one of the best England players of his generation.

"Ronnie was not only a wonderful servant and ambassador for the club, he was also one of the most popular men ever to be associated with Rovers, " added Williams.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to his dear wife Val and all his family at this saddest of times," he added.

A former team-mate of Ronnie Clayton, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan paid tribute to Clayton, describing him as "Blackburn and England through-and-through".

"It's such a shock and such a sad loss for Blackburn and the sporting world," Whelan told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"He was the nicest man you could ever meet and to play behind him was a great privilege. He was the fittest person I have ever played with or seen in the whole of my life.

"When we used to train every day, Ron and myself used to run from our training ground, which was two miles away from Ewood Park. We used to run and race each other back to the stadium and I could never beat him."

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John Connelly had a four-year spell with Blackburn during which time Clayton was captain.

They also played opposite each other during Connelly's time with Burnley.

"I always count myself lucky to have played with the likes on Ronnie Clayton. He was not only good on the pitch but he was also a gentleman off the pitch.

"There's not many that go through their career with one club.

"I'd have liked to have known his feelings on the modern game because it's all changed completely from our era."



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see also
Blackburn 1-2 Chelsea
30 Oct 10 |  Premier League


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