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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Everton legend Labone dies at 66
Everton legend Brian Labone
Labone is recognised as one of Everton's greatest players
Former Everton captain Brian Labone has died at the age of 66 after collapsing outside his Merseyside home.

Labone joined Everton at 17, making 534 appearances for the Toffees in a career in which he was only booked twice.

Rated as one of the best central defenders of his era, Labone won two Championship titles and an FA Cup winner's medal with Everton.

He also earned 26 caps for England, playing in three of England's four matches at the 1970 Word Cup in Mexico.

Labone joined Everton as a teenager in preference to going to university and, although he was initially part of England's 1966 World Cup squad, he withdrew because of his impending marriage.

His playing career was ended during the 1970-71 season because of an Achilles tendon injury but he remained with Everton, working for the club in a commercial capacity.

Former Everton player and manager Howard Kendall was a team-mate of Labone's for seven years at Goodison Park, playing alongside him in the Toffees' 1969-70 Championship-winning side.

Kendall told BBC Radio Five Live: "He was a great player and a great leader.

In the pantheon of Everton greats, Brian Labone is right up there with the very best
Everton director of communications Ian Ross

"He didn't shout his way through the team, he led by example and his performances on the pitch were tremendous.

"He was an outstanding player and a gentleman, it's a tragic loss."

Everton's director of communication Ian Ross revealed: "Everyone at the club is devastated.

"In the pantheon of Everton greats, Brian Labone is right up there with the very best.

"He was one of the club's favourite sons and a hugely respected figure.

"He was regarded as a professional's professional before that term was ever used.

"But not only was he a great footballer, he was also a lovely bloke. He still worked at the club as an ambassador on match days, showing guests around the stadium.

"He loved to do that because it meant he was still dealing with Evertonians."

Everton manager David Moyes revealed his appreciation for the backing Labone had given him since succeeding Walter Smith as manager.

Moyes told Everton's website: "He always had a good word of support for myself and the team whenever I was in his company.

"I was shocked to hear he had passed away and my sympathies go out to all his family and friends."


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