A goalkeeper who served between the sticks during Accrington Stanley’s ‘halcyon days’ has died, aged 84.
Tributes have been paid to William White, of Barnfold Cottage, Oswaldtwistle who was Stanley’s number one keeper during several of their successful 1950s campaigns, in which they almost reached promotion to Division Two.
The “phenomenal” goalkeeper was signed from Motherwell in 1954 and went on to play for Derby County and Mansfield Town - where his career was cut short through injury.
The club will hold a minute’s silence to remember William, who died after suffering a heart attack on September 21, before their clash against Oxford on Saturday, October 3.
Son Paul Hillam, 55, said that William fondly remembered his time with Stanley and he was a season ticket holder at the club.
He said: “He came down in the 50s after being signed from Motherwell.
“As well as playing for Stanley he also worked in Huncoat pit, as the wages for footballers were not what they are today.
“His career was cut short at Mansfield as he was also working down a pit there and it collapsed and his back was broken.
“Saying that I remember going to the park with him when I was 14 and having a game and I still couldn’t put anything past him.
“He was phenomenal in goal.”
Paul said that his dad ‘loved to socialise’ and was well liked.
He said: “He had a lot of friends and the support we have had since his passing has been overwhelming.
“The minute’s silence at Stanley is a really nice tribute.”
Fellow Scot Joe Devlin, 84, of Manchester Road, Accrington was signed the season before William and paid tribute to a ‘brave goalkeeper and lovely man’.
The former left winger said: “I knew him very well, I played alongside him and worked alongside him in Huncoat pit.
“He was a brave and very skilled goalkeeper and a very funny, lovely man.”
Peter Marsden, Accrington Stanley chairman, added: “He played an important role in the halcyon days of Stanley.
“The greatest tribute that we can pay to him is to try and get the club back to the heights of those days, which we are gradually doing under John Coleman.”