Prestonians today paid tribute to a football legend who lost his long battle with illness.
Tony Hateley, a former Liverpool, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Notts County striker, spent his final years in Howick Park Close in Penwortham.
And the highly-respected member of Parkfield Labour Club, Fulshaw Road, Ashton, will be missed by many after passing away aged 72.
Club concert secretary Ralph Gardner said: “I used to drink with Tony at the Labour Club; he was very well liked.
“We knew he had been ill and struggling with Alzheimer’s but it was still a shock to most people at the club.”
After retiring from football Hateley became a representative for Thwaites Brewery.
Ralph added: “He popped in a few times representing the brewery and after a while he started representing the club and eventually he became a part of the furniture.
“He didn’t have an ego, he was one of the lads, his wife dropped him off on the way to dancing and he played snooker at the club.”
The prolific goalscorer netted 211 league goals for eight clubs in a 16 year career.
In an interview with the LEP in 2009 he spoke of his international heartbreak. Hateley was included in Sir Alf Ramsey’s England squad for the 1966 World Cup – but he had to withdraw from contention. He said: “I was having a great season with Villa, banging goals in every week, and then I suffered a serious injury.
“I had to have an emergency operation and I never did play for England.”
Lancashire County Coun Carl Crompton met Hateley at the Labour Club and paid tribute to him.
He said: “He was a great bloke, very polite and always nice. I’m very sad at his passing.”
Chelsea boss Tommy Docherty paid a club record fee £100,000 in 1966 to seal his services before Sir Bill Shankly paid £96,000 to take him to Liverpool in 67. Hateley said in 2009: “I enjoyed my football and I lived for scoring goals – that was it.
“I can’t explain how I scored as many as I did, when better players than me didn’t.
“I didn’t have as much talent as some, but I had the knack of knocking the goals in, and that’s a different talent.”
Hateley leaves behind wife Yvonne and son Mark, who played for Glasgow Rangers, AC Milan and earned 32 England caps.
His grandson Tom is also a professional footballer who plays for Polish side Slask Wrocław.
Tom paid his respects on Twitter. He said: “Very sad to hear my dadda Tony passed away today.”
The football world has reacted with sadness at his death, with former England star Gary Lineker leading the tributes.
Lineker said: “Sorry to hear of the death of Tony Hateley. Played with his son, Mark for England, met Tony. A wonderful football family. #RIP.”
Ian St John partnered Hateley up front when he scored 27 goals in his only season for the Reds.
St John said: “Tony was by far the best header of the ball in all the clubs from that era, he was a great golfer and we enjoyed many a game, we will miss him very much such a great guy.”
Stewardess of the Parkfield Laura Trigg added: “He came in every Tuesday and Thursday night, he was one of the lads and such a nice man.”