Lancashire

Funeral for Blackburn Rovers legend Ronnie Clayton

Mourners gathered at Blackburn Cathedral to pay their last respects to the Rovers legend Ronnie Clayton.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce, fans and a host of ex-players attended the service of thanksgiving earlier. It was followed by a private family service.

The 76-year-old former right half, who was born in Preston, died in Royal Blackburn Hospital last week.

Clayton's career spanned more than 600 games for Rovers and 35 appearances for England, including many as captain.

Ahead of the service the cortege passed Ewood Park, where fans left messages and tributes.

Mourners lined the street outside the cathedral and broke into spontaneous applause as the cars arrived for the service.

'Fiercely loyal'

Among those paying tribute was former Rovers player, now chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), Gordon Taylor.

Image caption Ronnie Clayton was captain of England

"He was just a tremendous human being as well as being a great player," he told the BBC.

"When I came to Blackburn in the 1970s he'd finished but he was still around and he had a welcoming word for everybody.

"You still felt he was the captain of that team, he was fiercely loyal to Blackburn.

"He was to Blackburn what Matthews is to Blackpool - and Jimmy Armfield - and Lofthouse to Bolton and Sir Tom Finney to Preston.

"We've been very fortunate in Lancashire to have such great players and great teams in what was a tremendous era."

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