Crewe Alexandra devastated by loss of John Fleet
Crewe Alexandra are in mourning after the sudden loss of their long-serving kitman John Fleet after more than 50 years' association with the club.
Fleet died, following a stroke, just three days after the end of the season.
"We are all devastated," said Alex defender Adam Dugdale before Fleet's funeral on Monday.
"We can't believe he not with us. It won't sink in until we return for pre-season training when he won't be in his room," Dugdale told BBC Radio Stoke.
Crewe afforded the honour of closing their club on Monday, to allow players and staff to attend the popular backroom man's funeral.
Crewe-born Fleet first started work helping to run the club's youth system back in 1979, since when all their star products, the likes of David Platt, Geoff Thomas, Rob Jones, Craig Hignett, Robbie Savage, Neil Lennon and Danny Murphy have passed through his hands.
And, having served his home town club as ball boy, part-time player and then youth coach, he had spent the last 31 years with the Alex as kitman.
BBC Radio Stoke sports editor Graham McGarry paid his own personal tribute:
"Corridors inside the Alexandra Stadium and down at the Reaseheath training ground will never be the same following the sudden death of John Fleet.
"John was someone that I was extremely proud to have known.
"He was a person who just went out of his way to ensure that everybody else had everything they needed.
"Fleety loved every minute that he had with the Alex players, dating back from the 1970s, right up until the coach pulled into Gresty Road when they arrived back home from the 5-1 win at Bradford on the final day of last season.
"He loved his sport, he was a fountain of knowledge, especially when it came to motorbikes, cricket, and of course football.
"God bless you Fleety. The team coach on away journeys will never be the same.
"But the friendship I had with you over the many years we spent together will remain with me for ever."