Bolton Wanderers legend Roy Hartle sadly passed away last night, aged 83, after a long battle with illness.
The former Wanderers defender died peacefully surrounded by his family in a local nursing home.
Trotters manager Neil Lennon led the tributes to the club stalwart, who was a key part of the team when they won the 1958 FA Cup.
“I never got to meet Roy unfortunately, but I am certainly aware of his contributions to this football club,” said Lennon.
“First and foremost I’d like to pass our condolences to his family on behalf of the players and staff at Bolton Wanderers.
“The word ‘legend’ gets bandied about quite often these days, but I think it is very fitting for Roy.
“For someone to spend all of their career at one club and play nearly 500 games is very rare these days. His contributions to the club were no doubt huge and I’m sure he’ll be missed.”
The defender joined Wanderers as a 16-year-old from non-league Bromsgrove Rovers and went on to represent the club in 499 games in all competitions.
He was a fixture in the 1958 FA Cup-winning side, playing in the team that beat Manchester United 2–0.
Hartle’s exceptional career at the club, which lasted 14 years as a professional, was recognised with his entry into the club’s Hall of Fame.
He also had a suite at the club’s Macron Stadium home named in his honour and until recently regularly attended the club’s home games.
A statement on the club website added: “Our thoughts are with Roy’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
A fan campaign is already underway on Twitter to honour Hartle with a 58th-minute standing ovation during Friday’s game, with the club planning a tribute for the Huddersfield game on November 29.
Image courtesy of British Pathe, via YouTube, with thanks.