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Emlyn Hughes has died


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Emlyn Hughes was a football and human inspiration to a generation of English youngsters growing up with the game. Emlyn "Crazy Horse" was one of the greatest and most passionate leaders the sport will ever know. He should get special recognition for FIFA as it is individuals such as this that help put the sport on a truly different level.

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BBC Sport Obituary for Emlyn Hughes:

Obituary: Emlyn Hughes

By John May

Reaction and tributes

Emlyn Hughes will be remembered as somebody who did everything to the maximum.

Whether it was as a swashbuckling footballer whose style earned him the nickname Crazy Horse, or as a television quiz show captain who rubbed shoulders with royalty, Emlyn Hughes never did things by half.

He made his name at Liverpool, making 665 appearances between 1967 and 1979, and helping establish the club as the top team in Europe, leading the side to its first European Cup.

He went on to win 62 England caps and was awarded the OBE for services to football before he left the sport for his second career, in television.

Emlyn Hughes was born in Barrow in August 1947, into a sporting family.

His father Fred played rugby league for Great Britain, as did his uncle and brother, while one of his aunts was a hockey international.

He signed for Blackpool as a teenager, but his all-action style soon brought him to the attention of Liverpool boss Bill Shankly.

The astute Shankly saw enough in Hughes to splash out the then huge sum of £65,000 for a 19-year-old who had made just 29 appearances for the Tangerines, describing him as "a future England captain".

Hughes was an archetypal Shankly player, matching skill with boundless reserves of drive, enthusiasm and battling qualities.


2 European Cups

2 Uefa Cups

4 League Championships

1 FA Cup

1 League Cup

1 European Super Cup

The versatile Hughes could slot in anywhere along the back line, or take his combative, all-action style into midfield.

Wherever he played, Hughes' performances were characterised by powerful, surging runs which earned him his nickname.

Having built his team around Hughes, Shankly handed the legacy on to successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.

Hughes was the body and spirit of the all-conquering Liverpool side of the mid to late 1970s, and his reputation grew as his and Liverpool's trophy cabinets bulged.

He replaced Tommy Smith as skipper in 1973 and moved from full-back to the centre of defence to partner Phil Thompson.

Four years later, he became the first Liverpool captain to get his hands on the European Cup when he lifted the trophy in Rome after the 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Hughes was known for his infectious grin

He took possession of the trophy again a year later following the 1-0 win over Bruges at Wembley, and he also led Liverpool to the European Super Cup.

Hughes was also able to boast five League Championship medals, two Uefa Cup winnners medals, and an FA Cup winner's gong.

Inevitably, the qualities that made him a success at Liverpool were coveted by a similarly driven man, England boss Sir Alf Ramsay.

Hughes won the first of his 62 England caps against Holland in 1969 - going on to captain his country 23 times - but his career co-incided with one of the leanest spells in the international side's fortunes and he never appeared in a World Cup.

After making 665 first-team appearances for Liverpool, Hughes extended his career when he joined Wolves in 1979 for £79,000.

Hughes' leadership qualities were still intact, and he led Wolves to a League Cup triumph in 1980, filling the gap in his trophy cabinet with the only domestic honour he had never captured at Liverpool.


62 England Caps

Captained England 23 times

1st cap v Holland 1969

He was awarded an OBE in 1980 for his services to football and after his playing days ended following spells at Hull, Mansfield and Swansea, he tried his hand at management.

Like many great players, he was unable to transfer his success to the board room, and he lasted 20 months as manager of Rotherham United.

After his dabble with management, he carved out a career for himself in the media, where his face became known to non-football fans as the cheeky, long-serving captain on BBC TV's A Question of Sport, appearing opposite fellow skipper, rugby star Bill Beaumont, from 1984 to 1987.

Hughes' wide grin and infectious laugh became one of the show's trademarks and he propelled the show into national notoriety when he put his arm round the shoulder of team member Princess Anne when she appeared on the show.

It was typical of Hughes, who would not let protocol be a barrier to what he percieved to be an act of team bonding.

After leaving A Question of Sport, Hughes continued to be one of the most eagerly sought after-dinner speakers, and was also in demand as a motivational speaker.

He was diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2003 and underwent surgery during his 15-month fight against the disease.

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The tributes to Emlyn Hughes from the soccer world are starting to pour in:

Football pays tribute to Hughes

They called him Crazy Horse and that's exactly what he was

Terry McDermott

Friends and former Liverpool players have paid tribute to Emlyn Hughes, who has died from a brain tumour aged 57.

Former Reds captain and manager Graeme Souness told BBC Radio Five Live: "He was an absolute legend. When I went to Liverpool he was the main man.

"He was a wonderful player and a fantastic example to everyone. He was the best person to learn from and a larger than life character.

"Football will definitely miss him - he was a legend."

Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence said: "We still have the old boys' association, we still have that closeness.

"It's a very sad day, one of the greats of a great Liverpool side is no longer with us.

Phil Neal told BBC Radio Five Live Hughes was an inspirational figure in the club's success in the 1970s and 80s.

"His character rubbed off on us all. I came in as an inexperienced player and he was so effervescent," he said.

"He used to drive me on a Friday to meet up with the team bus for an away game and he would convince me we would win 2-0 - just like Shankly would have done. He never dreamt of losing any game."

He had a face that filled with joy when he played and won for Liverpool Football Club. God how we loved him for it. Still do. Always will

From Graham

Have your say on 606

Former Reds midfielder Terry McDermott remembers Hughes as a "bundle of joy".

"He absolutely adored playing football. He would just give 110%," he said.

"They called him Crazy Horse and that's exactly what he was. He never stopped, he was up and down the pitch, cajoling everyone. He'll not be forgotten."

John Toshack, who made his name as a Liverpool striker in the 1970s, told BBC Radio Five Live that Hughes would have played an outstanding role in any dressing room.

"I have been in management for 25 years and all over Europe. I would have been very pleased to have had Emlyn in any of my squads.

"In our Liverpool days, if you were feeling low on confidence, you needed a player like him in your side. The bigger the game, the better he was."

BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson said Hughes, who captained England 23 times and won two European Cups and four league titles with Liverpool, was one of the sport's true greats.

He said: "He was a really great player, quite obviously, because otherwise you wouldn't win so many caps for England.

"He was also larger than life - a fantastic person to go to the races with because he knew everyone."

John Barnwell, who brought Hughes to Wolves in 1979, said: "The greatest thing Emlyn had was enthusiasm.

"He would make a cup of tea better than anyone, he could play snooker better than anyone, his opinion was always better than yours - that was the character of Emlyn.

"We made him captain and he said it was one of his proudest moments, to lift the League Cup for Wolves."

Liverpool Football Club, who will hold a minute's silence in honour of Hughes before the Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough at Anfield on Wednesday, paid their tribute in a statement on their website.

He had an infectious laugh, wasn't afraid to laugh at himself and was a great team man

Bill Beaumont

"Those lucky enough to see him play will recall his boundless enthusiasm, 100% commitment and unrelenting passion for the club whenever he had the Liver Bird close to his chest.

"Signed in 1967 by Bill Shankly, he was to be one of the most inspirational signings this club ever made."

Chief executive Rick Parry said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to wife Barbara, children Emma and Emlyn junior, and the rest of the family at this sad time."

Hughes, who also played for Rotherham, Blackpool, Hull, Mansfield and Swansea, went on to make his mark in television as a captain on the BBC's A Question of Sport quiz show.

His rival captain Bill Beaumont, the former England rugby union captain, said: "He had an infectious laugh, wasn't afraid to laugh at himself and was a great team man."

And football fans have been paying their tributes to Hughes on the 606 message boards.

Graham McCann spoke for all Liverpool and Wolves fans when he said: "In infants school, I got my mum to sew a number six on the back of my tiny red footie shirt.

"You didn't need to pay for the name in those days. Everyone knew whose shirt it was meant to be."

But Hughes was not just popular with Liverpool and Wolves fans, as one un-named fan highlighted:

The fan said: "Not just a loss to Liverpool, or even England, but a great loss to football.

"One of those players who everyone admired, one of those few people on TV who everyone enjoyed."

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