Sheffield United mourn legend Alan Hodgkinson

Alan Hodgkinson in action for the Blades.
Alan Hodgkinson in action for the Blades.
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Sheffield United were in mourning on Tuesday following the passing of club legend Alan Hodgkinson.

The former England international goalkeeper, 79, played 674 games for United and was an automatic choice in the Fifties and Sixties.

Awarded the MBE in 2008 for his services to the game, he joined the Blades in August 1953 from Worksop Town, following a trial, for £250.

He went to become a Blades legend - “one of our greatest ever players” - and after hanging up his gloves, became one of the first specialist goalkeeper coaches.

“Sheffield United today mourn the loss of one of our greatest ever players with Alan Hodgkinson passing to a higher league after illness,” a Blades statement read.

“‘Hodgy’ is, without doubt, one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced our Club in its long history.

‘Hodgy’ is, without doubt, one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced our Club in its long history.

Sheffield United

“Born at Laughton Common on the outskirts of Sheffield in August 1936, he was signed from Worksop Town for the sum of £250 after a trial in 1953.

“He made his Football League debut aged 18 and also played for England, firstly in the U23s and then going on to the senior squad, taking his bow at Wembley against Scotland. When he played for his country he was never on the losing side.

“At Bramall Lane, the defence he controlled is rightly regarded as one of United’s best. A generation and beyond was weaned on Hodgkinson, Coldwell, Shaw, Shaw, Richardson and Summers, they were superb together and an automatic selection between 1957 and 1963.

“674 competitive games for the Club shows his quality, Alan stands second only to Joe Shaw in our history in terms of league games and his tenure saw him bridge the eras of Hagan, Ringstead and Brook to that of Currie, Badger and Woodward.

“After retiring as a player he coached for the Club, often taking charge of the reserves, before taking up the role of assistant manager at Gillingham with former colleague Gerry Summers.

“Alan was one of the first specialist goalkeeper coaches when he left the Gills, making a home in the Midlands, he would strike out and give his services to different clubs well into his latter years. Famously he recommended Peter Schmeichel to Manchester United.

“In January 2008 he was awarded the MBE for his services, and never was an award more richly deserved or proudly received.

“In recent years he has been a regular in the Directors’ Box at Bramall Lane with his wife Brenda, cheering on his team as a fan, something that wherever he was and whatever he was doing never changed. He loved the Club. He loved Bramall Lane.

“Sincere condolences from everyone at Bramall Lane will be passed to his wife, Brenda, and the remainder of the Hodgkinson family, whilst tributes will be discussed at a suitable time.”