Emlyn Hughes (28th August 1947 to 9th November 2004)

 

When I was a lad Emlyn was in my football sticker annuals for years and he was always dressed in red in some kind of action shot. He played for Liverpool 665 times and is one of the club's legends. There're two statues made in his honour - one of him being carried off a pitch by legendary manager Bob Paisley. While in South Yorkshire I had a frothy coffee in the car park of the crematorium where particles of him bellowed heavenward.

 

He was born in Barrow-in-Furness but moved south to play for Blackpool. The great Bill Shankly signed him for 65,000 in March 1967 and it was probably the best money he ever spent on a player. His new signing was possessed with a surfeit of speed, enthusiasm, energy and bravery. Moreover he was all these consistently for years. His nickname of "Crazy Horse" was justified. His years with Liverpool carved him into the club's history. He was 30 when he became Liverpool captain. The trophy cabinet was usually packed: four league titles, two UEFA cups, the FA Cup and the clubs first European Cup victory in 1977. He played for England 65 tiles (and later became captain.)

 

Aged 32 he left his beloved Liverpool and played for Wolves, Rotherham, Mansfield and Swansea. After his career ended he became a well-known ever-smiling face on television. He was decorated with the OBE for services to football and later was a surprised guest on This Is Your Life.

 

Aged 56 it was announced that he was suffering from a brain tumour. Though he underwent surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy nothing worked and he died at home in Sheffield aged 57 leaving a wife, son and daughter.

 

Here I am at the crematorium to which is final journey was made. His funeral service took place at Sheffield Cathedral but he was cremated at this rather bland building. There wasn't a single person there except a security guard who suddenly appeared. He began walking toward me though I didn't see him at first. I was too busy pointing and saluting for the camera. I said I wasn't a burglar and "take a photo of me if you want to" but he didn't and seemed more interested in a stream of text messages that beeped into his phone. I did a salute and left. Bye Emlyn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The statues...

 

 

BBC SPORT | Football | Photo Galleries | Photos of Emlyn Hughes' funeral