Former England striker Roger Hunt dies aged 83

Roger Hunt
Roger Hunt played in every game of England’s 1966 World Cup win

Former Liverpool and England striker Roger Hunt has died at the age of 83.

Known as ‘Sir Roger’ to Liverpool fans, Hunt was part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning side and is the club’s record league scorer with 244 goals.

The forward won 34 England caps, scoring 18 international goals after making his debut in 1962 when Liverpool were in English football’s second tier.

Hunt played in every game of the 1966 World Cup and scored three times to help England out of their group.

«Roger Hunt comes second to no-one in his importance in the history of Liverpool FC, that much is clear,» said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool players will wear black armbands in their Champions League group game against Porto In Portugal on Tuesday.

Born in Golborne, Cheshire, on 20 July 1938, Hunt signed for Liverpool in 1958 and made his 492nd and final appearance for the club in 1969, by which time fans had christened him ‘Sir Roger’.

Under legendary manager Bill Shankly he helped the club out of the Second Division in 1962 by scoring 41 goals in as many games.

Liverpool then won the First Division in 1964 and 1966 either side of a first FA Cup win in 1965.

While it is his 11 years with Liverpool for which he is best known, Hunt also had a successful three seasons with Bolton Wanderers after leaving Anfield in 1969.

Klopp added: «To be the goalscoring catalyst of the Shankly team to achieve promotion then win those precious league titles and the FA Cup puts him in a bracket of LFC legends who are responsible for making us the club we are today. Not only that, he was also a World Cup winner in 1966, too.

«I am told the Kop christened him ‘Sir Roger’ for all his achievements. A goalscorer who never stopped working to help his team-mates; I believe he would have fitted well within our current team.

«So, it is Sir Roger we will remember, honour and pay tribute to over the coming days.»

Jimmy Greaves, who played alongside Hunt in the group games of the 1966 World Cup before picking up an injury, died aged 81 earlier this month.

Hunt’s death comes six months after that of his long-time Liverpool strike partner Ian St John, aged 82.

A Liverpool statement said Hunt «passed away peacefully at home following a long illness», adding: «The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool Football Club are with Roger’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.»

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said England would pay tribute to Hunt when they face Hungary at Wembley in October.

Bullingham added that «English football has lost another great», saying Hunt «will always be treasured by fans across the country».

‘Among the finest of his generation’ – analysis

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer

Roger Hunt was often labelled the workhorse of England’s World Cup-winning team in 1966, but this criminally under-rates a striker who was easily among the finest of his generation and one of Liverpool’s greatest players.

Hunt, whose gentlemanly approach to the game and modest demeanour saw him dubbed ‘Sir Roger’ by Liverpool’s supporters, was the spearhead of Bill Shankly’s great Liverpool rebuild that led to two league titles as well as the FA Cup in 1965, when the striker scored in the 2-1 win over Leeds United at Wembley.

He scored 285 goals in 492 Liverpool appearances to lie second only to Ian Rush in the club’s overall scoring record.

The greatest moment of his international career clearly came in the 1966 World Cup. He figured in every England game, scoring twice in the group match against France and also against Mexico, before playing in the 4-2 win over West Germany in the final.

Football pays tribute to a legend

Former Liverpool forward Sir Kenny Dalglish said: «Those of us who followed you and Shanks’s men were fortunate to stand on the shoulders of giants. Thank you for everything you have done for our Football Club. YNWA.»

Liverpool’s record goalscorer Ian Rush said: «Very sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Hunt, someone I would always look up to. He was a fantastic goal scorer and a true gentleman on and off the pitch.»

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said: «RIP Sir Roger Hunt, one of the greatest goalscorers our club has ever seen. Sir Roger along with the other legends from the 60s made LFC the club it is today.»

Ex-Liverpool striker John Aldridge said: «I’m absolutely gutted to hear of the passing away of one, if not the best LFC strikers Sir Roger Hunt. What a striker and a true gentlemen, I had the great pleasure of being with him on many occasions.»

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby made reference to St John, saying: «Take care of Sir Roger for us Saint. RIP Roger Hunt.»

Ex-Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson said: «Another Top Player/Gentleman has left us today..Hopefully Roger & the Saint are renewing their Brilliant Partnership wherever they may be….Love to the Hunt family…We feel your pain.»

Ex-Liverpool defender and assistant manager Phil Thompson said: «What an awful day, the passing of my true hero who I’m glad to say became a friend. A humble man and a legend of the game. RIP Sir Roger.»

Former Everton and England midfielder Peter Reid said: «A star and a wonderful player who helped me as a young apprentice. A World Cup winner who had time and encouragement to all young players back in the day. RIP.»

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