Former Walsall captain and Wolves player Bill ‘Chopper’ Guttridge has died aged 82.
The father-of-two died on Saturday at Walsall Manor Hospital, as the Banks’s Stadium club marked its 125th anniversary. He had been suffering ill health for several years.
The grandfather-of-four had Parkinson’s Disease and had bouts of pneumonia.
Mr Guttridge captained Walsall to successive promotions after joining from Wolves in 1954.
He leaves daughters Christine, 58, who lives in Bloxwich, and Karen, 47, from Great Wyrley. Mr Guttridge was widowed in 2008 when Margaret, his wife of 53 years, died of a heart attack at the age of 75.
Grandson Elliot, aged nine, and Lucas, who is eight, play football for the academies at Wolves and Walsall respectively.
Bill was about to move to Swan House residential home in Short Heath before he passed away on his great-grandson Alfie Meath’s first birthday.
Daughter Karen Tibbs today paid tribute to her father. She said: “I remember him as a high-spirited, determined man.
“He always pushed all the family to enjoy life and we all have, to the full.
“He was a massive inspiration and he is a massive loss. We have some fabulous memories of holidays and took dad to Spain in the last couple of years.”
Darlaston-born Mr Guttridge, who played as a left-back, worked and played for Metroshaft Works before joining Wolves as an amateur in 1947. Turning professional in 1948, he spent six years at Molineux, making seven first-team appearances.
He moved to Walsall in 1954 and became a huge hit, captaining the team to successive promotions as the Saddlers climbed from Division Four to Division Two between 1959 and 1961.
After making 210 appearances for the Saddlers, a cartilage injury forced his retirement at the age of 31 in 1962 but he remained in football, coaching youngsters at Walsall in a total of 13 years at Fellows Park before later managing Darlaston and Macclesfield.
Following his retirement from football, Bill worked for Service Work Appliances in Darlaston for 30 years as a shop steward in the washing machine paint spraying department.