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Stars and fans pay tribute to Ray Barlow

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than 100 relatives, friends, former players and fans packed into Stourbridge Crematorium to pay their final respects to West Bromwich Albion legend Ray Barlow.

More than 100 relatives, friends, former players and fans packed into Stourbridge Crematorium to pay their final respects to West Bromwich Albion legend Ray Barlow.

Mourners, some wearing Baggies shirts and scarves, flocked to the funeral to hear tributes to "class act" Barlow.

Hawthorns old-boys John Wile, Ally Robertson, Brendon Batson and Ray Wilson joined Barlow's former team-mate Ken Hodgkisson at the service as the late half-back's three children paid personal tributes yesterday.

Click on the image on the right to see more pictures.

Legal secretary Richard Garlick represented the current Albion board with the turnout so great that some mourners stood at the back of the chapel while others listened from the entrance hall.

And Barlow's son Chris told them the family had been touched by the many tributes paid since his father died a fortnight ago at the age of 85.

In a speech about his father which was greeted with a standing ovation, Chris Barlow said: "I never had the pleasure of seeing him play.

"He retired before I was born, but we have heard so many nice things said by the likes of Bobby Robson and Bobby Moore and if they thought he was one of the best players they ever saw, that says it all.

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"What has given me most pleasure is to hear how well-liked he was, not only by those who knew him well but also by those who never met him.

"Dad had so much he could have been conceited or arrogant about but he never was.

"I'm pretty sure he knew what a great player he had been but he left it for others to say that.

"Dad didn't only have class on the field, he had it off the field as well." Barlow's youngest daughter, Tonia, spoke of the family's pride at taking part in a minute's applause at The Hawthorns on Sunday before Albion's Premier League meeting with Newcastle.

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She said: "The programme had a headline 'The Great Ray Barlow'. Dad was great, but for many more reasons than his football skills."

And his oldest daughter, Lesley, paid tribute to both her father and her late mother Beryl.

She said: "He and Mum were both exceptional people and unique parents and I know I speak for Chris and Tonia when I say how very proud I am to be their daughter."

Lifelong Baggies fan Colin Lloyd, aged 71, of West Bromwich, attending the service wearing a replica shirt from Barlow's most famous game, the 1954 FA Cup Final victory over Preston.

He said: "I watched Ray play many times and my favourite memory of him is scoring the last goal scored by an Albion player on Christmas Day.

"He did it against Newcastle in a 1-0 win. And of course I remember the cup final in 1954."

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