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Albion in mourning for legend Ray Barlow

Sport | Published:

Albion were in mourning today following the death of Hawthorns legend Ray Barlow at the age of 85.

Albion were in mourning today following the death of Hawthorns legend Ray Barlow at the age of 85.

The 1954 FA Cup-winner, who is regarded as one of the Baggies' finest ever players, died last night after a long illness.

The Swindon-born half-back was the last surviving member of the team that beat Preston 3-2 at Wembley in 1954 to win the FA Cup.

He made 482 appearances for the Baggies and scored 48 goals in 16 years at The Hawthorns. He won one England cap.

A Baggies statement today read: "The great Ray Barlow stands at the pinnacle of the club's story, one of a handful of truly world-class footballers that Albion have produced over 130 years and more of existence."

Barlow joined the Baggies as a teenager and made his debut in 1944, just two days after his 18th birthday. He went on to become the creative lynchpin of one of the club's greatest-ever teams in the 1950s.

After leaving The Hawthorns he also played for Birmingham and once retired he ran a tobacconist and sweet shop in West Bromwich.

He later ran a post office in Stourbridge and continued to live in the town until being struck down by ill health in recent years.

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The club said: "There have been few passers of the ball to rank with him, not just at The Hawthorns, but in the game of football.

"No less a judge than Bobby Robson called him one of the best players he ever worked with, and that was no empty compliment for Barlow lived up to the accolade time and again in his 482 games for the club.

"The pinnacle came in 1953/54 when Barlow was the heartbeat of 'The Team Of The Century' that missed becoming the first team to do the league and cup double in the 20th century by a whisker, coming second in the First Division."

And the tribute ended: "A quiet, retiring figure, Barlow shunned the limelight, perhaps accounting for the fact that he made just one England appearance, a scandalous statistic for a player of his incandescent brilliance. But England's loss was Albion's gain.

"Ray Barlow will forever be a cornerstone of the football club, one of its true legends, one of the foundations upon which Albion are built. We will never see his like again.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

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