Bricket Wood’s Spurs legend Ralph Coates dies

FORMER Spurs and Burnley footballer Ralph Coates, who lived in Bricket Wood, died last week aged 64 after suffering a stroke.

A native of the North East, he made his name playing for Burnley before being transferred to Spurs in 1971. He played four times for England and after retiring he managed local authority sports centres in Herts.

Anthony Rowlands, joint-convenor of the St Albans Clarets, played tribute to the player: “For Burnley in the late 1960s, Ralph Coates was the outstanding player in a talented squad: fleet-footed, skilful, tenacious and irrepressible.

“He would scurry around the pitch covering every blade of grass with his trademark steadily thinning hair trailing in the wind. It was always known and feared that he would move to a club with greater resources and that happened in the summer of 1971 when he headed for Spurs for the then staggering fee of �190,000.”

Anthony said that a year later a chapter in Hunter Davies’ classic account of a season at a major football club The Glory Game was devoted to his early experiences in London.

He added: “I had the privilege of meeting him briefly a couple of years ago. He was curious to learn about the motley band of Burnley obsessives in and around St Albans.

“Ralph Coates provided fans of both Burnley and Spurs with so many moments to treasure and his unaffected modesty and decency earned him continuing respect and admiration.”