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Tributes paid to former Wanderer Ernie Phythian who has died aged 78

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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Tributes have been paid to Farnworth-born footballer Ernie Phythian who has died aged 78.

The talented striker began his career with Bolton Wanderers, before going on to play for Wrexham and Hartlepool United where he played under legendary manager Brian Clough.

In total he made over 250 appearances in the Football League, scoring nearly 100 goals before moving to South Africa to play with Southern Suburbs.

Ernie was also a talented cricketer and represented North of England Schools as well as playing for various teams in the Bolton area starting with Farnworth Social Circle.

Ernie’s family confirmed that he passed away in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 3.

Born in Farnworth in July 1942, Ernie was related to ex-Bolton player Jimmy Seddon and Football League referee Ken Seddon.

He attended school in Bolton and captained Farnworth Schoolboys, along with playing for Lancashire Schoolboys, before signing amateur forms with Bolton Wanderers as a 15-year-old, while working as an apprentice toolmaker.

He made his Football League debut in early 1960, aged just 17 and went on to make 10 appearances for Bolton before switching to Wrexham where he became a regular racking up 161 appearances and netting 48 goals.

In 1965, he joined Hartlepool United where he stayed until 1968, playing over 120 games and scoring 51 goals.

Paying tribute, Ernie’s daughter Jane Wish, said: “Dad was a brilliant sportsman who excelled in any sport he tried.

“As a youngster he had to choose between professional cricket or soccer and soccer it was.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be known as Ernie’s daughter. Wherever we went he knew someone and would always be chatting and making people happy.”

A spokesperson for Ernie’s hometown club, said: “Bolton Wanderers Football Club is saddened to learn of the passing of our former player Ernie Phythian. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

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