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Tributes to Wanderers academy coach who has died of cancer, aged 61

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Tributes have flooded in to a long-serving Bolton Wanderers academy coach, Tom Harrison, who has died of cancer, aged 61.

‘Tommy’ was 61 when he died on cancer last Monday at home surrounded by his family.

Since then, friends and former players he coached have paid tribute to him.

Close family friend Andrew Mylrea described Tommy as a very well-respected man who had a positive impact on everyone he met.

He said: “I managed to get hold of Josh (Vela) and Zach (Clough) to let them know that Tommy had passed away just to let them know but straight away they were asking how could they help.”

Josh Vela, a Bolton Wanderers academy graduate, paid tribute to Tommy on his Twitter page, posting a squad picture from an academy team coached by Tommy.

He said: “RIP to one of the good guys, who coached me at Bolton and taught me a lot, a very kind person and a person I had a lot of time for. Thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Another Wanderers academy product, Zach Clough, currently at Nottingham Forest, posted an academy squad picture from the 2004/05 season coached by Tommy. He tweeted: “RIP Tom Harrison you was a great coach and a lovely person.”

Mr Mylrea said: “I didn’t even have to ask them to post their nice tributes on Twitter, which I think speaks volumes of how well loved Tommy was.

“He was only diagnosed in October, it was a surprise because he was a fit guy, but he didn’t suffer for long.

“The family were very shocked and it’s been very hard for them but it’s just one of those things. The last thing they would have wanted is for him to suffer for a long time.

“He was respected so much from his time at Stoneclough, to Bury and then to Bolton where we was until he died.

“He had such a love for the game too, and even though he was a Leeds fan, he really fell in love with Bolton Wanderers, he was at every game.

“His family have been really overwhelmed with all the tributes that have been posted for him, and I think it just speaks volumes of the man, he really was a great guy.

Bolton Wanderers paid tribute to Tommy on their official Facebook page, saying: “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of our Academy coach Tommy Harrison following his recent passing.

“Tommy started at the club in 2001 and coached a number of academy players who would go on to represent the club at first-team level. Rest in peace.”

“Thank you for everything you did on my path to becoming a player, you’ll be missed by so many!! My thoughts are with your family.”

A tribute to Tommy will be included in the match programme for the Wanderers game against Morecambe on December 29.

Tommy leaves his wife of 43 years, Lynn, two sons Stephen and Thomas, and daughter Lauren.


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