Tributes to John Duncan

Tributes have been paid to John Duncan, who had two spells as Chesterfield manager, after he passed away on Saturday.

Spireites chief executive John Croot said: “John was respected across football and gave our fans memories that will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Commercial manager Jim Brown, who was signed by John on his return from America, said: “John was an excellent player and l remember  playing against him when he was at Spurs and he always took great pleasure in telling me about the goal he scored against me.

“As our manager, his record speaks for itself but in partnership with Kevin Randall he gave the club and our supporters memories they will never forget. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and all at Chesterfield FC.”

Sir Alex Ferguson CBE said: “I will always remember John with a great deal of respect and affection.

“When I was playing and managing in Scotland, I remember him playing up front for Dundee and then of course he went on to be an exceptional striker for Tottenham.

“I’ll never forget John, as manager of Chesterfield, leading his second division team to the 1997 FA Cup semi-finals which really was a fantastic achievement.

“In his role as LMA technical manager, I know first-hand what an invaluable asset he was to the association, working tirelessly and sharing his superb knowledge of the game. John understood the needs of his fellow LMA members and the importance of a collective voice.

“John had such humility and a great sense of humour and I spoke with him only a matter of weeks ago. I will miss seeing him and I send my deepest condolences to his daughters, his sister, his partner and their families.”

LMA member, John’s former player and close friend Sean Dyche added: “I worked with John for a number of years whilst at Chesterfield FC through some of the best years in the club’s history.

“He was an excellent manager who always worked to get the best out of all of his staff and players in order to mould a team into one that could challenge and be successful.

“He was not only a manager to me, as he became a friend and a mentor as my career progressed from player to coach and onto being a manager. I always appreciated his knowledge and help and I reached out to him many, many times for an opinion and support whenever I felt necessary.

“His dry wit and sense of humour were always intact if and when he felt it was the right moment. My respect for him runs deep and I was so fortunate to get the chance to tell him so recently.

“My heart and thoughts are with his family, especially his three brave daughters who have helped him so much over the last months.

“A loss to football and a big loss to me personally, but he won’t be forgotten by me or by all those who played under him or knew him”.

LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “In the 42 years I have known John, his modesty has shone through. Never have I heard him mention his phenomenal goal scoring record as a professional player – a goal every two games.

“When I was at Sheffield Wednesday, he was at Chesterfield, so our paths crossed frequently, enjoyably and always fruitfully. You could play against John’s team and, at the end of the game – win, lose or draw – John would still be John.

“We were fortunate to have him as a loyal, honest, experienced, knowledgeable and hardworking member of the LMA team. He was never afraid to speak his mind but, when he did, it was only and always in the best interests of our members and the game he loved. His passing will leave a huge hole.

“I know I speak for the whole LMA team and his friends when I say we will remember John and miss him dearly. John’s family and many friends are in my thoughts.”

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan OBE added: “Everyone at the LMA is utterly devastated by John’s loss. For so many years, John has been an integral part of the team.

“His total, lifelong dedication to football meant he brought unrivalled knowledge to his role. Always strong-minded, John was a passionate advocate for quality improvement across all aspects of the professional game, working alongside football’s stakeholders for the good of everyone involved. He represented the views of his fellow members with passion and humility.

“John was a caring member of the team and we will never forget his gentle sense of humour. We send our sincerest condolences to John’s daughters Louise, Marie and Evette, his sister Avril, his partner Carol, his grandchildren and all of his family and friends at this very sad time.”