Carlisle United are saddened to announce that former-Blues favourite Bill Green passed away this evening following a short illness.
Newcastle-born Green cut his teeth with Hartlepool United and played over 150 games for the Pools between 1969 and 1973.
He was snapped up by the Cumbrians for just £10,000 in the summer of ‘73, as his reputation as an uncompromising central defender came to the fore in the north-east, and he quickly became a crowd favourite as the Blue Army took him to their hearts.
A key part of United’s Division One team for our 1974/75 season in the sun, he scored the club’s first ever top-flight goal when he prodded the ball home from close range against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the opening fixture of that memorable campaign.
West Ham United monitored his progress and he eventually joined the Hammers in 1976, ending his three-year association with the Cumbrians.
He also played for Peterborough, Chesterfield and Doncaster Rovers and had managerial spells with Scunthorpe and Buxton, as well as a brief spell as caretaker manager with Sheffield Wednesday in 2002.
Latterly he was chief scout with Southampton and headed up the senior recruitment team at St Mary’s.
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “The only way to describe Bill is as a perfect gentleman. He became friends with everyone he met because he genuinely had time for them.
“We brought him over from Hartlepool as a raw centre half because it was obvious to us that he had real potential. He quickly blossomed to become a solid and dependable Division One player and it was no surprise that we had clubs like West Ham watching him whenever he played.
“We actually did our best to hang on to him, turning down an offer of over £150,000 from West Ham at one point, but they eventually got their man when we were relegated out of the top division.
“Bill loved it here but, like any player, he wanted to play at the highest level possible and we completely understood that.
“He kept in touch over the years and it was fascinating to hear from him when he was jetting off on international scouting trips for Southampton. He always shared information with us on players he felt would interest us and that’s something else we appreciated very much.
“Bill is a very big loss for football and for those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”