Tony Currie has paid tribute to John Hope, his friend and former team mate, who passed away aged 67 earlier this week.
Hope made 72 appearances for Sheffield United after leaving Newcastle in 1971 and was a key member of the squad that won promotion to the top-flight later that year.
Currie, now United’s ambassador, described Hope as “one of the bravest players I’ve ever seen” and admitted news of his death had shocked many at Bramall Lane.
“John was an excellent goalkeeper and, just as importantly, an excellent person too,” Currie said. “When he came to us we went on a couple of long unbeaten runs and Hopey was the goalkeeper throughout all of those.
“People forget just how good John was but all of us who played with him knew.”
Hope’s club record of seven consecutive clean sheets remained intact until 2014 when Mark Howard, now of Bolton, achieved eight following a stalemate against Preston North End. But, as Currie revealed, Hope made a big impression off the pitch too.
“Hopey was a really mischievous lad,” he continued. “And a really good mate. He loved his fashion and was always going down Chapel Walk to get a new suit. I used to follow him with his clothes. John would get a pink suit and I’d go out to get one. I remember getting a pair of white clogs once, they were ‘in’ at the time so I had to get my own too.”
Hope, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, also played for Darlington and Hartlepool.
“John was very, very brave as a player,” Currie said. “And he was in his personal life too. I telephoned a few of the old boys when I heard the news and they were all upset and shocked which shows how well thought of and well-liked he was. Everybody loved Hopey.”