HOWARD Wilkinson has led the tributes to former Sheffield Wednesday chief scout, coach and academy director Clive Baker who died yesterday, aged 77.
The former Owls manager took Baker to Hillsborough in 1984 and his Wednesday career spanned 18 years in a football lifetime that began 60 years ago when he was signed as a teenager by his home-town club, Doncaster Rovers.
“For me, Clive was a great advert for the ‘stereotypical’ English gentleman and, contrary to what people might think about football and the people who inhabit it, he was also a great advert for those people who are the substance and backbone of the sport in this country,” said Howard.
“He was like so many who work away, who love the game - and he succeeded in it. Clive had the total respect of everyone he came across and was a person you were delighted to have working for you.”
Baker initially joined Wednesday as chief scout with coaching responsibilities and he travelled extensively doing player-watching and opposition assessment.
Added Wilkinson: “What people like Clive need are people who are just as considerate and understanding over the requirement to work long and strange hours.
“His wife, Pat, was an absolute brick in that respect and a mirror-image partner.”
Baker headed up the Wednesday Youth Academy as its director until 2001 and coaching was a major part of his footballing life.
Even when full-time work stopped, he continued with
coaching which had included coaching, assessing coaches and taking FA courses. Last year the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA honoured him with an award for
“outstanding achievement within the community and within football”.
Baker, born in Doncaster and latterly living in Rotherham, was signed by Rovers as a youngster but played league football for Halifax Town where he was to get his first coaching job.
He later became first-team coach at Rotherham United under manager Jim McAnearney.
He was also coach at Hartlepool and York City and in 1977 went to Norway to coach there for a year.
He stayed for almost eight years in all and enjoyed promotions with his clubs.
He obtained the UEFA ‘A’ licence in 1997 and also coached in USA, South Africa, Canada and Scandinavia.