Sheffield football legend Derek Dooley dies

SHEFFIELD football legend Derek Dooley has died at the age of 78.

His daughter Suzanne confirmed to The Star that her father had died at home in Norton this morning after a long illness.

His wife Sylvia was by his side.

Derek is one of the few men to be loved and respected by fans of both Wedensday and United.

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A prolific goal scorer for Wednesday during the early 50s, his blossoming career was brought to a premature end in 1953 following a collision with Preston goalkeeper George Thompson.

Doctors diagnosed a broken leg but when gangrene set in as he recovered in hospital, Dooley was told that the infected limb would have to be amputated in order to save his life.

After scoring a remarkable 63 goals in 63 appearances - a statistic which must surely mark him out as one of the most gifted finishers England has ever produced - Dooley was left to contemplate a bleak future.

He stepped back on to centre stage in 1971 when he was appointed manager only to suffer further heartbreak when he was dismissed on Christmas Eve, 1973.

Click on the green icon above to see a slideshow of Derek Dooley's life in pictures.

But, as with his previous setbacks, Dooley simply used it as the catalyst to open a new chapter of his life and, following a spell working for a sportswear firm, he accepted an invitation to lead United's commercial operations.

After demonstrating his capabilities, he eventually entered the boardroom before retiring in 2006.

In 2003 Dooley was awarded an MBE and an honorary doctorate degree from Sheffield Hallam University.

He was made a freeman of the City of Sheffield and in December 2007 he was inducted into the city's Walk of Fame.

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