Tributes flood in for former Sheffield United player and academy scout
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Ernie Oliver, who died last week at the age of 73, was born in Sheffield and lived in the city for his entire career.
He played for the Blades in the 1960s and also played for Doncaster Rovers, Matlock Town and Buxton United during his footballing career. He held a variety of roles, including as a player, manager and talent scout, taking over as Head of Academy recruitment at Doncaster Rovers in 2017.
He was instrumental in restoring Doncaster Boys club, giving scores of youngsters the chance to represent the borough at school football contests across the country.
Paying tribute, a spokesman for Doncaster Schools Football Association, said: “Very sad news. The man that glued Doncaster Schools FA back together in 2018 has passed away.
“Ernie was the brains behind restarting Doncaster Schoolboys, his hard work behind the scenes will never be forgotten and all at Doncaster Schools will be eternally grateful for his help. RIP Ernie.”
The club had disbanded around the year 2000, but Ernie and other dedicated individuals managed to get it back up and running in 2018, giving the chance for another generation of youngsters the chance to pull on the team’s orange jersey.
His former club Matlock Town, where he was a player and managed, also paid tribute to Ernie.
A club tribute reads: “He first came to Matlock during the 1967/68 season when he made a handful of appearances at left back following his release by Sheffield United. He then went on to play for Scarborough.
“He was already part of the management team when he took sole control of first team affairs in September 1985, replacing Mick Wadsworth who had been offered a lucrative position with the Football Association.
"Ernie’s first game in charge was a 4-2 home victory against Worksop Town.
“Ernie put together a great attacking side during the following season and the Gladiators finished in seventh spot with fans encouraged that with the likes of Ian Helliwell, Ian Smith, John Sheppard and Colin Kersley in an exciting attack, the Gladiators would mount a serious challenge for the title in 1987/88.
“Unfortunately those hopes were not fulfilled and Dave Pugh took over as manager in October 1987.
“A polite and studious man who lived and breathed football, Ernie was also manager at Buxton and a talent scout at both Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers and had a good eye for spotting up and coming talent.”
Matlock Chief Executive said: “While Ernie left the club in 1987 he still had a great affection for Matlock Town and would often suggest players who he believed would do a good job for us.
“He has remained a dear friend of the club. We’re all shocked to hear of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are extended to his family and friends.”
A minute’s applause in Ernie’s memory was held prior to the club’s weekend home fixture with Ashton United.