Professional footballers in the UK and Ireland have lost an influential advocate and loyal friend with the death on October 17 of Geoff Scott.
Scott, who played 22 games for Cambridge United in the 1985/86 season following successful careers with Stoke, Leicester and Birmingham among other clubs, was chief executive of XPRO, a welfare organisation that works for former players.
A defender who could play at centre back or on the left, he died at the age of 61 following a battle with cancer.
Born in Birmingham, Scott moved through the Aston Villa youth system before dropping into non-League football with Kings Heath, Solihull Borough and Highgate United. He then joined Stoke in 1977 and was part of the team that was promoted to the First Division in 1978/79.
He spent two years at Leicester, playing in the side that won the Second Division in 1979/80, before spells with Birmingham, Charlton, Middlesbrough and Northampton.
He was 28 when he arrived at the Abbey Stadium in the summer of 1985, signed by manager Ken Shellito to help form the spine of his team.
His United career, which was punctuated by two red cards, ended in the mud of Plainmoor on December 12 when, during Chris Turner’s first match in charge, he fell awkwardly midway through the first half and was stretchered off.
He was found to have severed knee ligaments, and on 1 March 1986 United announced that he (as well as fellow defender Keith Osgood) would have to retire from the game.
Scott told the Cambridge Evening News: ‘I have played nearly all over the world and in the First Division for ten years – then it had to end at a place like Torquay, on the worst pitch I have played on in my career. The boots were completely submerged in mud.'
He continued: 'Players are today being asked to play in such conditions because clubs desperately need the finances.’
Following his retirement, he took a degree in business studies and worked in telecommunications. He later became secretary of the Stoke City Old Boys’ Association, and joined XPRO.
The organisation estimates that two in five former professionals will experience serious financial difficulties within five years of retirement, and that a third will have separated from their partner within a year.
As well as helping with financial, health and welfare problems, Scott also made many prison visits to ex-players who had found themselves in trouble with the law.