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Carlisle United legend Bill Green dies

Bill Green has died, aged 66

The man who scored Carlisle United’s first-ever goal in the top division - former captain Bill Green - has died.

Green earned his place in United’s history by leading United into the old First Division in 1974 at Chelsea and then scoring a goal.

His death at the age of 66 after a short illness was announced by the club last night.

Newcastle-born Green was bought by the Cumbrians from Hartlepool United for just £15,000 in 1973 and the central defender was soon a Blue Army favourite before leaving to join West Ham United in 1976.

A key part of United’s Division One team for our 1974/75 season in the sun, he scored the club’s first ever top-flight goal when he prodded the ball home from close range against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the opening fixture of that memorable campaign.

Bill Green (No5) playing against Everton in First Division Credit: Cumbrian Newspapers

Carlisle United chairman Andrew Jenkins said paid tribute to Green who always kept in touch with the club.

The only way to describe Bill is as a perfect gentleman. He became friends with everyone he met because he genuinely had time for them. We brought him over from Hartlepool as a raw centre half because it was obvious to us that he had real potential. He quickly blossomed to become a solid and dependable Division One player and it was no surprise that we had clubs like West Ham watching him whenever he played. We actually did our best to hang on to him, turning down an offer of over £150,000 from West Ham at one point, but they eventually got their man when we were relegated out of the top division. Bill loved it here but, like any player, he wanted to play at the highest level possible and we completely understood that. He kept in touch over the years and it was fascinating to hear from him when he was jetting off on international scouting trips for Southampton. He always shared information with us on players he felt would interest us and that’s something else we appreciated very much. Bill is a very big loss for football and for those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

– Andrew Jenkins

Green played for Peterborough, Chesterfield and Doncaster Rovers and had managerial spells with Scunthorpe and Buxton, as well as a brief spell as caretaker manager with Sheffield Wednesday in 2002.

Latterly he was chief scout with Southampton who said they were "deeply saddened" by the news.