Former Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday footballer Chris Bart-Williams dies at 49

Nottingham Forest's Chris Bart-Williams in action during Nationwide Division One game against Rotherham United Credit: PA Images

Chris Bart-Williams, the former Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, has died at the age of 49 in America.

Bart-Williams burst into the footballing scene after rising at Leyton Orient, he later joined Wednesday for a then club-record fee of £275k in 1991.

‘Bartman’ as he was known to his fans and teammates made 156 appearances for Wednesday across four years at the club.

His standout moments include a Premier League hat-trick against Southampton in April 1993.

Bart-Williams' other acheivements at Hillsborough include helping the club to a seventh-place top tier finish in 1993 and reaching both the League Cup and FA Cup finals in the same year.

The footballer moved to Nottingham Forest in 1995 for £2.5m and proved a big hit at the City Ground, making 230 appearances for the Reds.

The midfielder famously scored Forest's winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Reading in 1997/98 - a goal which secured Forest's promotion back to the Premier League.

During his time at Forest, he also won the club's Player of the Year award in the 2000/01 season after finishing as top goalscorer.

After leaving Nottingham, he had spells at Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town before playing in Cyprus and Malta.

Despite being born in Sierra Leone, Bart-Williams represented England on the international stage at Under-19, Under-21 and ‘B’ level.

He retired in 2006, having made more than 500 professional appearances in England.

After his playing career finished he plied his trade in the USA as a coach and mentor, running the CBW Soccer Elite.

His previous clubs and teammate's have paid tributes on twitter with Nottingham Forest tweeting: "Nottingham Forest is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former player Chris Bart-Williams."Our thoughts go out to Chris’ family and friends at this truly difficult time."

Sheffield Wednesday paid tribute on the club's website, declaring: "Sheffield Wednesday are deeply saddened at the passing of our former player Chris Bart-Williams. Bart-Williams died in America, aged just 49.

"Bart-Williams’ untimely passing mirrors that of his manager at Hillsborough Trevor Francis, who also died on this, one of the darkest days in our long history."

Francis, the former Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest footballer who broke Britain's transfer record when he became the first £1 million player in 1979, died of a heart attack yesterday (24 July) in his Spanish home.

Former Nottingham Forest teammate Mark Crossley also paid his respects on social media, to both Bart-Williams: "Devastating and I’m so upset to hear the news of Trevor Francis passing and my former team mate Chris Bart Williams, both so young, it is so sad , RIP Trevor and Chris."

Another of his former teammates, Kevin Campbell also paid tribute to him.

"R.I.P. Chris, love you Bartman!"

Campbell and Bart-Williams both signed for Nottingham Forest in 1995 both for a fee of £2.5 million.

They played at the club together for three years, and both helped Forest achieve promotion back to the Premier League in 1998.