Tributes pour in as Doncaster Rovers legend Laurie Sheffield dies at 82

Tributes have flooded in following the death of Doncaster Rovers legend Laurie Sheffield.
Doncaster Rovers legend Laurie Sheffield has died at the age of 82.Doncaster Rovers legend Laurie Sheffield has died at the age of 82.
Doncaster Rovers legend Laurie Sheffield has died at the age of 82.

Regarded as one of the club’s greatest and most prolific strikers, Sheffield helped Rovers to the Division Four Championship in the 1965-66 season.

He died yesterday at the age of 82.

Former Doncaster Rovers chairman John Ryan has led the tributes, describing Sheffield’s goal scoring partnership with fellow Rovers legend Alick Jeffrey as ‘lethal.’

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He said: “Great centre forward - broke my heart when he was sold to Norwich and promptly scored a hat trick on his debut.

"Formed a lethal partnership with King Alick – was so proud to hand over the Championship trophy at Belle Vue in 2004.”

Fellow Rovers goal ace Peter Kitchen, who played alongside Sheffield, also paid tribute, writing: “RIP Laurie. Played up front with him in a pre-season friendly at Boston United in my first ever professional game for Rovers in 1970.”

With an average of better than a goal every other game, Laurie Sheffield was one of Rovers most potent strikers ever.

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Born in Swansea, he had spells with Bristol Rovers and Barry Town before launching his League career with Newport County.

In three seasons with Newport County he scored 44 League goals in 91 games in a struggling side.

This record prompted Rovers manager Bill Leivers to sign him in the summer of 1965.

Laurie was an instant hit, scoring twice on his debut.

He formed a devastating partnership with the veteran Alick Jeffrey, Laurie contributing 28 of the 50 League goals the pair scored between them. Their goals helped Rovers secure the Fourth Division title, their first promotion in 16 years.

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After contributing seven goals in the first 15 League games in Division Three, Laurie was controversially sold to Norwich City in November 1966 for £12,000.

He marked his Norwich debut with a hat-trick against Derby County and subsequently moved on to Rotherham United, Oldham Athletic and Luton Town, where he continued to be a prolific scorer.

In October 1969 he returned to Rovers, scoring on his return appearance, a 3-1 win at Walsall. However, he was not a great success and at the end of the season he moved on to Peterborough United, where he ended his career.

In total, he scored 49 goals in 85 appearances for Doncaster.

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Laurie made his home in Doncaster and was a regular visitor to Belle Vue and the Keepmoat Stadium.

In later years, he took up walking football, playing for the club’s Retro Rovers team, evem featuring for the team in a competition at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Retro Rovers boss Jan Milner said in a social media post: “Sad to say our wonderful Laurie passed away today.

"So very proud he got to play for the Retro Rovers. We will miss your stories, cheeky charm and football ability. Fly high with the angels RIP to a true gentleman.”

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Rovers fans have also paid tribute to the footballer, who lived in Woodlands.

Clare Timms posted: “Very sad news - RIP Laurie, lovely man, a legend.”

Paul Gilligan wrote: “One from my earliest days as a Rovers man. A real 100% man in every way. R.I.P.”

David Dilks added: “My first ever hero, loved him, very sad but what a player and could he head a ball RIP.”

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Stephen Horsnall wrote: “As a young boy he gave me so much inspiration to follow the Rovers. He was one of my idols. RIP”

Mick Bolstridge added: “Not many true legends at Donny but Laurie was one of them.”