Tributes paid to two former Chesterfield players who died on same day

Tributes have been paid to two former Spireites players who have sadly died.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:58 pm
Eric Winstanley. Picture: Chesterfield FC.
Eric Winstanley. Picture: Chesterfield FC.

Eric Winstanley and Len Badger who both played for Chesterfield during the 1970s, passed away on the same day last week.

Centre-back Winstanley made 100 appearances for Town across three seasons before taking up a coaching role at a leading club in Zanzibar.

He later joined the coaching staff at Barnsley, where he has legendary status after making a club record 410 Football League appearances and skippering the side to promotion to Division Three in 1967/68.

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Len Badger: Picture: Chesterfield FC.

While at Oakwell he had a spell as caretaker manager and assistant manager to another former Spireite, Danny Wilson.

Winstanley passed away aged 76.

His son Andrew said: “He was funny, caring and supportive of us all and without him our lives would be indescribably less.”

Full-back Badger spent three years at the Blues and he was made captain after joining from Sheffield United.

His second season at Town came to an end after he broke his leg - his first serious injury in a career that had run for almost 500 league appearances.

He made a comeback after almost a season out, but he suffered another break after seven games of the 1977/78 season and retired in April 1978.

Chesterfield’s head of media and communications, Nick Johnson, paid a personal tribute to Badger, who died aged 76.

“Len was a truly wonderful man,” he said. “It was a pleasure to have known him and spent time in his company.

“I approached Len when I was writing a book called ‘Sheffield United: Match of My Life’, featuring interviews with former players who featured in memorable matches. He immediately agreed to be interviewed and we arranged to meet at The Barrack in Apperknowle.

“We sat outside the pub and I recorded the interview as Len recounted anecdotes from his career and he expressed disappointment that his time with the Spireites was curtailed by injury problems.

“He was then running The Fox & Goose and I promised to take a copy of the book to him when it was published. When the time came to deliver the book, I spent some hours in his company and he wouldn’t let me buy a drink all night. That was a mark of his generosity.”