Charlton star Ufton won a cap for England

Former Charlton Athletic and England footballer Derek Ufton has died at the age of 92.

The doubly talented sportsman – he also scored 3,915 runs and claimed 313 scalps as wicketkeeper for Kent over three decades – was a one-club man in both careers.

Crayford-born Derek had gone to Dartford Grammar School where he was taught PE by Joe Jagger, Mick’s father.

His playing heyday was between the late 1940s and early 1960s, and he went on to manage Plymouth Argyle between 1965 and 1968.

He won a sole England football cap in 1953 against a Rest of the World team.

Derek dislocated his shoulder at least 20 times during his playing days, most notably during an epic encounter with Huddersfield Town at The Valley in December 1957.

He was forced off the field with just 17 minutes played – but his side went on to come from 5-1 behind to earn a legendary 7-6 victory.

Derek also served as manager of Plymouth Argyle for a three-year period from 1965, taking charge of 115 games in total.

Ufton won his county cricket cap in 1956 and made 149 first-class appearances for Kent in his whites.

Left to right from back: Alf Ramsey, Derek Ufton, Gilbert Merrick, Stanley Matthews, Stan Mortensen and Billy Wright

He was understudy behind the stumps to Godfrey Evans but with the bat his 3,915 runs were at an average of 20.01.

Of his 313 victims, 269 were caught and 44 stumped.

His most successful season was 1961, when he scored 668 runs and accounted for 90 opponents behind the stumps.

In later life he served as national chairman of the Lord’s Taverners cricket charity.

The 92-year-old died peacefully in his sleep.

After his playing days, Derek continued to give to both sports.

As well as serving Charlton as a director for 25 years, he was a regular at The Valley until lockdown prevented him from attending games in 2020.

He was a member of Kent Cricket’s main committee from 1978 to 1983, and from 1985 to 2000, and became president of the club, in succession to Colin Cowdrey, in 2001.

“I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him,” said Charlton club ambassador Keith Peacock.

“He was a wonderful man and a gentleman – thoughtful, kind and very intelligent.

“Derek was so unique in that there were very few people who could play at a very high level in football or cricket and he managed both, which shows you what an all-round sportsman he was.

“He had so many stories that he could remember, even until recently, and he was just interesting to speak to.

“He also always had his opinion on the players of today, particularly the centre-halves!

“It was an honour just to be around him and to have him be such a big part of Charlton and he will always be remembered.”

A Kent cricket statement said: “Derek and wife Judy were very regular visitors to The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence from their home in Eltham, and all the many people who wanted to stop and talk to him were greeted with a cheery smile and a tremendous fund of stories.

“Kent will be a much poorer place without him.”


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