Jack Hixon

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Jack Hixon, who died on 20 December aged 88, was the football scout who discovered Alan Shearer, the former Newcastle United and England captain.

Hixon, whose day job was with British Rail, spotted Shearer as a 13-year-old schoolboy and took him down to Southampton to start his career. The centre-forward, who remained close to Hixon throughout his career and in the years afterwards, paid tribute to his mentor, saying, "Jack was a lovely man and totally dedicated. We were very close and he will be sadly missed."

Before Hixon worked for Southampton he uncovered much budding talent for Burnley FC, including Ralph Coates. He also spotted Steve Bruce, who eventually played for Manchester United in the early years of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign as manager.

Hixon's life story became the subject of a book and documentary in 2001 by his lifelong friend Victor Jupp, a social researcher at Northumbria University.