Caton dies aged 30

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The Independent Online
TOMMY CATON, the Charlton Athletic central defender, has died of a suspected heart attack. He was 30. Roger Alwen, the Charlton chairman, said yesterday the former Manchester City, Arsenal and Oxford player had collapsed at his home near Oxford on Thursday. 'Everybody at the club was deeply shocked to learn the news of Tommy's sudden death and send deepest sympathies to his wife, Gill, and their three young children,' Alwen said.

The tall, Liverpool-born centre- half was only 16 when he made his League debut for Manchester City in 1979. 'He was one of Malcolm Allison's stars for the future and one of the youngest captains of Manchester City,' Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said. After four and a half fine seasons at Maine Road, Caton was bought by Arsenal for pounds 500,000.

In February 1987, two months before Arsenal won the League Cup, Caton was sold to the previous year's winners, Oxford United, for pounds 160,000. Charlton paid pounds 100,000 for him a year later but his appearances were restricted by a persistent foot injury.

'Tommy had had problems with an ankle and we had been talking to him about possible retirement from the game,' Taylor said. 'He couldn't get the ankle right and had been under a fair amount of stress because of it.'