Johnny Haynes, man of style, dies at 71

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He is understood to have suffered a brain aneurysm at the wheel of his car yesterday morning, which led to a road crash. His wife, Avril, who was travelling with him, suffered injuries in the collision with an HGV and was "stable" in hospital last night. Family members were at Haynes' bedside when his life-support machine was switched off.

Haynes, who spent his entire career at Fulham and made 56 appearances for England between 1954 and 1962, the last 22 of them as captain, became famous as the first British footballer to earn £100 per week.

"I am very distressed by this news, Johnny and I joined Fulham together in 1950," Sir Bobby Robson, a former midfield partner of Haynes for both club and country, said. "He was one of the greatest passers in the history of football and would have been great in today's game."

Haynes played 594 League games for the London club in an 18-year stay, during which the club turned down bids for him from Tottenham Hotspur and from the Italian giants Milan among others. He scored 146 League goals, and although he never won any club honours, played for England at two World Cups, in 1958 and 1962. He scored 18 times for his country.

Alan Mullery, who played under Haynes' captaincy at Fulham, said: "The word great rolls off the tongue quite easily these days, but he really was." Mullery added that modern-day players owe a debt of gratitude to Haynes for his role in the abolition of the maximum £20 weekly wage in 1961. "He was the guy who started it all," Mullery said.

Haynes' own recollection of that period was typically modest. "Looking back, I did not realise it would go the way it did," he said recently.

"It was a bit of a hassle. We were threatening to go on strike at the time because we were on a maximum wage of £20 a week in the winter and £17 in summer. At the time at Fulham, we had a 'show business' type president in Tommy Trinder and he loved to be in the headlines.

"He opened his mouth and, not realising that the maximum wage was going to be abolished, he said if the maximum wage was abolished he would certainly pay me £100 a week. Of course, the maximum wage was abolished and he had to stick to it. To be fair to him, he did."

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said: "As a person, Johnny was always a gentleman, and as a footballer, a class act.

"He could be well satisfied that he made a massive contribution to English football.

"I was fortunate enough to play against him. Not only was he a great England player and captain, but he was a loyal, one-club man. He was not driven by money, it just happened that Tommy Trinder valued him and made him the first £100 a week player."


1952: Plays first of his 594 games for Fulham

1954: Scores on England debut v N Ireland in Belfast, aged 19

1961: Becomes first player to earn £100 a week

1962: 56th and last England cap v Brazil in World Cup