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RIP Terry Cooper: Former players pay tribute to ex- Leeds and England international as he passes away


Former players have led a raft of tributes to Terry Cooper after the former Leeds United and England international died at the age of 77.

The father of former Forest Green manager Mark Cooper, Terry was a familiar face at Rovers during his son’s five-year tenure.

Cooper made 351 appearances for Leeds between 1962 and 1975 during one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.

The attacking full-back scored the only goal in the 1968 League Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley and was part of the side that won the First Division title the following season.

He also won 20 caps for England and played at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Cooper left Leeds for Middlesbrough in 1975 and also had spells at Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and Doncaster Rovers, before retiring from playing after a second spell at Bristol City in 1984.

He would later manage both Bristol clubs as well as having two stints in charge of Exeter on either side of a two-year spell at Birmingham.

Richard Dryden who was Mark Cooper’s assistant at Rovers last season paid tribute to his former boss, who he played under in the Premier League with Southampton, he said: “TC is, without doubt, the biggest influence on my football career. He took me to Exeter City, Birmingham City, and Southampton and gave me the confidence to believe in myself – he will never be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, former Coventry City and Birmingham City midfielder David Smith recalled his time with Terry at The Blues, he said: “Terry was great with me as my manager at Birmingham City, He took me under his wing from the day I signed and I’ve got to say that the nine months we had together were some of the best times I had in my football career – and I’ve got him to thank for that.”

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Terry Cooper watches Forest Green train in 2015 Pic: Shane Healey

Forest Green paid their respects.

They tweeted: “Really sad news. Terry was always a regular visitor to Rovers matches and training over the last five years. Our thoughts are with Mark and his family during this time.”

Leeds has paid an emotional tribute to him following the news of his death.

A club statement read: “Leeds United is devastated to learn of the passing of Terry Cooper.

“Our thoughts are with Terry’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“Rest in Peace, Terry.”

Former Leeds ace Tony Dorigo added: “Oh no no no… the wonderful Terry Cooper has passed away.

“Honoured to finally get to meet the great man at the Centenary Celebrations a few years back.

“RIP TC. Love and prayers to his family, tough recent times for the #LUFC family. Another absolute legend gone.”

Exeter City – whom Cooper managed following his playing days – also paid their respects.

They tweeted: “Exeter City is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Cooper at the age of 77.

“Our thoughts are with Terry’s friends and family.”

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