It is with great sadness Sheffield United inform our football family of the passing of a former Blades great, Fred Furniss, aged 94.
Fred was Sheffield born-and-bred, a pupil of Phillimore Road school in Darnall, who shone out as a sportsman as a youngster, representing both Sheffield and Yorkshire Boys at football.
Fred would tell you that he made his debut for United as an amateur away at Goodison Park, home of Everton, in the middle of an air raid - quite an entrance to a career in red and white that would span 433 games and 18 goals.
He worked at Orgreave Colliery before joining the war effort in the Royal Artillery. The talented right-back became a first team regular in 1943 and held his position until 1954, a measure of how great a player he was.
His record as a penalty taker was superb, missing just two of the 17 that he took for the club. He played a vital role in lifting the Wartime League North Championship of 1945-46 and also the League Division Two title of 1952-53.
When Cec Coldwell finally took his place, he moved on to Chesterfield as a player-coach before a spell at Worksop Town. Incredibly, Fred was playing local league football well into his 50s - when he hung his boots up he then refereed many games around the city.
He was a formidable crown green bowler, an all-round gentleman, sportsman and Blade. Up to a few years ago he was a regular watcher at home games from the stands and also could be seen at every Senior Blades meeting.
The club salutes one of its oldest boys, Fred would have been delighted that we clinched promotion at the weekend and would be willing Chris and the boys to do what he did back in the day, lift a league championship.
Our away game on Friday at Port Vale will see us in our black and orange change strip and, as we want to remember Fred in a manner befitting one of its sons, the team will don black armbands in his memory for the home game against Bradford City on Easter Monday.
The thoughts of the club are with his family at this sad time.