Former Peterborough United player and manager Chris Turner dies, aged 64, in a Wisbech nursing home
- Credit: Archant
Former Peterborough United player and manager Chris Turner has died in a Wisbech nursing home. He was 64.
The club said tonight they were “saddened” to learn of the death of their former player.
A club spokesman said: “Turner had battled against dementia for the last eight years. “Our condolences go to his partner Lynne and his family at this difficult time.”
Turner played 364 times for Posh between 1969 and 1978, mostly as a centre-back. He scored 43 goals.
He returned to manage Posh in January 1991 and promptly led the team to back-to-back promotions and a place in the second tier of English football for the first time in the club’s history.
He went onto to become chairman and then owner of the football club. Tributes have been pouring in on social media with Gary Kimble, who scored the winner for Turner’s men in a famous cup success at Liverpool tweeting: ‘R.I.P Chris Turner, hope I made you proud that night against Liverpool winning 1-0 #GodBless
Two years ago his wife said Turner, who had frontal lobe dementia, was paying the price for years of heading heavy footballs.
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She said: “The FA have really got to acknowledge that there is something going on.
“It’s not for Chrissy, because he’s never going to benefit. It’s too late for him, but it’s for kids now who are heading balls.”
Turner]s career included spells at Luton, Cambridge United, Swindon and Southend before he retired from playing the game to move into management. He managed both Cambridge and Peterborough.
In recent years Turner has been unable to walk, talk or eat properly; prior to falling ill he had complained of violent headaches.
“That’s when it started,” his wife told the BBC.
One memorable season for Turner as Posh manager was in the 1991. Early optimism in the 1990-91 season that former Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson would bring success to the club proved unfounded after he resigned and successor Dave Booth was sacked after a poor run of results.
Enter Chris Turner in January 1991.
Our EDP correspondent reported that “only the most optimistic fan could have thought he would be able to steer Posh to promotion that season.
“I still remember his first game in charge away at Walsall where a sizeable travelling contingent was buoyed by a new wave of optimism. Posh won 1-0 and never looked back as Turner oversaw a 13-match unbeaten run, which propelled us into the automatic promotion places.”
Our correspondent wrote: “The success just kept coming as Turner led Posh to back-to-back promotions, which saw us in the second tier of English football for the first time in our history.
“Even more remarkable was our 10th-place finish in the old Division One (now the Championship), which is still the club’s best-ever performance in the Football League.”
He remarked that in just over two years, Turner had taken Posh from obscurity in Division Four to a position where the term “punching above our weight” doesn’t even come close to describing what had been achieved.
Our correspondent added: “Despite the success, there were no airs and graces with Turner. He came across as a humble man of the people who was simply doing his duty for Peterborough United Football Club.
“The image of Turner celebrating on the pitch at Wembley after his side’s famous victory in the 1992 play-off final will live with me for ever. The fact he turned up in Peterborough city centre later that night to celebrate with ecstatic fans spoke volumes for his character.”
Peterborough United club historian Peter Lane paid tribute to Turner who he had inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
On the Posh website he wrote: “There are many legends in the history of Peterborough United, but surely the legend of all legends would have to be that of Chris Turner.”
He added: “Chris was a great leader both on and off the field, he was one of the best centre-back’s to appear for Posh. A manager who lead us to unbelievable heights. A big man with a big heart, always a pleasure to watch. God Bless you Chris and R.I.P.”