The PFA are deeply saddened by the passing of former Blackpool and Burnley goalkeeper Tony Waiters, aged 83.
Born in Southport, Waiters joined Blackpool from Macclesfield Town in 1959. He would go on to make more than 250 appearances for the club, during which time he won five caps for England. Following his time at Blackpool, Waiters went on to join Burnley in the early 1970's, where he would finish his playing career before heading into a management role at Plymouth. During his time with Plymouth from 1972-1977, he won promotion from the third division and led the side to the League Cup semi-finals.
Waiter's later managed Vancouver Whitecaps in the late 1970's, leading them to the NASL Championship in 1979, before becoming Head Coach and Manager on 4 December 1982 for the Canadian National team. Waiters led Canada to their first FIFA World Cup in 1996, the country's only appearance in the finals. Waiters left his role shortly after but returned for a second stint starting 5 October 1989.
To recognise his time in Canada, Waiters was awarded the Aubrey Sanford Meritorious Service Award in 1996. In 2001, he was honoured by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame and in 2019, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Soccer Hall of Fame in British Columbia as part of their inaugural class. He was also honoured as a Canada Soccer Life Member in May 2019.
Gordon Taylor OBE has paid tribute to Tony: "A top quality goalkeeper and a top quality coach. It was a privilege to play under Tony at Vancouver Whitecaps in '77, beating the New York Cosmos 5-3 in front of a record crowd at the Empire Stadium. Wonderful company, he will be sadly missed by all who knew him but never forgotten. Our most sincere condolences go to his widow Anne and family."
The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the PFA are with Tony's family and friends.