FORMER Barnsley chairman Maurice Watkins has died aged 80.
The former Manchester United director, who was one of the top sports lawyers in Britain for decades, was appointed by friend and then Reds owner Patrick Cryne in 2013.
Watkins, who was also a regular columnist for the Chronicle, was chairman when the club was relegated in 2014 then promoted three years later. He left in 2017 as Cryne was set to sell the club to the current owners.
He was chairman of British Swimming and had been involved in governing bodies for greyhound racing, rugby league and basketball while also working for law firm Brabners. He famously represented Eric Cantona after the Frenchman kicked a fan in 1995.
Sir Alex Ferguson called him ‘unflappable’ and ‘a true gentleman’ while a Barnsley FC statement read: "Maurice was a man of great dignity who held the respect of all who met him. He will be greatly missed and all at Oakwell send their heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.”
The Reds will pay tribute to Watkins before tomorrow’s game against Luton Town while the players will wear black armbands.