Tributes to Notts County legend Tony Hateley have flooded in from supporters of the club, after it was revealed that he had sadly passed away aged 72.
Tony started out his career with the Magpies as a 17-year-old in the 1958.59 season, where he marked his debut with a goal in a 1-1 draw with Stockport County.
It did not take County supporters long to work out that they had a player on their hands and the big striker was soon taken under the wing of Tommy Lawton for heading coaching.
The form of Stan Newsham kept 'Big Tone' out of the first 11 the following season, Notts’ first in the Fourth Division, as the centre forward scored 23 goals in just 34 league appearances before missing the end of the campaign through injury.
A campaign that saw County end the season as English football’s top scorers with 107 goal and finish runners-up to Walsall, Tony came into the side to give the promotion push a final boost with an impressive eight goals in 10 appearances.
In Tony’s first full season, he missed only one game and scored 27 times, then continued to hit over 20 goals in the next two seasons - 21 in 1962 and 22 the year after.
Tony, like Tommy Lawton, was the master of the header and rose brilliantly on countless occasions to make his mark from attacking set-pieces.
His goals ratio attracted numerous scouts and eventually he moved to First Division Aston Villa for £20,000 in 1963.
Tony became a big hit with Villa, having been ranked as one of their top 50 players, and kicked off his three-year stay with a winning goal against Nottingham Forest.
Overall, he netted 68 goals in 127 appearances for Villa before Chelsea splashed out £100,000 for his services, with his goal-scoring importance highlighted by his former club’s relegation in the same season he departed.
Over the next four years, Tony represented the Blues, Liverpool, Coventry City and Birmingham City before making a much-welcomed return to Notts in 1970.
Over 20,000 fans – double even the biggest crowds at Meadow lane at the time – welcomed him back for his second coming.
And, he did not disappoint, as he netted 22 goals in 29 games to help County claim the Fourth Division championship – nine points clear of their nearest rivals.
Tony described his Notts spells as his happiest times and supporters will remember him fondly as the club’s second highest scorer, with a total of 114 goals – 109 in the league.
Everyone at Meadow Lane would like to pass on their condolences to Tony’s family and friends at this difficult time.
RIP Big Tone (1941-2014)
Feel free to leave your messages for Tony on the club's official Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as the Magpie Wall.