A FORMER Wanderers great has died peacefully in his sleep.

Brian Riley, who had recently celebrated his 80th birthday at Lever Edge Care Home, in Great Lever, died in the early hours of Thursday morning.

His son, Stephen, aged 57, said: "I remember him being quite strict when I was younger, firm but fair. But, I had a fantastic childhood and I'm sure my brother and sister did.

"Later in life we would go to the Reebok together, we had many a good time together there.

"He was just my dad, I could ask him for anything, he'd always say, 'If you need owt, give us a ring'."

Mr Riley leaves behind his three children, Anne, Stephen and Christopher, six grandchildren, six step-grandchild and seven great-grandchildren.

The former outside left played for Bolton Wanderers in the 1950s but his career was cut short by an injury he received while playing for Buxton FC.

After 10 years in the game, Mr Riley was forced to retire and retrained as an electrician.

A spokesman of Bolton Wanderers FC, said: “Brian was a member of the legendary Bolton Wanderers squad in the 1950s.

“He will be sadly missed and the thoughts of everybody at the club are with his family and friends.”

A date for the funeral has not yet been set but it will take place at Holy Infant and St Anthony Church, Baxendale Street, Astley Bridge and Overdale Crematorium, Overdale Drive.