TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Bolton Wanderers player.

Brian Riley died peacefully in his sleep aged 80 at Lever Edge Care Home, in Great Lever, on October 19.

The great-grandfather grew up in Daubhill with four siblings.

He attended St Peter & St Paul’s School and the young Wanderers fan had ambitions to play football professionally.

In 1956 he signed to play for his home team, turning out for the Whites in their famous sides of the 1950s.

Wanderers paid tribute to his career at Burnden Park and his family in its recent match day programme.

The left-footer played outside-left and career highlights include setting up Nat Lofthouse’s 200th league goal on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, being part of the winning team against the touring Russian side CDSA Moscow in 1957 and lining up against Manchester United’s Busby Babes shortly before the Munich air tragedy.

Mr Riley – who was dubbed Twinkle Toes by Nat Lofthouse – also celebrated a goal during his eight first team appearances in a 3-1 win against Birmingham City at St Andrews, in April 1959.

His career was broken up by compulsory National Service at the age of 21 and, according to family, Manchester United had looked to sign him but the Bolton lad insisted on staying with his home club.

In 1959, Mr Riley left Wanderers and went to play for Weymouth and then Buxton FC, where his career was cut short by an injury.

He went on to retrain as an electrician and worked for D Havilland and Chloride Motive Power before retiring.

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

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