FORMER Wanderers defender Charlie Cooper has passed away at the age of 78.

Farnworth-born Cooper made 90 appearances for the club, coming through the ranks at the same time as Dave Hatton, Roy Greaves, Ernie Pythian and Carl Davenport.

He was also good friends with future World Cup winner, Alan Ball, who was famously rejected by Bolton as a teenager.

Cooper broke into the team in October 1960, making his debut against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, and kept his place at left-back the following weekend as part of the team which beat Manchester City 3-1 at Burnden Park – scoring on that day for the Whites was a 16-year-old Francis Lee, who was another close friend.

Spotted by Bolton playing in the Boys’ Federation League for Whittaker’s, Cooper could play on either side of defence. He played understudy for much of the sixties for the likes of Roy Hartle and Syd Farrimond.

Cooper played for Barrow after leaving Wanderers in 1969 and later worked in the police force.

He suffered a stroke earlier this year and it was announced by the Bolton Wanderers Former Players’ Association earlier this month that he had been released from hospital after contracting coronavirus.

He leaves behind his wife, Norma, and sons Alec and Charles.