Shane Warne ever the entertainer
Shane Warne ever the entertainer

Sportspeople we lost in 2022: In tribute to those who passed away this year

Christmas is a time of celebration, but also a time to remember those we sadly lost. Here are some of the great names from the world of sport who sadly passed away in 2022.

Sporting stars remembered

Peter Robinson: The Liverpool stalwart spent 35 years working at the Merseyside club, initially as secretary before becoming chief executive with 29 trophies won during his tenure. He was widely credited with modernising the club and overseeing the development of Anfield before he stepped down in 2000. He died aged 86 in January.

Wim Jansen: Dutchman Jansen only spent one season in charge of Celtic but notably claimed the Premiership title and in the process prevented Old Firm rivals Rangers winning a record-breaking 10th in a row. Jansen, who enjoyed a lengthy association with Feyenoord, also brought Henrik Larsson to Celtic Park but died at the age of 75 after living with dementia.

Des Drummond: Jamaican-born Drummond earned 24 caps for Great Britain after making a name for himself in rugby league at Leigh, where he guided them to the title in 1982. The winger also captained Warrington to Regal Trophy success in 1991. The RFL described him as “a player whose brilliance, athleticism and personality transcended the sport.” He died aged 64.

Tom Kiernan: Former British and Irish Lions captain Kiernan died at the age of 83 in February. He led the Lions in the 1968 tour to South Africa and won 54 caps for Ireland. After his retirement as a player, the former full-back would coach Ireland and perform several high-profile administrative roles like chairman of the Five Nations.

Sonny Ramadhin: A key member of the first West Indies side to win in England in 1950, Ramadhin died aged 92. He took career best figures of 11 for 152 at Lord’s during a series where he combined with Alf Valentine to take 59 wickets. He later represented Lancashire and saw his son-in-law Willie Hogg and grandson Kyle Hogg play for the county.

Rod Marsh: Revered wicketkeeper Marsh made 96 Test appearances for Australia and ended his career with a then-record 355 dismissals after he combined with partner in crime Dennis Lillee on 95 occasions. He also represented rivals England as head of their national academy before he was appointed a selector. A role he performed during the 2005 Ashes. He died at the age of 74 in March.

Shane Warne: Australian cricket was further rocked on March 4 by news of Warne’s sudden death aged 52. Regarded as one of the finest bowlers of all time, the larger-than-life character revived the art of leg-spin with 708 Test wickets. He was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century and bamboozled batters with his leg breaks, googlies, flippers and sliders. He held a long affinity with England, playing for Hampshire across a number of years and was also a key figure in a number of Ashes series. Melbourne Cricket Ground hosted a state funeral for Warne.

Tom Smith: Ex-Scotland captain Smith was integral to Lions winning in South Africa in 1997, starting all three Tests and retained his spot four years later in Australia. He guided his country to success in the final Five Nations, making 61 appearances for his nation. He died at the age of 50.

Andrew Symonds: Birmingham-born Symonds represented Australia more than 200 times and featured in two World Cup wins after he moved Down Under as a child. He did play for Kent, Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Surrey during a career. His death aged 46 was confirmed by Cricket Australia in May.

Maurice Lindsay: Rugby League innovator Lindsay was one of the architects behind the Super League and presided over a trophy-laden spell as Wigan’s chairman where they won eight league titles and eight Challenge Cups. He later become chief executive of the RFL and Super League. He died aged 81.

Lester Piggott: Unquestionably one of the greatest jockeys of all time, Piggott’s Classic haul included nine Derby victories and he was crowned champion jockey on 11 occasions. It was in 1954 aboard Never Say Die he clinched his first Derby win. Eight years later and 1966 proved his best season with 191 winners. He died at the age of 86.

Billy Bingham: Northern Irish great Bingham memorably guided his country to consecutive World Cups in 1982 and 1986, famously beating hosts Spain in the former. He was also capped 56 times as a player and won the First Division with Everton. Bingham led Northern Ireland to 1980 British Championship success and made Martin O’Neill the first Catholic to captain the country. He died aged 90 in June.

Phil Bennett: The former fly-half won two Five Nations titles and three Triple Crowns with Wales while also starring on the Lions tour of South Africa in 1974. He top-scored with 103 points for the tourists who were dubbed ‘The Invincibles’ after triumphing in 21 of their 22 matches, registering a 3-0 series win over the Springboks. He died at the age of 73.

Davie Wilson: An integral part of Rangers’ dominance in the 1960s, the forward ended his time at Ibrox with 159 goals. He also made 22 appearances for Scotland and later took Dumbarton into the top tier during his second spell as manager. Wilson died aged 85.

Andy Goram: The ‘Goalie’ died in July at the age of 58 after a short battle with cancer. A lengthy trophy-laden spell with Rangers brought five league titles and he was selected by Scotland for four major tournaments. Remains the only person to have represented his country in both football and cricket. He also had spells with Oldham and Manchester United before becoming a coach.

Uwe Seeler: Forward Seeler was Germany captain when they lost to England in the 1966 World Cup Final. He scored at that finals and three others to become the first player to find the net at four World Cups. He ended his international career with 43 goals and spent his entire 20 years with Hamburg, scoring a 404 goals. He died at the age of 85.

Terry Neill: Neill was one of the few managers to take charge of both Arsenal and Tottenham. He was Arsenal’s youngest ever captain as a player and would also lead his country Northern Ireland. He replaced Bill Nicholson at Spurs and would go on to manage his nation and ex-club Arsenal. He died aged 80.

John Hughes: The former Celtic winger helped the club reach two European Finals, he sat out their 1967 triumph over Inter Milan in Lisbon but played in the defeat to Feyenoord three years later. He scored 189 goals for the Scottish outfit with the majority under Jock Stein. He died at the age of 79 in August.

Rudi Koertzen: South African umpire for more than 100 Tests, including England’s series-clinching draw against Australia in 2005. It was Koertzen who removed the bails to confirm Michael Vaughan’s side had won the Ashes 2-1 to help them lift the Urn again for the first time in 18 years. He died aged 73.

Len Johnrose: Ex-Blackburn, Bury and Burnley defender Johnrose died at the age of 52. He had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease five years earlier and spent the latter part of his life raising funds for MND Association while he also set up his own Trust. He repeatedly called for greater player safety and urged heading to be removed for children, which has now been implemented by the FA for under-11s football training.

Rab Wardell: The mountain biker died aged 37 days after he had won the Scottish MTB XC Championships. His partner Katie Archibald, an Olympic champion, revealed she had tried to resuscitate Wardell after he suffered a cardiac arrest while they were lying in bed together. Wardell represented Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.

Eddie Butler: Number eight Butler won 16 caps for Wales and captained his country on several occasions while he also toured with the Lions in 1983 but it was in the commentary box where he prolonged his love affair with rugby. The “voice of Wales” did add colour with his broadcasting for various other sports and Olympics. He died aged 85 in his sleep during a charity trek in September.

Gian Piero Ventrone: Highly-respected fitness coach Ventrone’s sudden death in October aged 61 rocked Tottenham where he had worked for the previous 11 months. Ventrone followed Antonio Conte to Spurs and worked with him at several other clubs. His intense methods at Juventus in the early 90s were revolutionary and he also worked with Italy at the 2006 World Cup win.

Jimmy Millar: After he started as a half back, it was a move further up the pitch which promoted goalscoring success for Millar at Rangers. He scored 13 goals against Old Firm rivals Celtic during a spell where a plethora of silverware was won by the Ibrox club. He died at the age of 87 after a battle with dementia.

Brian Robinson: Cycling pioneer Robinson was the first Briton to complete the Tour de France or win any stages at the gruelling event, achieving the latter feat in both 1958 and 1959. He raced at the 1952 Olympics as well before his death aged 91.

Ronnie Radford: Scorer of one of the FA Cups best goals, Radford’s long-range stunner on a quagmire of a pitch for Hereford against top-flight side Newcastle helped the non-league club to a huge cup shock in 1972. It earned the Bulls and Radford instant fame, with the goal shown regularly in the ensuring years and BBC commentator John Motson later admitting it helped launch his own successful career. Radford died at the age of 79 in November.

David Johnson: Forward Johnson played for Liverpool and Everton and was the first person to score for both clubs in a Merseyside derby. He helped the Reds win three European crowns and four First Division titles. A key figure under Bobby Robson at Ipswich as well, ‘Doc’ died aged 71 with throat cancer.

Doddie Weir: The inspirational Weir earned 61 caps for Scotland and scored two tries against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup before with Newcastle he clinched Premiership success three years later. It was in 2017 when Weir’s diagnosis with motor neurone disease was revealed and his foundation would go on to raise £8million for MND research. His appearance at Murrayfield for Scotland’s Autumn Nations Series fixture with New Zealand proved his final public outing before his death at the age of 52.

Maurice Norman: Tottenham title-winner Norman died aged 88 after a lengthy battle with vascular dementia. He was a key figure in Spurs’ 1961 double win and went with England to two World Cups. He made 411 appearances for the north London club before he retired prematurely after suffering a broken leg.

Mills Lane: Inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame, Lane was the referee for numerous world title bouts including when Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield twice. Lane, with his shirt stained with blood, disqualified Tyson. He died aged 85 in December.

Pele: Pele burst on to the global scene as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup, helping Brazil to the first of their record five successes in the competition. Injury affected his contribution to the finals in 1962, when Brazil retained their title, and 1966, but he returned to lead his country to glory for a third time in Mexico in 1970, as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest line-up of all time. The sporting world mourned the legend's passing in late December.


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