Blackburn Rovers are saddened to hear of the passing of former player Graham Hawkins.
Hawkins, who was 70, made 121 appearances for the club, scoring four goals - the first of which came on his home debut at Ewood Park.
Signed from Preston North End, by then Rovers manager Gordon Lee,
Hawkins was a vital, ever-present member of the 1974-75 Third Division championship-winning side.
A formidable presence in Rovers’ defence, Hawkins was famed for not shirking a challenge and his ability to lead the side from the back.
Tall and blonde, Hawkins’ physical stature was more than matched by his defensive qualities and commitment, as he helped Rovers claim their first silverware since winning the Second Division title in 1939.
His impressive displays during the Third Division title-winning season earned Hawkins a place in the 1974-75 PFA Team of the Year.
Following his title-winning success, Hawkins continued his good form to ensure Rovers remained in the Second Division over the following three seasons until his departure to Port Vale in January 1978.
Hawkins would go on to manage Wolves, the club he began his career with, and guide them to the top flight in 1983, 16 years after helping them do so as a player.
His involvement with Rovers had not come to an end after his playing days were over, as he had a brief spell as a coach for the reserve team and, in 1990, he would undertake the role of chief scout.
In August 2009 he was diagnosed with low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma and subsequently underwent chemotherapy at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital. Despite this, he continued to raise funds for Shrewsbury’s Royal Hospital cancer unit.
Hawkins would return to Ewood Park in May 2015, to attend the celebration of the two championship-winning teams from 1975 and 1995, recalling fond memories of the historic campaign.
Blackburn Rovers would like to extend its condolences to Graham’s family and friends at this sad time.