Stoke City promotion winner Viv Busby dies at 74

Viv Busby helped Stoke City win promotion to the top flight in 1979.
Viv Busby helped Stoke City win promotion to the top flight in 1979. -Credit:Sentinel

Former Stoke City forward Viv Busby has died at the age of 74.

Busby was brought into Stoke by George Eastham from Norwich in the autumn of 1977. He would form part of a hard-working if not prolific front line - alongside Brendan O'Callaghan, Garth Crooks and Paul Randall - that would win a dramatic promotion to the top flight under Alan Durban in 1979.

He made 18 appearances through that season and scored important goals in the run-in; in a 1-1 draw at Leicester and a brace in a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers. Those games were part of a nail-biting run of seven matches in 24 April days before third place was secured thanks to a 1-0 final day win at Notts County on May 5.

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Busby, who had previously also played for Luton Town and Fulham, would feature less frequently the following term although he did cut his teeth as a coach by running the Cheadle Town team.

He moved on loan to Sheffield United before a spell in the North American Soccer League and back in the UK with Blackburn Rovers. He reached the FA Cup final with Fulham in 1974.

He ended his career at York City, where he was reunited with his old Stoke teammate Denis Smith and won the Division Four title in 1984. They would coach together successfully at York and Sunderland through the 1980s and early 1990s, winning the Division Three title and promotion to Division One with the latter.

Busby would later have a brief spell as manager of Hartlepool United and overcame leukaemia while working as a youth coach with Swindon Town at the turn of the century. He also worked at clubs including Everton, Grenta and Workington.

Stoke City said in a tribute: "The thoughts and condolences of everyone connected with Stoke City are with Viv’s family and friends at this difficult time."

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