Ex-Chelsea and Arsenal footballer John Hollins dies aged 76 as tributes flood in

John Hollins, who played for the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers during his professional career, has died at the age of 76. Hollins enjoyed two separate spells with the Blues before going on to manage them after hanging up his boots, while he also made over 100 appearances for both Arsenal and QPR as a player.

Hollins, who started out as a midfielder but later played at full-back, also earned a single international cap with England against Spain in 1967. He was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1982 before going on to manage a number of lower-league clubs, including the likes of Swansea City, Rochdale, Stockport County and Crawley Town, after leaving his post as Chelsea boss in 1988.

Tributes have been pouring in for Hollins since the news of his death was announced on Wednesday, with his son Chris among those to have been singing his praises via Chelsea’s official website.

“John was always so modest about the role he played in Chelsea’s history,” said Chris, who is a sports presenter and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2009.

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“He was only 15 when he signed for the club and went on to win trophies in those incredible sides of the ’60s and ’70s. He had so many stories, but he always told us he just loved running out at the Bridge and wearing that famous blue shirt. We will miss him as a husband, a father and grandfather and will always be proud of what he achieved in the game.”

Chelsea board member Daniel Finkenstein also paid tribute to Hollins by adding: “We were so sorry to hear of the death of John Hollins. He was a hero to the fans of this club, and very much that to me.

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“He was at the heart of one of Chelsea’s greatest teams and, as well as contributing to its trophy success, he expressed its spirit. He lifted up the team with his play and lit up the Bridge with his smile.

“He gave a life of service to this club, as a player, as a manager and as a match-day ambassador. He was greatly loved and will be much missed.”

Meawhile, an official club statement released by Arsenal read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John Hollins. Our Player of the Year in 1981/82, John was also a European Cup Winners’ Cup finalist in 1980 and was awarded an MBE in 1982. John scored 13 times in 173 games with us. Rest in peace.”

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