Former Town winger Tony Flower dies aged 74

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Tony Flower, a key member of Alan Ball’s Halifax Town side which achieved promotion from the Fourth Division in 1968-69, has died aged 74.

Outside right Flower had arrived the previous season, signed by Ball’s predecessor Vic Metcalfe from Notts County, where he had started his career.

Flower signed professional forms with the Magpies in January 1962 and was handed his league debut on the left wing by manager Tim Coleman, the legendary former Shay star of the twenties.

He joined Halifax Town along with club mate Ivan Hampton in June 1967 and immediately demonstrated his ability, scoring the opening goal from a Les Massie pull-back in the 66th minute of his debut in the 2-0 win over Darlington, and became an important member of the side.

But following Metcalfe’s dismissal and the installation of Alan Ball as manager in November 1967, Flower was soon at loggerheads with his new boss, slapping in a transfer request having been disciplined and fined a ‘substantial figure’ for missing a training session on Christmas Day.

Valued at £5,000 there were no takers, so Flower knuckled down and continued to provide a threat in Town’s attack, helping the side reach the third round of the FA Cup before bowing out 4-2 to Birmingham City at The Shay.

However, the following season Flower was initially overlooked on the right wing in favour of Hugh Ryden, but came back into the side in November following

injury to Ryden, and scoring on his return in the 3-0 defeat on non-league Bilston in the first round of the FA Cup.

Thereafter, Flower became an integral part of that side, one which not only reached the fourth round of that competition and took First Division Stoke City to a replay after a 1-1 draw at the Victoria Ground, but also mounted a promotion challenge that was ultimately successful, although Flower was forced to sit out the penultimate match against Rochdale when promotion was clinched having failed a fitness test on a badly bruised right ankle.

Nevertheless, Flower was part of the side which played its first Third Division match for six years as Town defeated Shrewsbury Town 1-0 on 9 August 1969, but he soon fell out of favour with manager Ball.

After losing his place in the side following the signing of Dave Chadwick, Flower had his contract cancelled by the club in February 1970 for what was termed ‘breaches of club discipline’, having played his last game for the club in the 1-0 defeat of Southport the previous December, bringing his total Halifax appearances tally to 94, with 14 goals.

Flower dropped into the Northern Premier League with Boston United and ended his playing days by making three appearances for Ilkeston Town during the 1971-72 campaign.

Thanks to Halifax Town historian Johnny Meynell for his help with this article.