TRIBUTES have been paid to former Sunderland midfielder Mick Buckley, who has died aged 59.
The tenacious player was at Roker Park from 1978 to 1983, making over 120 appearances for the club after being transferred from Everton in an £80,000 deal.
He was an important part of the side which gained promotion to the First Division in the 1979/80 season.
Sunderland FA Cup-winning captain Bobby Kerr, who played alongside Mick, said today: “I was shocked to hear that Mick has died. I’d never really heard much about him since he finished playing, but it’s very sad.
“He was a quiet lad, but a very good footballer.”
Following Mick’s spell at Sunderland, he played for other Northern clubs Hartlepool United, Carlisle United and Middlesbrough before retiring. In 2008, he admitted that he had become an alcoholic, but managed to turn his life around thanks to help from the Everton Former Players’ Foundation.
However, he died on Monday, just weeks short of his 60th birthday, following a long illness.
A spokesman for Sunderland AFC said: “Sunderland AFC are saddened to hear of the death of Mick after a long battle with illness. Mick was held in high regard during his five years as a player, making a great contribution to the club. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”