A FORMER SAFC goalkeeper has died, aged just 54.
After earning his stripes as an England youth international and at Blackpool FC, Iain Hesford made 114 appearances for Sunderland during two seasons on Wearside between 1986 and 1989.
The Black Cats paid £80,000 for the keeper in 1986 and he went on to finish runner-up to Eric Gates in the Player of the Year award in 1988.
Iain started the 1988-89 season with the Black Cats but, after making 24 appearances, he moved to Hull City for a six-figure sum in December 1988.
A spokesman from SAFC said: “Everyone at Sunderland AFC was very saddened to hear that Iain has passed away. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this most difficult time.”
Blackpool FC, for whom Iain made more than 200 league appearances in six years, issued a statement saying: “Condolences go out to his family at this sad time.”