Scunthorpe United is saddened to learn of the passing of former player Len Sharpe, aged 88.
Born locally, versatile defender Sharpe spent a total of 12 years at his hometown club, initially signing for the first team in the close season of 1950, as the side were gearing up for their first-ever campaign in the league.
Prior to signing officially in 1950, he had been associated with Scunthorpe Boys as early as 1946. His progression saw him rise through the juniors, to the reserve team and then onto the first team. Len played a handful of games for the first team prior to the club gaining Football League status, but he wouldn't make his senior debut for the side until a year after signing in September 1951 against Crewe Alexandra.
The defender, most prominently a right-back during his time with the club, would experience silverware in 1957-68 when the Iron won the Division Three North as Champions. He would step up well to the new level of football, making 43 appearances in all competitions in 1959-60.
Two seasons later and, with the club almost reaching the heights of the First Division, Sharpe was still playing a part in the side, but that would be his final year at Scunthorpe United.
He departed the club having made 199 senior appearances, scoring six goals.
He would go north of the bridge in his next move, signing for Hull City for a fee of £750 and would stay with the Tigers until the summer of 1966 when he would move onto Goole Town.
That affinity with Scunthorpe brought him back soon after though in March 1967, as he returned as a player/coach. The playing side would only come in the reserves, and he would stay with the club until the following summer when he went to play for, and manage, Ashby Institute.
He would also manage Barton Town and Brigg Town before retiring from the game. He also worked as a fitter for his brother’s firm, Archer & Sharpe, before joining British Steel.
Len has been residing at St Mary’s care home in Scunthorpe and had shared his views on his time in football on their website, stating: "I am really proud of my football career. Playing for my hometown club and the team that I supported was the only thing I ever wanted to do. It was very rare to see me without a ball at my feet."
He continued to be a fan of the Iron into his later years and frequently was seen standing behind the goal supporting his hometown club.
The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the club are with Len's family and friends.