The Northern Premier League

News Archive

 
Search : 

21 Nov 2021 : Linnets' 1990s Wembley favourite Graham Hill passes away

The Linnets are extremely saddened to report that popular former centre half Graham Hill, who twice played in the Yellow and Green at Wembley, has died after a long illness.

Graham, 55, had battled cancer for many years with the same redoubtable spirit and positive attitude that he showed on the football field.

He was very influential in Runcorn AFC reaching successive FA Trophy finals in the 1990s.

The Linnets lost to former Northern Ireland international Martin ONeill's Wycombe Wanderers in '93 and the following year, were beaten by Woking.

On both occasions, Runcorn were big underdogs. Just to reach the twin towers at a time when the club was under financial strife and hit by off-field disasters, including the destruction by fire of their main stand, was a huge achievement.

Graham in many ways epitomised the Linnets' Trophy final teams - genuine, brave, honest and committed.

But he and his team-mates also had ability in abundance, helping the club to punch well above its weight in the fifth tier of English football, the Vauxhall Conference (now known as the National League).

During Graham's time with the Linnets, the 1992 Bob Lord Trophy final was also reached, this being the League Challenge Cup for Conference sides.

Runcorn lost 2-1 on aggregate to Wycombe, having won the first leg at Canal Street 1-0.

Wycombe boss O'Neill reportedly took champagne into the away dressing room at Adams Park after the trophy presentation - such was his admiration for the Runcorn performances.

The Linnets camp around this was a tightly-knit unit, firm and long-standing friendships being formed between the players and management team led admirably by manager, John Carroll.

Graham and Arthur Williams, goalkeeper in both '90s Wembley appearances, had a particularly strong bond. After retirement from playing, they trained racing greyhounds together.

Many of the players, Graham included, were very sadly reunited in tribute to their former boss at John's funeral in 2016.

In the Runcorn Weekly News pre-match edition for the 1993 Trophy final, John described Graham as "an excellent on-field communicator", "a great competitor, strong in the air and a good marker" - in summary, "as good a centre half as there is in the Conference".

Graham joined Runcorn from Curzon Ashton, bringing family, including his parents, Gordon and Olivia, as supporters.

He later played against the Linnets for Leigh RMI with whom he had gained promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division as Division One runners-up in 1996-97.

The now defunct RMI reached the FA Cup first round in 1998-99, Graham starring in a 1-1 draw at Fulham, big spenders in the Second Division (equivalent of today's Championship).

The Cottagers won the Hilton Park replay 0-2.

Graham's other club as a player was Chorley. He went on to serve Brooklands Dragons Junior FC as head of coaches, a team manager and club secretary.

Horwich-born Graham was also a good cricketer, playing alongside brother Iain in the Bolton League, mostly for Westhoughton but also Farnworth SC.

Very sadly, Graham developed myeloma, a form of blood cancer, and POEMS syndrome, a rare blood disorder that damages the nerves.

He was unable to stand or walk freely and used a frame.

Before falling ill, he had been a national retail manager for construction services and materials firm, Hilti GB.

Runcorn Linnets send our deepest sympathy to Graham's wife Anne, their son Ryan, other family and friends at this very distressing time.

The funeral service is at 12 noon on Thursday, December 9th at St Paul's Church, Springfield Road, Sale, M33 YAA.

The cortege will leave, on foot, from Graham's home in Broadoaks Road for the short journey to St Paul's. Please arrive early, if travelling by car, to secure a parking place.

Interment will follow at Dunham Lawn Cemetery in Dunham Massey, Altrincham.

Photo credit: Runcorn Weekly News.

Recent Headlines

09 Aug : Runcorn Linnets announce new partnership with Kaizen

01 Aug : Rhain Hellawell heads out of APEC Taxis Stadium for pastures new

01 Aug : Under 21s bosses leave Runcorn Linnets

01 Aug : Dapo makes short-term move to Abbey Hey for personal reasons

29 Jul : Linnets' loan swoop for Chester starlets

27 Jul : Linnets loan deal for 18-year-old Chorley striker Callum McHale

27 Jul : Striker Josh Quarless is drafted into the Runcorn ranks

27 Jul : Tributes as 1970s midfieldman Alan Pye passes away

23 Jul : Goalkeeper Danny Taberner joins Runcorn Linnets for second time

17 Jul : Reductions at the turnstile for home friendlies

14 Jul : Start to the season looks familiar for Runcorn Linnets

13 Jul : 2022-23 player sponsorship is open - make your choice now.

08 Jul : Away draws in the FA Cup and FA Trophy

05 Jul : Linnets land Sam Heathcote from West Didsbury & Chorlton

05 Jul : 6ft 4in defender Tom Moore looking to hit the heights with Linnets

24 Jun : Ex-Forest forward Nialle Rodney arrives at the APEC

24 Jun : Meet the Manager evening in clubhouse on Friday, July 1st

22 Jun : RIP John Roach - Linnets fan across eight decades

19 Jun : Iwan Murray bids farewell to Linnets

17 Jun : Ryan Brooke leaves Runcorn Linnets for Rylands after U-turn

16 Jun : Dapo back on the attack for Linnets next season

14 Jun : Billy Paynter completes backroom staff at Runcorn Linnets

14 Jun : Rhain Hellawell hungry for more in 2022-23

10 Jun : Linnets sign Spanish midfielder Sidi from Macclesfield

08 Jun : Sean O'Mahony named as new vice-captain

07 Jun : James Short promoted to club captain at Runcorn Linnets

07 Jun : Stalwart skipper Peter Wylie departs for City of Liverpool

07 Jun : Let's Go Wild to Support the Budget

06 Jun : Five more deals done by busy boss

06 Jun : Jamie Rainford appointed assistant manager

Webb's of Runcorn
Cardiac Risk in the Young
Charter Standard Club
Respect FC - Uniting against the ugly side of football


Site Last Updated
21:15 10/8/2022

This site has had 6190976 Visitors


For comments, questions or corrections please Contact Us.
Payments can be made to the club through our Online Checkout facility via our payment page.
The site and its content are Copyright 2001-2022 Runcorn Linnets FC. All rights reserved.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
This site uses Cookies. If you do not consent to this, then please switch them off in your browser, or leave now.