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Tributes paid to ex-England and Arsenal player Ron Saxby, former pupil of Homewood School, Tenterden, who has died

Tributes have been paid to a former Homewood School pupil who played for Arsenal.

Ron Saxby, 82, was born in Tenterden on October 24, 1937 and played for Kent and England schoolboys, making his Arsenal debut in a 3-2 victory against West Ham for the 'A' team in August 1953.

A regular in the youth team, he took part in Arsenal's first-ever international youth tournament in Amsterdam in the 1954-55 season, where the Gunners were runners-up.

Former Arsenal player Ron Saxby has died. Picture: The Arsenal History
Former Arsenal player Ron Saxby has died. Picture: The Arsenal History

He was also got a call-up for England's youth team and played against the Netherlands at Norwich.

Saxby played for the 'A' team, youth team and reserves, notching up a total of 164 appearances for The Gunners, plus one substitute appearance, resulting in a total of 55 goals.

He had to do his National Service in 1956, returning to Highbury in 1958, where he struggled to retain his place in the reserves, but continued to play a "major part" in the 'A' team, according to the website The Arsenal History, which has documented his career.

After being granted a free transfer in the summer of 1959, Saxby joined Hastings United, then Tunbridge Wells Rangers, before returning to Hastings. He later became manager of Bexhill United and then Rye United, before becoming boss of the Royal Mail's south-east England team.

His successor at the Royal Mail and friend Alex Hasleham said: "When I took over [The Royal Mail side] it was a difficult job, the area covered Hampshire, Surrey. Kent, Sussex and Berkshire, Ron's help to me then was invaluable."

He added: "Ron absolutely loved football and was always ready to help in any way he could, was always good company and although proud of his achievements remained humble and was a thoroughly decent man."

Ron died on November 14 2019 and his funeral was held last month.

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