TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Burnley and England goalkeeper and visionary coach.

Tony Waiters, who died at the age of 83, finished his playing career at Turf Moor at the start of the 1970s.

He had just joined the coaching staff at Burnley when he came out of retirement following an injury to Peter Mellor to make his Clarets debut in the First Division in August, 1970 at the age of 33.

Tony went on to make 42 appearances for the club before retiring for good as a player in December, 1971 to become Director of Coaching at Coventry City.

The Southport-born goalkeeper had previously played over 250 top-flight games for Blackpool and won five England caps in 1964.

Following his stay at Turf Moor, Waiters enjoyed an outstanding coaching and managerial career.

After working at Highfield Road and he managed Plymouth Argyle, leading the Pilgrims to one of the most successful spells in their history.

At Home Park, he was also a guiding light for goalkeeper Martin Hodge, who went on to enjoy a prolific top-flight career and is now a senior member of the Clarets’ scouting department.

Waiters led Plymouth to the semi-finals of the League Cup in 1973/74 - beating Burnley at Turf Moor on the way - and promotion to the old Second Division the following season before moving to Canada in 1977.

In tribute on the Burnley Fc website it mentioned he was regarded as a 'visionary coach and a manager well ahead of his time'

It added: "Waiters led Vancouver Whitecaps to unprecedented success as North America Soccer League champions for the first time in 1979 before coaching Canada’s national team and leading them to both the Olympics and the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico.

"He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001 and is fondly remembered on both sides of the Atlantic as an outstanding contributor to the game.