Clarets legend Ralph Coates is seriously ill in a Bedfordshire hospital after suffering two strokes.

The 64-year-old, who now lives in St Albans, is understood to have suffered a mild stroke on Monday followed by a more serious stroke on Wednesday.

He is currently being treated in the intensive care unit at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

A Burnley FC spokesman said: “We are very distressed about the news, especially considering it comes so soon after after the stroke suffered by Gary Parkinson.

“All of our thoughts and best wishes are with Ralph and his family at this difficult time. He is still very fondly remembered at Burnley.”

Originally from County Durham, Coates came to Turf Moor as a youth player in 1962 and graduated to the first team within two years.

Playing alongside the likes of Willie Irvine, Andy Lochhead and Ray Pointer, he helped the Clarets to a third-placed finish in the 1966-67 season.

Later his skills proved invaluable as the side progressed to the semi-finals of the League Cup and qualified for European football. He notched up 257 appearances in Claret and Blue, scoring 32 goals.

He played eight times for England under-23s, before Alf Ramsey awarded him the first of four full England caps against Northern Ireland at Wembley in April 1970.

He transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in 1971, for just under £200,000, where he was part of League Cup and UEFA Cup winning teams, before seeing out his career at Leyton Orient.

Working in a variety of roles after his retirement from the game, including running a sports centre in Chelmsford, he still worked as a matchday host at Spurs’ White Hart Lane ground.

A Tottenham Hotspur spokesman said: “It is understood that he had a mild stroke on Monday and then a serious stroke on Wednesday.”

Officials from the London club are liaising closely with Coates’ family.