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A tribute to Roger Hynd

The Club have made me feel wanted ever since.

Roger Hynd talking in 2016
Widely regarded as one of the finest centre-halves in Birmingham City’s history, Roger was born in the valleys of North Ayrshire, Scotland, in February 1942.

The nephew of former Liverpool managerial great Bill Shankly, he joined Glasgow Rangers as a teenager, whilst combining his early playing career with his studies at the Scottish School of Physical Education, where he trained to be teacher.

Despite being mostly a squad player during his decade at Ibrox, he memorably started the 1967 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Bayern Munich as a centre-forward. Rangers eventually lost out to Franz Roth’s extra-time strike.

He made the move south of the border to sign for Crystal Palace in 1969, making 30 appearances in the First Division, as his new side narrowly avoided relegation.

Roger enjoyed his first season in English football and held no great desire to move away from Selhurst Park. But when he was approached by Freddie Goodwin to join his newly-acquired Blues team, it was an offer he couldn’t turn down.

In an interview with the Blues News matchday programme earlier this season, Roger recalled: “I moved to Birmingham because they impressed me and my football life really began there.

“I had a good year at Crystal Palace, I must admit that, and I would have stayed but when I talked to Freddie Goodwin and he showed me around and talked about his plans for the Club and what he thought I could do, he made me feel wanted. And the Club have made me feel wanted ever since.”
 
A robust, tough-tackling defender on the pitch, yet a modest and unassuming man off it, Roger became a hugely popular character with fans and team-mates alike. 

In his first season, he missed just two matches. And he was ever-present the year after, as Blues pipped Millwall to automatic promotion and reached the FA Cup semi-final. While the attackers grabbed the headlines, Roger gave them the solid foundation from which to prosper.

“I’ll always remember the excitement of getting promoted after the game at Leyton Orient (a 1-0 win in the final match of the season). The emotion of that night was out of this world,” he said “Getting promotion with Birmingham was definitely the highlight of my whole career.”

The return to the flight was a successful one too, with seven wins from the final eight games securing a 10th placed finish. As part of that impressive run, Blues beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 at St. Andrew’s with Hynd grabbing one of the goals.

He remained with the Club until 1975, playing more than 200 games in total. A wholehearted and uncompromising defender, he also prided himself on his fastidious preparation and high levels of fitness.

Roger left Blues in 1975 to join Walsall. After three years at Fellows Park, he made a short-lived move into management with Motherwell before returning to follow his early ambitions of becoming a PE teacher.

But Blues were never far from his thoughts and when he spotted a potential future star, he was quick to get in contact with his former club. Andrew Barrowman came down to Blues on Roger’s recommendation and, although things didn’t quite work out here, the striker went on to enjoy a decent career in the game.

Despite being diagnosed with terminal Cancer a few years ago, Roger maintained a positive and cheery outlook and was a popular attendee at get-togethers of the Birmingham City Former Players' Association, most recently in October of last year.

Roger was inducted into Blues’ Hall of Fame in March 2012. The recognition was richly deserved but still came as a shock for the self-effacing Scotsman.

“That was a night to remember. I burst into tears that night; I couldn’t believe it,” he admitted.

“I thought it was an honour for famous folk, internationals like Trevor (Francis) and Bob (Latchford). Outside of my playing career that was my best moment in football. When I go back to Birmingham it’s like going home.”

Roger sadly passed away on Saturday. The Club would like to send its sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

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