FORMER Taunton Town Football Club manager Ernie Price has died aged 86.

Sport-mad Mr Price, a former professional footballer, died at Musgrove Park Hospital yesterday (February 25) after a three-year battle with illness. He leaves behind wife Joyce, 79, son John, 55, and daughter Sue, 51.

Paying tribute to her husband, Mrs Price said: “His life was sport - he was very much into it. He played football in his early days and then we were both into bowls.”

After starting out as a police officer in the North-East, Mr Price was spotted playing football by a talent scout and signed for Darlington.

His professional career then took him to Crystal Palace, Weymouth, Bideford and then Taunton as the club’s first player-manager in the 1950s.

Mrs Price, of Belvedere Road, added: “He was a prominent person and was well-liked by a lot of people.

“After football he stayed in Taunton and has been here ever since. Over the last three years he became ill and lost a lot of weight.”

Mr Price was a member of Taunton Deane bowls club as well as Taunton Pickeridge golf club. He also enjoyed a game of snooker at St Andrew’s.

However due to emphysema, a long-term lung disease, the stalwart was bedridden for three years and was recently admitted to hospital.

“I was just trying to sort out getting him into a care home before I went to see him in hospital,” Mrs Price reflected. “I was there when he died.

“He wouldn’t have enjoyed going in a home and this was probably a release for him.”

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