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Luton and England goalkeeper Ron Baynham dies aged 94

Black and white photo of Ron Baynham with short hair on a football pitch
Ron Baynham made 434 appearances for Luton Town

Former Luton Town and England goalkeeper Ron Baynham has died at the age of 94.

Baynham made 434 appearances for the Hatters, arriving in 1951 and playing his last game for them in 1965.

He earned three international caps and Luton Town said he was England's oldest surviving international player at the time of his death.

He was always greeted with warm applause when he visited Kenilworth Road in later life, the club said.

"He had been back several times since, where his appearances on the pitch at half-time were met with rapturous applause, despite him saying that no-one would remember him," said Luton Town historian Roger Wash, who has written an obituary for the club's website.

Born in Birmingham in 1929, Baynham fell in love with cricket as a child.

He was introduced to football when his brother formed a team and "dumped" Baynham in goal, thinking that was the best place for him - wrote Mr Wash.

Baynham was offered a trial with Wolverhampton Wanderers after being spotted by a scout, but he turned it down.

He joined Worcester City instead and, two years later, he was offered another trial, this time at Kenilworth Road where he signed on in exchange for £1,000.

The Hatters won promotion to Division One in 1955 and Baynham flew to Copenhagen that same year, where he helped England thrash Denmark 5-1.

He was capped twice more, against Northern Ireland and Spain.

Ron Baynham and Billy Wright wearing suits stand outside an aeroplane
Ron Baynham (right) joined Billy Wright and the rest of the England team en route to Denmark in 1955

The year 1959 saw Luton face Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup final. It was the pinnacle of Baynham's playing career, but a bittersweet moment.

According to the club, Baynham described it as the "biggest disappointment" of his career and added: "Sadly, the team that day did not play like the team I knew."

In September 1960, he fractured his skull during a home game against Sheffield United but recovered well enough to carry on playing.

His final appearance in goal came in a reserve game in 1965 when he was forced to play despite a serious pelvic injury.

Mr Wash remembered him at the club's FA Cup final 40th anniversary celebrations in 1999 and said he "proved the life and soul of the party".

Baynham worked as a painter and decorator, as well as at Luton Airport, before retiring to live in Silsoe, Bedfordshire.


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