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Tributes paid after Imps legend passes away

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Tributes have been paid to one of Lincoln City's "all-time legends" following his death on Tuesday.

The club said its former striker Percy Freeman, 70, who was born in Nottinghamshire, had been "suffering from ill health for some time".

Former England manager Graham Taylor, who bought Mr Freeman back to Lincoln for a second spell, said he was a hugely "influential" player.

Mr Freeman had also played for West Brom, Reading and Boston United.

Chris Cook, who played under Mr Freeman at Boston Town, described the former striker as a "gentleman".

He said: "He was a gentle giant, he could also be a strong man in the dressing room but a very lovely man."

Percy Freeman, who scored 76 goals in 166 appearances for The Imps, grew up in Newark and was later bought by West Bromwich Albion in 1968, as cover for England forward Jeff Astle.

Unable to break into the side, he joined Lincoln on a free transfer and ended the season with 14 goals.

He later briefly left football following a move to Reading FC, to work in scaffolding, before moving back to Sincil Bank where he helped get the club promoted to the third division.

Graham Taylor, who managed Lincoln City from 1972-77, said: "It's very very sad. He was a very influential part in the success of Lincoln at that particular time.

"He was very dangerous in the penalty box, a hard man to stop."

Journalist Grahame Lloyd tweeted that Freeman was a "classic bustling number 9 - a wild animal released from cage just before kick-off".

Lincoln City said its thoughts were with Mr Freeman's family and friends at this "extremely sad time".

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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