Sheffield United captain Cliff dies at age of 83

Cliff Mason'ex-Sheffield United
Cliff Mason'ex-Sheffield United

Former Sheffield United captain Cliff Mason – who helped steer the club to First Division promotion in 1961 – has died aged 83.

Cliff, who lived in Trap Lane, Bents Green, joined the Blades in 1955 as a left back after starting his career as a professional at Darlington.

He stayed at the club until he was recruited by Don Revie in the 1961-62 season to help Leeds United stave off relegation to the Third Division.

His son Simon said it had been a big step up for Cliff to join United from a much lower league.

He said: “The club needed cover for Cec Coldwell as he had been called up for National Service. After only six games they made him captain – he was good at reading the game and he was an organiser.

“Among his proudest memories were games against Blackpool and Preston in the Fifties when he was up against Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney – he has a newspaper cutting that was headlined ‘Matthews manacled’!”

Cliff was also part of United’s FA Cup run in 1961 which saw the club lose to Leicester City in the semi-finals after two replays.

Simon said: “He was bought by Revie as he needed a wise old head at a time when the Leeds side was full of talented young players like Terry Cooper, Peter Lorrimer and Billy Bremner. He was there at the start of that era.”

Cliff had seasons with Scunthorpe and Chesterfield before he retired in 1966, working as a salesman before starting his own engineering business C&M selling machine tools.

Club historian John Garrett said: “Once again Sheffield United are saddened to hear that another of our former players has passed on to a higher league.

“Cliff was a classy player who went on to make 118 appearances scoring three goals. He stayed in the area where he ran several successful businesses for many years and was always a welcome face at player reunions down the years – all at the Blades send their condolences to his family and friends.”