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Tributes paid to popular former footballer and assistant boss Laurie Craker

Tributes have been paid to former Maidenhead United captain, Laurie Craker, who passed away on May 16.

Laurie started his playing career at Chelsea and Watford before injuries forced him out of the professional game. He went on to play for numerous local clubs, including Maidenhead United in 1983 where he was made club captain, scoring twice in 30 appearances for the Magpies under Brian Caterer and Colin Lippiatt.

But arguably his greatest achievements in football came after he hung up his boots. A popular figure in the dressing room Laurie had stints in management for teams including Windsor & Eton FC, however, it was as an assistant boss that Laurie’s talents really shone.

Alongside manager Dave Russell he was a member of the Blues’ coaching staff that guided Marlow to remarkable cup successes in the early 1990s.

They reached the first round proper of the FA Cup before trumping that by making it through to the third round in 1993, earning a home tie against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

The game was switched to White Hart Lane and, although the Blues were beaten 5-1, it remains to this day one of the proudest moments in the club’s history.

During this purple patch the Blues also defeated Wycombe Wanderers to lift the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup.

Laurie was then named Russell’s assistant at Slough Town from the start of the 1993/94 season.

After dropping out of professional football, Laurie had spells with Hayes and Chesham United before signing for the Magpies in the summer of 1993. He may only have had one season with the Magpies, but Laurie remained a familiar face at York Road thanks to his long-standing involvement in local football, and the fact his son Lewis played 35 times for the Magpies during Alan Devonshire’s first spell as boss in the early 2000s.

Living in High Wycombe Laurie also worked alongside his father in the thatching trade but within the football world he’s fondly remembered for his achievements as a player, coach, manager and assistant manager. After his time with Slough, Laurie enjoyed spells with Flackwell Heath and Kingstonian before assisting Martin Stone at Burnham, helping the Blues to promotion from the Southern League Division 1 Central.

“Everyone at Maidenhead United sends their sincere condolences to Lewis and the rest of the Craker family at this sad time,” said club director Steve Jinman.

A statement on the Slough Town website added: “All at Slough Town Football Club were saddened to learn of the passing of former assistant manager Laurie Craker. We extend our sympathies to Laurie’s family and his many friends in football.”

On Twitter, Marlow FC – where he enjoyed perhaps his finest moments in the game – simply said: “Legend. Thoughts are with his family from all at Marlow FC.”

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