Obituary – Cliff Lloyd

Wednesday, January 12 – 2000
Footballer whose biggest victory came after he hung up his boots

Cliff Lloyd, who has died aged 83, made a mark in two areas of football – first as a reliable, competent fullback in Fulham’s second division team just after the war, and then in his marathon spell as secretary to the Professional Footballers’ Association, initially known as the Players’ Union.

He was an immensely amiable, dedicated figure, the perfect foil to the more flamboyant and innovative Jimmy Hill, who became the PFA chairman and, as such, fought such a bitter battle before achieving the end of the iniquitous £20 maximum wage for footballers in 1961. Lloyd, it is fair to say, could hardly have won such a battle, but his loyal and consistent support unquestionably helped Hill to achieve his and the PFA’s aim.

Cliff Lloyd, from Daily Mirror, April 14 - 1964.

When the pair appeared on television, as they often did while the conflict raged on, Lloyd in effect played the straight man to Hill. His approach was rational, principled and logical, and he pointed out that a great deal more than money was at stake. Rather it was a question of the status of the professional footballer, though you would never hear Lloyd mouth the old cliché, so familiar when the ebullient Jimmy Guthrie spoke for the Players’ Union, of “soccer slaves”.

It must have been a great disappointment to Lloyd that, just when he had reached agreement in early December 1960 with the dour secretary of the Football League, Alan Hardaker, on a compromise plan, the League’s committee should promptly amend it.

On June 11 1963, Lloyd had the nerve-racking experience of spending two long hours in the witness box in the high court, when the Newcastle United and Arsenal inside forward George Eastham, backed by Fulham’s millionaire chairman Ernie Clay, successfully challenged the League’s retain and transfer system, so making it possible for players to move at the end of their contracts. The eventual judgment was a triumph for the players and the PFA, Mr Justice Wilberforce opining that the contract, as it stood, was restraint of trade.

Lloyd also played a key role in negotiations in 1974 over potential freedom of contract for footballers, though the elaborate mathematical transfer fee formula worked out with Hardaker, based on a Dutch model, was not eventually adopted.

Born in Wrexham, Lloyd, a promising young fullback, was signed by Liverpool in 1936, following in the wake of his footballer father. Perhaps he would have gone further but for the second world war, in which he served in the army. He played as a guest for Wrexham, Fulham and Brentford, and joined Fulham when the war ended. On leaving there he coached the Lisleby club in Norway, before joining the PFA.

He became secretary of the players’ trade union in 1953 and remained in office for a remarkable 28 years. The present chairman of the PFA, Gordon Taylor, declared: “Today’s footballers have every reason to be grateful for the hard work and dedication that Cliff Lloyd showed on their behalf. His contribution was a keystone in the success of the PFA.”

A man of easy charm and constant good humour, Lloyd was made an OBE in 1975 for services to football. It was greatly deserved.

His wife predeceased him, and he leaves a daughter.

Cliff Lloyd, footballer and administrator, born November 14 1916; died January 10 2000.
(Copyright: The Guardian, Brian Glanville, 12-01-2000)

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