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Sports Review of the Year 2000
Sports Review of the Year Legends remembered

By BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh

The sporting world said farewell to some of its most famous names in the year 2000.

Football was hit hard, particularly in the north of England, by the loss of stars who had graced the game throughout the 20th century.

In the year when Wembley's Twin Towers were consigned to history, the man who starred in one of the stadium's most famous FA Cup finals died.

Sir Stanley Matthews died in hospital following a fall in Tenerife. He was 85. Matthews, the 'Wizard of Dribble', was most vividly remembered for his role in the 1953 final.

It became known as The Matthews Final after he inspired Blackpool to a 4-3 win over Bolton at the age of 38. Forty seven years on, more than 100,000 people lined the streets of his home town Stoke-on-Trent to say goodbye.

Diminutive ex-Middlesbrough and England forward Wilf Mannion died in April. Although only 5ft 4ins tall, he left behind a big reputation.

Blackburn was in mourning over the loss of millionaire businessman Jack Walker, who bank-rolled the resurgence at Ewood Park, which culminated in Rovers winning the Premiership title in 1995.

Sunderland's ex-England striker Len Shackleton, affectionately known as the Clown Prince for antics such as sitting on the ball during games, died in hospital at the age of 78. He never fully recovered after suffering a heart attack.

The respected Northern Ireland football official Harry Cavan, a former vice-president of Fifa, also died.

Cricket said farewell to one of the sport's true gentlemen - Lord Cowdrey, a sublime batsman and great ambassador for the sport. Christened Michael Colin Cowdrey, even his initials were steeped in cricket.

Former England cricketer Brian Statham, 69, died in June.

Tributes were paid following the death of ex-England rugby union captain Bernard Gadney.

The 91-year-old was both the oldest surviving England international player and international captain in the world.

Politicians and diplomats were among those who paid their respects to four-time Olympic gold medal-winning runner Emil Zatopek, who died at 78 after a long illness.

Nicknamed the 'Czech Locomotive', Zatopek triumphed in the 5,000m, 10,000m and the marathon.

In October, the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil came to a standstill for the funeral of its famous son - the former world featherweight champion Howard Winston.

Tragedy struck in the summer when Northern Ireland's motorcycling hero Joey Dunlop, the five-times world champion, was killed in a road race crash in Estonia. He was 48.

In Austria, an alpine train inferno - which saw more than 150 people perish - claimed the life of 19-year-old world junior skiing champion Sandra Schmitt, of Germany.

And Gino Bartali, one of the very finest Italian cyclists who won the Tour de France 10 years apart in 1938 and 1948, died aged 85.

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