Leeds & West Yorkshire

Garforth chairman pays tribute to Brazil legend Socrates

Socrates and Garforth team-mates
Image caption Socrates (left) joined non-league club Garforth Town for one month in 2004

The chairman of a West Yorkshire football club has paid tribute to former Brazil captain Socrates, who has died in Sao Paulo at the age of 57.

Socrates joined Leeds non-league club Garforth Town in 2004 at the age of 50 in a one-month deal.

Club chairman Simon Clifford said the Brazilian had played a key part in securing Garforth's promotion from the Northern Counties East League.

Mr Clifford said Socrates had shown "great grace" playing for Garforth.

He said he was devastated to hear of the death of a man he considered to be his friend.

"We had fun together. We were very like-minded and I will miss him," he said.

Mr Clifford said he last spoke to Socrates at the end of the summer when the former Brazil captain was released from hospital after suffering from bleeding in his digestive tract.

'Kind of magic'

Socrates made his Northern Counties East League debut as a player for Garforth Town in the club's 2-2 draw with Tadcaster Albion in November 2004.

Mr Clifford said when he originally asked Socrates to play for Garforth Town he agreed "straight away".

"He showed great grace in playing for me. He took no money for playing," said Mr Clifford.

Mr Clifford said during his time at Garforth, Socrates had "lifted" the club and had made it possible for the team to later win promotion.

"He brought a kind of magic. The club was almost bankrupt but he became part of our crusade for promotion.

"He was the most intelligent man I've met in football," said Mr Clifford.

"He will always be special. We have lost a unique man and a unique footballer."

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