Tony Waiters (1937 – 2020)
It has been reported this morning that former Burnley & England International goalkeeper Tont Waiters has sadly passed away at the age of eighty-three at his home in Canada. He joined the Clarets in 1970 as part of the coaching team, but an injury to goalkeeper Peter Mellor led to Waiters’ coming out of retirement. Waiters, went on to make 40 appearances for the club, before he finally retired in 1972.
Waiters, began his career as an amateur with Northern League side Bishop Auckland before moving to Macclesfield Town in 1958. He was capped as an England Amateur in May 1959 whilst at Loughborough College. Having played as a centre-half in schoolboy football, he took up goalkeeping after serving in the RAF. That year he was spotted by the manager of Blackpool Football Club Ron Stuart and signed as a replacement for George Farm.
He signed a professional contract in the summer of 1959 and went on to make 257 league appearances for the Seasiders. He won five England caps in 1964, as Alf Ramsey sought a backup for Gordon Banks with the 1966 FIFA World Cup imminent. Although selected in Ramsey’s initial squad of forty, Waiters was not chosen for final twenty-two man squad that went onto lift the World Cup at Wembley Stadium. Waiters played one more season before retiring in the summer of 1967 as Blackpool were relegated from the First Division.
Waiters, then moved into coach and at the start of the 1968 season he took a coaching role working for The Football Association as a regional coach, followed by a spell as the youth development manager at Liverpool Football Club. In the summer of 1970 he joined the coaching staff at Turf Moor before an injury to goalkeeper Peter Mellor led to him coming out of retirement. Waiters, went on to make 40 appearances for the club, before he finally retired in 1972.
Waiters began coaching with the England National Youth side and led them to a European Championship held in Italy (1973). He took over as manager of Plymouth Argyle and lead them to the Third Division Championship in 1974 before winning promotion the following season in 1975. A move to Canada following as he was appointed manager of Vancouver Whitecaps midway through the 1977 season and lead them to an upset against New York Cosmos en route to the Soccer Bowl in the NASL Championships in 1979.
He then become an International football manager being appointed the manager of Canada in 1981 leading them to the Quarter-Finals of the 1984 Olympic game held in Los Angeles. Waiters, also lead Canada to the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico were they lost 1-0 against France and 2-0 against both Russia and Hungary to finish bottom of Group C, Waiters went on to manage Canada for a second time briefly in 1990.
After finishing playing, Tony Waiters created his company called World of Soccer in the 1980s, producing a complete series of coaching books, soccer equipment, such as WOS markers, as well as his infamous Ace Coaching cards. Since 2000 he has taken World of Soccer to a new level, developing Total Player Development, which in turn was the base for Byte Size Coaching, a simple yet comprehensive website for soccer parents, coaches and volunteers. Byte Size Coaching is now used by over 350 clubs ranging from Canada, America, UK, Australia and Singapore.
Tony Waiters, was also inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001 as recognition for his work with the Canadian National team, but also for his work with World of Soccer coaching children football around the world.