Shock death of Torquay United legend Clint Boulton
- Credit: Submitted
Torquay United has lost one of its most versatile and popular players with the death of 1970s stalwart Clint Boulton.
Boulton, 72, died suddenly while playing golf on Friday, just over 41 years since he made his final appearance for the Gulls, a 1-0 FA Cup win at Gravesend and Northfleet in November 1979.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Boulton forced his way into Port Vale’s first team as a teenager. At only 16 he became the Valiants’ youngest-ever scorer and then, at 18, the youngest captain in their history under the managership of the great Sir Stanley Matthews.
After being an ever-present in Vale’s 1970 Fourth Division promotion team under future Blackburn and Everton boss Gordon Lee, Boulton was bought by Third Division Torquay for £10,000 in November 1971.
He had already played 267 games for Vale and he went to make 286 appearances and score 36 goals for United over the next eight years.
He was initially signed as a right-back, but he quickly became one of the most adaptable and effective players in United’s history.
He could and did play anywhere in defence, was comfortable in midfield and, asked to play as an emergency centre-forward by manager Malcolm Musgrove in August 1976, he scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory at Doncaster Rovers.
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If anyone deserved to win something at Plainmoor, Boulton did, but he played for the club during a lean period in their history and his sterling displays often went unrewarded.
Unfailingly cheerful and committed, he never allowed those frustrations to affect his own performances and, after a spell with Minehead in the Western League, he retired to concentrate on building up a successful South Devon window blinds business.