Hucknall football is in mourning after the shock death, aged just 44, of a player once regarded as one of the town’s brightest prospects.
Ian Hammond played for both Hucknall Town and Hucknall Rolls in the late 1980s and early 1990s, mainly under the management of Roger Dawkins, before a bad thigh-injury curtailed his football career.
He died at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester after a six-week battle against pneumonia, ulcerative colitis and lung failure.
The funeral takes place next Tuesday (10th March) at Mansfield Crematorium (2.45 pm), to be followed by a gathering at Rolls-Royce Leisure Club in Hucknall.
Hammond could operate as a foraging midfielder or as a classy defender, and was even known as an occasional goalkeeper.
In his younger days, he went to Holgate School and played for youth teams Hucknall Harrier and Padstow Parkhead before joining Hucknall Town Colts. At Watnall Road, he came under the wing of revered managers Frank Every, Ted Mullane and Dawkins, who gave him his chance in the first team. He was a member of the brilliant squad that landed multiple trophies in the Central Midlands League at the start of the 1990s.
Between 1987 and 1997, Hammond was also a regular for successful Hucknall Sunday sides, Chequers Inn and Phoenix Milano, managed by former Dispatch editor Richard Silverwood.
This week, Silverwood led the tributes, describing Hammond as “definitely one of the best Hucknall-based footballers of his generation”.
“Ian was a player in the mould of former England captain Bryan Robson,” he said. “A fearless tackler with an admirable attitude, drive, energy and workrate.
“In midfield, he could pick a pass and score a goal. But he was at his best at the back where he read the game with instinctive intelligence.”
Hammond, who lived in Kimberley, worked for energy supplier, E.On, for 15 years as an outbound sales manager. His last job was with Simplifydigital, a price comparison company for broadband, TV and phone services.
He leaves his wife, Linda, father Ken and sister Michelle.