A HEREFORD-born footballer who won international honours with Wales has died suddenly, aged 60.

Mick Hill played top-flight football with Sheffield United, Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace between 1965 and 1975.

He qualified to play for Wales on the basis of his father’s birthplace and won two caps against Czechoslovakia and Romania in 1971.

Hill’s former Sheffield United team-mate Colin Addison paid tribute to the tall striker who died at home in Hereford last weekend.

“I only saw Mick a week ago, so this is very sad news,” said Addison.

“He had not been in the greatest of health for the past 18 months but this is a huge shock.”

“Mick was a smashing lad. He was very respectful, polite and a true gentleman. I never heard him complain about anything and he will be sadly missed by all those who knew him.”

The two men first met at Sheffield United where they played for the Blades.

Addison recalled: “When I made my debut for Sheffield United against Burnley, we played together up-front. I set-up the goal which was scored by Mick and we won the game, 1-0. Mick was a promising young lad with a lot of talent. I got to know Mick very well and he used to baby-sit for us. He always wanted to learn more about football and could never get enough information and advice.”

The duo’s striking partnership at Bramall Lane ended when Hill joined Ipswich.

“There is no greater accolade than being wanted by Sir Bobby Robson who paid £33,000 to take Mick to Ipswich,” said Addison.

“He eventually moved back to Hereford where I had moved to. I saw Mick regularly over the years. He would call at my home and we would have a coffee together and talk about football.”

Hill, who was educated at Hunderton Primary School and Redhill School in Hereford, played youth football with Hereford YMCA. He had begun his career with Cardiff City but was released without a first-team appearance.

The forward decided to give up football and took a job as a clerk in Hereford.

However, his father persuaded him to have another try and he joined Welsh League (North) club Bethesda Athletic.

Sheffield United were impressed with the exploits of the 17-year-old and he was signed on.

In his first League appearance for the Blades, Hill scored his side’s first goal against Chelsea and was voted man of the match.

Hill made 37 appearances for Sheffield United, scoring nine goals.

He was signed by Robson at Ipswich where he scored 20 goals in 78 appearances between October 1969 and 1973.

The striker made his Wales international debut in a 1-0 away loss to Czechoslovakia in October 1971. He won his final Wales cap, a month later, when he played up-front with the legendary Ron Davies in a 2-0 defeat to Romania in Bucharest.

Hill later moved to Crystal Palace where he scored six goals in 45 appearances between December 1973 and 1975. But, after a spate of niggling injuries, he departed for South Africa to play for Durban City.

Hereford United Giantkiller Ken Mallender, who played with Hill at Sheffield United, also had fond memories of his former team-mate.

Mallender said: “We were a young team, with lads from Sheffield and Rotherham, and we all grew from boys into men at the same time. I remember when ‘Hilly’ joined us from Bethesda and none of the local lads had heard an accent like his before. We all thought he was Welsh and we actually called him ‘Taff’.”

Mallender said Hill was a fashion icon when he arrived in Sheffield.

“He was a mod in those days and wore big lapels long before they were in fashion. After he had worn them for a while, he would give his clothes to the lads on the groundstaff. He was a generous person and a complete one-off.”

After retiring from professional football and moving back to live in Hereford, Hill played locally with Westfields and Ledbury Town. He latterly had coaching roles at Kington Town and Westfields.

A former Hereford United kitman, Hill was well-known for his driving duties with City Taxis where he worked on-and-off for around 20 years.

Hill’s two sons, Jon, 28, and 25-year-old Danny, are keen footballers and play for Westfields and Sutton United, respectively. He is also survived by 22-year-old daughter Amy, and their mother Margaret.

The funeral service is taking place at St James’ Church, Green Street, Hereford, on Friday, July 4 at 1.30pm.