John Norman Haynes
(October 17, 1934 - October 18, 2005), better known
as Johnny Haynes
, was an English footballer who played a club-record 658
games and scored 158 goals for Fulham Football Club between 1952 and 1970. An
inside forward, Haynes is widely regarded as the greatest footballer ever to
play for the London club, particularly noted for his exceptional passing skill
and ability to read a game. An accomplished international, he made 56
appearances for his country, including 22 as captain (many of them while playing
for Fulham in the Second Division!). Haynes remains arguably the best player to
remain at one club throughout his professional career. Pele described 'The
Maestro' as the "best passer of the ball I've ever seen".
Johnny Haynes was born in the Kentish Town area of London, and attended The
Latymer School in Edmonton during his youth. After spells at amateur sides
Feltham (in the Middlesex League), Wimbledon (Isthmian League) and Woodford Town
(Delphian League), he joined Fulham as a professional in May 1952, at the age of
17 and made his debut at 18. Unusually, and despite many offers from other
clubs, he remained at Fulham for his entire professional career, until leaving
for South Africa in 1970, where he played for the now defunct Durban City,
alongside former Fulham teammates Johnny Byrne and Bobby Keats.
Johnny Haynes was the first footballer to appear for England in every class
of football available in his playing era - school, youth, under 23, `B` and full
international level. His debut for the full senior side came on October 2, 1954,
scoring a goal in a 2-0 England victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park,
Belfast. An accomplished career saw him making 55 further appearances for the
national side, with perhaps his best game being 1958 at Wembley when he scored a
hat-trick against the Soviet Union in a 5-0 win.
He became captain of the side in 1960, and a year later led his team to a
famous 9-3 victory over Scotland at Wembley Stadium. His final appearance, for
England was on June 10, 1962 - a 3-1 defeat by Brazil at Estadio Sausalito in
Viña del Mar, Chile. A car crash in the same year caused cruciate ligament
damage which prevented him from playing for a year, and is widely regarded to
have been the significant cause for the end of his England career.
In his record 658 appearances for Fulham, 594 of which were in the Football
League, he rose to become club captain and scored a total of 158 goals, another
club record and one which was only surpassed by striker Gordon Davies in 1991.
Haynes' best scoring season was 1958-59 with 26 from 34 games.
Haynes had a single spell in football management, taking charge of Fulham for
a brief spell in November 1968 after the dismissal of Bobby Robson.
Long after his departure from Fulham, Haynes remained an immensely popular
and respected figure at the club whose supporters had dubbed him "The Maestro".
Unquestionably far more gifted than his colleagues in a relatively low profile
team compared to the best of the day, he is fondly remembered for his tendency
to fail to disguise his exasperation with his teammates and their frequent lack
of understanding of his intentions and ideas.
On October 17, 2005 (his 71st birthday), at approximately 2:55pm BST (1:55pm
GMT), Haynes was driving his car along Dalry Road in Edinburgh, Scotland, the
city in which he had lived since 1984, after leaving South Africa and returning
to the UK to be with the one woman that he had truly loved, Avril, when he
suffered a brain haemorrhage, which effectively rendered him brain-stem dead
almost instantaneously. The car veered off into the oncoming traffic and hit a
light goods vehicle. Although the accident was witnessed by a doctor who
managed, using CPR, to restart Johnny's heart, he was effectively dead. Although
kept on a ventilator for some 30 hours, all tests that were undertaken by the
medical staff in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, showed negative activity in the
brain and, as per his family's wishes, after he had donated some of his organs,
the ventilator was turned off at approximately 9pm GMT on the evening of October
18, 2005. Earlier afternoon reports that day from several major news sources,
and the Fulham FC official website, suggested that Haynes had already died, but
these were retracted within an hour, with Haynes' condition subsequently
described as "serious". His third wife, Avril, who had been travelling in the
passenger seat, was also injured in the accident, and was described later in the
day as being in "stable" condition, having suffered five broken ribs and a
||John Norman Haynes
|Date of birth
||October 17, 1934
|Place of birth
||Kentish Town, London, England
|Date of death
||October 18, 2005
* Professional club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of May 7, 2006.
** National team caps and goals correct
as of May 31, 2006.
First £100-per-week Player
Johnny Haynes, as one of the finest players of his era, was of constant
interest to other football clubs, which contributed to the pressure which led to
the demise of the £20-per-week maximum wage applied to the game until 1961.
Fulham chairman Tommy Trinder had boasted that Haynes was worth £100 a week, not
expecting that the £20 pay cap (equivalent to £1200 in 2005) would be abolished.
When it was removed, Trinder paid up without complaint to make Haynes the first
English footballer to earn £100 per week.
On the day of the death of Johnny Haynes, Alan Mullery, another high-profile
Fulham and England player, made the following tribute: "He was the only
reason I went to Fulham as a young boy of 15 leaving school. He was my hero, the
captain of England and Fulham. The word great rolls off the tongue quite easily
these days but he really was. He was the best passer of a ball I have ever seen
- I don't know anyone who could pass a ball as accurately. Anyone who saw him
will know what a great player he was."
The Fulham Supporters Trust stated: "His dedication, skill,
professionalism, grace and charm - both in his playing days and in retirement -
serve as a poignant reminder to many of today's footballers about what true
greatness really means."
George Cohen, a World Cup winner for England in 1966 and a Fulham teammate of
Johnny Haynes, stated: "I have a hundred individual memories of the beauty of
John's play. One stands out for the sheer perfection of his skill. It was a
charity match which, but for that one second, has faded completely from my
memory. The ball came to him at speed on a wet, slippery surface but with the
slightest of adjustments, one that was almost imperceptible, he played it inside
a full-back and into the path of an on-running winger. I looked at our coach
Dave Sexton on the bench and he caught my glance and shook his head as if to say
'fantastic'. Haynes could give you goose bumps on a wet night in a match that
In 2002 Haynes became an Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of
Fame in recognition of his football talents and impact on the English game.
Weeks after its centenary year, on 27 November 2005, it was announced that
the Archibald Leitch-designed Stevenage Road Stand at Craven Cottage would be
renamed The Johnny Haynes Stand. Other suggestions had included a redesign of
the gates of Craven Cottage, the retirement of the number 10 shirt worn by
Haynes throughout his time at Fulham, and a statue being erected in his honour.