Former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham player Chris Bart-Williams dead at 49

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest midfielder Chris Bart-Williams has died at the age of 49, Sheffield Wednesday have announced.

The club said he died in the US where he was a mentor and a coach.

The news came as the Owls and Forest were coming to terms with the death of former striker Trevor Francis, who was 69.

“Bart-Williams’ untimely passing mirrors that of his manager at Hillsborough Trevor Francis, who also died on this, one of the darkest days in our long history,” a statement from the club said.

“Our thoughts are with Chris’ and Trevor’s families and friends at this devastating time.”

Sierra Leone-born Bart-Williams, who began his career as a trainee at Leyton Orient, made more than 150 appearances for Wednesday, for whom he played in the Premier League as a teenager, before earning a £2.5million move to the City Ground in July 1995.

Chris Bart-Williams in UEFA Cup action for Nottingham Forest against Bayern Munich

Chris Bart-Williams in UEFA Cup action for Nottingham Forest against Bayern Munich (Rui Vieira/PA).

He played 248 games for Forest and later had spells with Charlton and Ipswich before moving into coaching in the United States following his retirement as a player, initially working in women’s college football.

Describing himself on his social media accounts as “coach, college recruiter, former footballer”, Bart-Williams was owner and chief executive officer of US College Soccer recruiting agency CBW Soccer Elite, working with college-bound players.

His LinkedIn profile reads: “As a retired athlete with 35 years of international playing and coaching experience, I’m passionate about developing young adults into highly successful soccer players.

“My goal is to empower kids to have the confidence and technical ability to excel in soccer while learning valuable lessons in responsibility and teamwork that will prepare them for a lifetime of success. Everything I do is designed to maximize athletes’ unique potential and propel them to their personal best in soccer and in life.”

In February last year, Florida-based Dade County announced Bart-Williams had been appointed as its head coach to oversee all its football programmes.

News of his death was greeted with shock by former team-mate Mark Crossley.

The goalkeeper, who played with Bart-Williams at Forest, tweeted: “Devastating and I’m so upset to hear the news of Trevor Francis passing and my former team mate Chris Bart Williams, both so young, it is so sad , RIP Trevor and Chris.”

Ipswich also offered their condolences, posting: “The club is saddened to learn of the passing of former player Chris Bart-Williams. Once a Blue, always a Blue.”

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