Maurice Setters, Republic of Ireland assistant to Jack Charlton, dies aged 83

Maurice Setters, the former Manchester United player and Jack Charlton’s assistant manager with the Republic of Ireland, has died aged 83.

“Manchester United is deeply saddened to hear that Maurice Setters has passed away at the age of 83,” United said on their official website. “We send our condolences to Maurice’s family and friends at this difficult time – rest in peace.”

Setters was reportedly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago. The death of his former Manchester United teammate Nobby Stiles in October has led to an outcry over the treatment of players who have developed dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions in later life.

The former England footballer Chris Sutton tweeted: “Very sad news about Maurice Setters. Thoughts go out to his family. Another death of a former player from a neurodegenerative disease. We need to learn from the suffering this generation of player has been through and act now.” Sutton’s father, Mike, has dementia after a long playing career.

Devon-born Setters started out as a player at Exeter City before joining Manchester United from West Brom in 1960. He made 194 appearances under Sir Matt Busby, becoming club captain and winning the FA Cup in 1963 when United beat Leicester in the final at Wembley. Setters was also the best man at Bobby and Norma Charlton’s wedding in 1961.

Maurice Setters (second right) with Sir Matt Busby on the train back to Manchester after winning the 1963 FA Cup.

Maurice Setters (second right) with Sir Matt Busby on the train back to Manchester after winning the 1963 FA Cup. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

After leaving United for Stoke in 1964, Setters had spells at Coventry and Charlton before trying his hand at management with Doncaster Rovers. He became Jack Charlton’s assistant at Sheffield Wednesday in 1977, and followed the manager into the Republic of Ireland setup in 1986. The pair oversaw a golden era for the Republic’s national side, qualifying for Euro 1988 and the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

The Football Association of Ireland president, Gerry McAnaney, paid tribute to Setters. “It is with a heavy heart that we learned today of Maurice’s death, another man so integral to the glory days of Irish football,” McAnaney said.

“There were many great nights along the way with Jack and Maurice and I know how much pleasure they took as honorary Irishmen in that [Euro] 1988 victory over their own England in Stuttgart,” he added. “This has been a tough year for Irish football.

“We saw how the nation mourned Jack Charlton earlier this year and I know I speak on behalf of everyone involved with the Irish football community when I pass on our deepest sympathies to Maurice’s family.”