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By ESPN Staff

Tony Grealish passes away

Brighton have confirmed the death of former captain and ex-Republic of Ireland international Tony Grealish.

Albion said on their official website that Grealish, who led them into the 1983 FA Cup final against Manchester United, had passed away aged 56.

Grealish also made 45 appearances for the Republic as well as playing for Leyton Orient, Luton, West Brom, Manchester City, Rotherham and Walsall, making in excess of 500 career appearances.

Former Brighton boss Mike Baileym who signed Grealish from Luton, said, "It's obviously very, very sad news and a real shock because Tony has died so young.

"He was an excellent player for me and also very good in the dressing room. He was a lovely lad and always worked his socks off for the team.

"It didn't surprise me that it was he who led the team out at Wembley in 1983 because he was captaincy material. It would be a fitting tribute if Brighton got promoted back into the top flight now."

Tony's former team-mate Steve Foster added, "Tony was a lovely man off the pitch and a passionate footballer on it - he was a fantastic midfielder!

"In those days the dressing room was full of leaders, full of characters and Tony most definitely fell into that category. Not only that, he had a great sense of humour and when he walked in, he would often have the lads in stitches.

"We shouldn't forget either that apart from playing at the highest level, Tony also represented the Republic of Ireland. You don't get to play international football unless you have something about you.

"From our FA Cup run, he will be remembered for skippering the side in my absence in the final and wearing my headband. I didn't have a clue he was going to do that until I saw him appear out of the Wembley tunnel and I was really taken aback. It was such a nice gesture - and speaks volumes for the kind of guy Tony was."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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