Southampton's Les Reed and Ross Wilson have paid tribute to the club's Senior Recruitment Officer, Bill Green, who sadly passed away on Monday evening.
Vice Chairman (Football)
It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Bill Green.
Football has many unsung heroes, but as Saints’ chief scout for the past seven years, Bill Green has truly been a hero and sadly unsung until now.
The nature of scouting is much aligned with spying and operating under cover – keeping your head down and operating below the radar.
Bill found that hard; he was a giant of a man anyway and could hardly sneak in under the turnstile.
If Bill turned up, all the other scouts were alerted that there was a special talent or undiscovered gem on show that day, and they would spend so much energy trying to find who Bill was watching that they lost focus on the game, while Bill never gave anything away.
Many of our players over the years and several of the current squad were recruited because of Bill, yet not all of them know it. Whether Bill cast the first glance or made the final recommendation, he was not one for claiming credit.
As a player, coach, manager and scout, for Bill, football was a team game – share the work, share the glory.
Many of us here at St Mary's have been privileged to have been on Bill’s team, and his presence will always be with us.
The fruits of his work are a constant reminder that this club is all the better for having been touched by Bill Green.
Director of Football Operations
Throughout the last week we have been in daily contact with Bill's wife and his son and, although the situation has been stark, the final news was tough to take as our worst fears were confirmed last night.
Not only have we lost a top professional, we have lost an absolute gentleman. Bill was so loyal to our club, in every way. He always put the club first in all of his actions and, for that, he was so respected by our staff. His moral compass was strong and we will all continue to remember his words and his advice to guide us in future years.
We have an excellent team of scouts at this club, a strong group with genuine unity between all. Bill has been central in building that unity, and I have always considered it a privilege to lead this group of staff, but never more so than now.
We spoke about our people very often and he was so content with what has developed here at Southampton. He took great pride in our recruitment successes but never sought any glory and was never ever complacent – he never stopped looking for what we were going to do next.
Bill originally hails from the North East. He has a love for that region. But it became so clear to me how much Bill grew to love Southampton Football Club. He was so passionate about this club, he cared about every aspect of our work and he gave us everything he had, and more. He was proud to be our Chief Scout and I hope he knew how proud we were to have him.
Thanks for all you did for us Bill. You are a Saints legend and a man so many of us at St Mary's and Staplewood are proud to call a friend.