MX23RW : Monday, December 10 20:21:38

Darren Pitcher dies aged 49

Pitcher joined the Addicks at 13.

Former Charlton midfielder Darren Pitcher has died aged 49, the League One club said on Monday.

Pitcher came through the club's youth ranks, joining them at 13, and went on to make 214 appearances, scoring 12 goals before joining Crystal Palace in 1994.

The midfielder was part of the Charlton team which returned to their home stadium at The Valley on December 5, 1992, and helped set up the goal in the 1-0 win over Portsmouth.

Pitcher moved across south London to Palace and the Eagles went on to reach the semi-finals of both the League Cup and FA Cup in his first season.

The midfielder, though, saw his playing career eventually come to a premature end in the wake of a serious knee injury suffered against Huddersfield following a challenge from Paul Reid during a First Division match on August 31, 1996.

Pitcher had a brief spell with Leyton Orient during 1998, but never played professionally again afterwards.

In 2001, Pitcher lost his case of alleged negligence against Huddersfield at the High Court, in which he was seeking damages of more than £1million.

Since leaving professional football, Pitcher had been working in the building trade.

Charlton historian Colin Cameron had reflected on Pitcher's time with the Addicks in his book 'Valiant 500'. He wrote: "What was admirable about Pitcher was his attitude, patience and determination to improve his game."

Pitcher made 83 appearances for Palace, scoring two goals before his retirement, including a long-range effort in the 1994-95 FA Cup quarter-final win over Wolves.

"Crystal Palace are saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Darren Pitcher at the age of 49," the Eagles said on their official website.

"Everyone at the club would like to pass on their condolences to Darren's family and friends."


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