Former Fulham manager Ray Harford has died, aged 58, following a lengthy battle against cancer.

Harford was born in Halifax on June 1, 1945 and as a player was a centre-half from the old school.

Harford’s first senior experience on the coaching side came at Fulham where he became assistant manager to Malcolm Macdonald in 1982.

Harford became the Cottagers boss two years later following Macdonald’s departure. Two years on he resigned and joined Luton as John Moore’s assistant.

Harford helped Kenny Dalglish lift the Premiership title in 1995 and was acknowledged as one of the finest coaches of his generation.

His last job was at Millwall in 1999, where he was coach under Keith Stevens and Alan McLeary. He remained in the post to allow Mark McGhee to take over the reins in 2000 and played a major role in the Lions’ 2001 Second Division championship success.

A statement on the Millwall website said: “It is with deep sadness that Millwall Football Club announce the death of coach Ray Harford, who passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning. “Ray, 58, had been fighting a lengthy battle against cancer and his passing will be a great loss to football.”

A minute’s silence will be held before this afternoon’s First Division clash with Wigan.

Fulham manager Chris Coleman, who played under Harford during his time at Blackburn, said today:

“I am deeply saddened to hear about Ray. He was a great man and I am sure that he will be deeply missed by many. On behalf of the supporters and all at the Fulham, I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.”