RICHARD Walden, considered to be one of the finest defenders in Newport County’s history, has died after a long illness at the age of 61.

The former Aldershot Town and Sheffield Wednesday defender was signed by manager Len Ashurst in 1978 for £3,500 – one of the first players to move clubs following the establishment of the tribunal system for transfer fees.

Walden played 193 games for Newport, having been a virtual ever present in the side in his first three-and-a-half years with the club.

His spell at Newport coincided with the club’s golden era, as he was a key component of the team that won promotion and the following year enjoyed amazing success in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, eventually losing out to Carl Zeiss Jena over two legs.

However, Walden left the Exiles after Ashurst left the club and would end up finishing his career at Farnborough.

Known by his teammates as ‘Rolls Royce’ Walden is survived by wife Jayne.