Alan Shearer leads tributes after sad passing of former Newcastle United coach
Alan Shearer has led the tributes to Steve Black after Newcastle Falcons announced the death of the much-loved coach.
Black – who mentored England’s 2003 World Cup-winning fly-half Wilkinson – served under Kevin Keegan in the mid-1990s and Steve McClaren in the 2015/16 season at St James's Park.
A United statement read: “We are saddened to learn of the death of Steve Black, who worked with Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan during the Entertainers era and was also part of the club's backroom staff during the 2015/16 season.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP, Blackie.”
Shearer tweeted: “Awful news. RIP Blackie”. Former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Bridges added: “So upset reading this tragic news. An amazing man who had time for everyone.
“Took me under his wing in 1994 and trained me on Tynemouth beach to get me fit for the start of my YTS contract @SunderlandAFC. The world has lost a great man, husband, father and mentor.”
A statement from the Falcons read: “All at Newcastle Falcons are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our friend and former colleague, Steve Black.
“Blackie, as he was universally known, spent two spells on the club’s coaching staff – but he was so much more than that.
“The jovial Geordie was the spiritual heartbeat of the Falcons from the very early days of professionalism, helping steer Newcastle to promotion and then the Premiership title at the first attempt.
“Winning multiple domestic cups under his watch, Blackie’s unique motivational talents saw him succeeding with the Welsh national team and the British and Irish Lions, as well as with Newcastle United and Sunderland football clubs, and numerous other elite sportspeople.
“Much more than his sporting achievements, Blackie was a friend to all of us – a proud Geordie who understood the value of people, and how to inspire them.
“Our deepest condolences go out to Blackie’s family, and his many, many friends. You will never be forgotten.”