FIGURES from the world of Football have hailed the decision to rename Weymouth’s football stadium after long-serving president Bob Lucas.

The former physio is currently battling cancer at Dorset County Hospital but is said by his wife Jean to have been cheered after hearing about the newly named Bob Lucas Stadium.

And Bob is hoping to take a seat in ‘his’ stadium this season.

He said: “Weymouth Football Club is in some trouble at the moment but we will come back as strong as ever.

“In my 40 years and 2,453 games ‘on duty’ we have rubbed shoulders with the best and the name of Weymouth Football Club is known and respected throughout the land.

“To have such a club rename their stadium like this is a great honour.

“I would like to thank all the thousands of friends I’ve met along the way for their assistance and thank chairman George Rolls for affording me this honour.”

Friends and former colleagues have joined in wishing Bob well.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp got to know Bob bringing his teams down for matches and playing in Dorset too.

He said: “I’ve got a lot of time for Bob. He’s given dedicated service and physios do such an important job. I know for training Bob would have been at the club before everybody else.

Goalkeeper Bob, now 85, grew up in London and signed for Crystal Palace in 1942 but then went on active service during the Second World War.

He returned to play for Crystal Palace and moved to Weymouth in 1949. When he arrived he went to buy a pair of football boots and was served by sales girl Jean, who he later married.

The couple live in Culliford Way, Weymouth.

Jean is visiting Bob every day at the hospital at the moment.

She said she is ‘thrilled to bits’ about the stadium being named after her husband.

She said: “I think it’s wonderful because as the chairman said he is ‘Mr Weymouth'.

“And not for what he gets out of it but for the pleasure of helping people. When he used to get injured it was just a bucket of water and a sponge.”

Jean added: “It’s his life and it has kept him going by working with all the young people.

“He’s hoping to travel with them this year.”

Bob’s long-time friend Stan Charlton, 81, one of the club’s most successful managers, said: “It’s a very nice gesture and it’s very good that they’ve named the stadium after him.

“He’s always been a faithful servant to the club and a fine physio.

Stuart Morgan, also a former Weymouth manager, said Bob was always the first in and the last to leave.

He said: “It’s fantastic news. I couldn’t think of a better chap.

“You couldn’t go to any other football club and find someone that’s given so much.”

Former chairman Ian Ridley said Bob “has always been the conscience and soul of the club.”

He said: “He’s always embodied the values that Weymouth FC should have. Those values of decency and sportsmanship.

“I can’t think of anyone better that the stadium should be named after and I don’t know anyone who’s ever had a bad word to say about him.”

Nigel Biddlecombe, fan and historian of the Terras, added: “It’s a brilliant idea and it’s well deserved.

“If we are going to change the stadium name to anything at all it could not be changed to a better name.”