Farewell to a teammate ‘who always stood shoulder to shoulder with his team’

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Former All Whites defender Ricki Herbert has paid tribute to Grant Turner, his teammate from the 1982 FIFA World Cup campaign, who has died in Tauranga, aged 64.

Turner played many of his 71 games for the All Whites in the same squad as Herbert, and both were young emerging players in the side that qualified for the World Cup in Spain.

Herbert said: “When the chips were down, and you needed every player to do their part, you could always count on Grant.

“He was a courageous player and when things got tough, you knew he’d be ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with his teammates.”

Herbert expressed sorrow at hearing the news of Turner’s death, after a struggle with cancer in recent years.

“I personally want to join with the football community in sending my condolences to Grant’s family and friends,” he said.

Main photo: Grant Turner and Ricki Herbert in the 1982 All Whites squad. Turner is third from left, middle row, and Herbert is third from right, middle row.

Turner wore the national shirt 71 times between 1980 and 1988, and was last year inducted to the Sports Legends of Wellington in 2022 who recognised his contribution to football with a citation that included:

“His most iconic sporting moment came in a World Cup qualifying game against Australia, flashing home a long-range header to advance to the next round in 1981.

“This unforgettable team made their first World Cup (finals) in 1982.”

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Turner was a rare footballer in that he played almost all his club football for New Zealand clubs, apart from a brief stint with South Melbourne Hellas in 1982.

His New Zealand clubs included Stop Out, Gisborne City (two spells), Petone, Miramar Rangers and Wellington United.

Grant John Turner (October 7, 1958 — February 28, 2023)