TRIBUTES have been paid to York City's oldest supporter, Bruce McIntosh, who has passed away at the age of 97 after a short battle with cancer.

Bruce first began supporting the club in 1930 and attended York's first game at Bootham Crescent against Stockport County in 1932.

He is thought to have been the only person to have seen the Minstermen play at all three of their home grounds - Fulfordgate, Bootham Crescent, and now the LNER Community Stadium.

Away from his beloved York City, Bruce was a distinguished war veteran who fought against the Japanese in the Second World War.

Beginning his military journey with the Home Guard as a 17-year-old, he then served three years in Afghanistan as a lieutenant leading the Indian Army's prestigious Mahar Regiment.

Bruce was invited back to Afghanistan as the Indian Army's guest of honour ten years ago, as Britain's sole survivor from the Regiment during World War Two, and opened up about his experiences in his book With Thanks To My Guardian Angel, which was published in 2020.

Despite moving up to Newcastle to live with granddaughter Bethany in his later life, Bruce's support for the Minstermen never waned.

Bruce was unable to attend City's opening fixture at the LNER stadium, which was played behind closed doors in February 2021, but he was the club's virtual mascot.

He accompanied then-captain Sean Newton out on to the pitch against AFC Fylde via an iPad, describing the experience as a "very strange feeling". 

Bruce relished the experience of accompanying the former Stockport County defender, the team that City had played back on that memorable day 89 years prior.

"I realised I had achieved a famous double - the first game at Bootham Crescent and the first game at the new stadium," he told BBC Radio York at the time.

"I would love to attend in person after lockdown, alas I fear it won't happen. Old age has taken its toll and it's well beyond my capabilities now. 

"Nevertheless, I will support York City from afar. I wish them well. They are my team and always will be."

Artist Sue Clayton painted Bruce's portrait, which was put on permanent display as part of a spectator gallery celebrating the club's centenary in January.

The background is painted in monochrome in contrast to the coloured portrait to honour the club's heritage and a person who had witnessed the vast majority of it.

Sue chose to donate Bruce's portrait to the man himself free of charge, and was delighted when he responded with a personal message and donation to York City's Foundation.

"I loved painting Bruce's portrait," she said. "He had such a smiley, endearing face, with a marvellous twinkle in his eye.

"It's amazing to think that he saw York City play in their ground at Fulfordgate before the Bootham Crescent days!

"He was just so lovely."

York Press: Bruce was presented with his portrait, commissioned as part of York's centenary celebrations, by BBC Radio York commentator David Ward and former York City winger Iain Dunn.Bruce was presented with his portrait, commissioned as part of York's centenary celebrations, by BBC Radio York commentator David Ward and former York City winger Iain Dunn. (Image: David Ward)

BBC Radio York commentator David Ward and former player Iain Dunn delivered Bruce his portrait before the Minstermen's match at Gateshead on January 2.

Bruce was also in attendance at the match, taking in the club's hospitality with friends.

Though their time with the lifelong City fan was brief, he certainly left an impression on the pair as one of the loveliest men they had ever had the pleasure of meeting, and even gifted them a bottle of wine for his appreciation.

"He would fondly talk about the horse and carts going up and down Fulford Road as you made your way to Fulfordgate," David recalled.

"He was so happy to receive his portrait. Now, Bethany says she will treasure it forever.

"Bruce was such a lovely guy," said Iain.

"It was really interesting to hear him talk about his time supporting York, and he gave a real insight into what it was like seeing them at all three grounds, right back to Fulfordgate. It was amazing.

"He was a really, really nice guy. He will be remembered by everybody who met him and he's certainly left his mark on the club.

"There were no airs and graces about him, he was a true York City fan, through and through."

York City Supporters' Trust said that they were mourning the loss of their cherished life member.

"A stalwart who witnessed the club's journey across three grounds, his dedication from Fulfordgate, through Bootham Crescent and in to the LNER is an unrivalled inspiration in commitment to our football club.

"Bruce has seen the highs and lows in his time supporting the club and has certainly epitomised our unofficial mantra 'Keep the Faith'.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.”

York City also offered their condolences, saying: “York City Football Club send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bruce following his passing, who we’re sure will continue to back the Minstermen eternally.

"Living through, and seeing, three generations of stadia is an incredibly unique tale, but further strengthens a clear deep-rooted pride and passion which will always remain within.

"The anecdotes shared by those who met and interacted with Bruce showcase a warm, humble character who cared deeply about City, as well as his country, of which he fought for to secure our today.

"Thank you for your support, Bruce. May you Rest In Peace.”