York City legend Billy Hughes has died in North Yorkshire, aged 74.

A City star in the 1950s and a key player in the club's heroic 1955 FA Cup run, Billy died last Friday of asbestosis.

He was described as one of the greatest City dribblers ever to lace a pair of boots.

Born in Glasgow, Billy was a former motor engineering apprentice when he was called up for National Service, forcing his way into the RAF side and being courted by Newcastle United.

He signed for the Minstermen professionally in 1951 and soon made the Number 7 shirt his own.

He was a key player in City's 1955 FA Cup run, when they reached the semi-final against Newcastle, the furthest any Division Three side had ever progressed.

His widow, Vivienne, said: "It was a wonderful cup run. We weren't married then, but I went along to a few of the games, everyone did.

"Billy was a great player for City, and always so popular with the fans.

"When we were married, it could be infuriating walking down Coney Street.

"Everyone knew him, wanted to say hello and talk. He was their hero, and was lovely to everyone."

Billy spent his entire career with York, retiring from the professional game in 1962.

He stayed in the area with Vivienne and their children, David, Julian and Carolyn, opening hardware stores in Huntington and Heworth.

They later moved to West Knapton, near Malton, where Billy maintained his sporting ties.

"He couldn't give up his sport, he just loved it, and played whenever and whatever he could," said Vivienne.

"He played local football for Clifton Hospital and Yorkshire Herald, then became involved in golf, bowls, table tennis in Malton - he just loved sport."

York City historian Dave Batters said: "He was a fine player, an old fashioned right-winger in the Stanley Matthews mould.

"He was a key player for City, a fine player and a gentleman."

York City team-mate Mick Granger said: "He was a great lad, really lovely. All the lads loved him, and I am not just saying that, but sadly there are not that many of those boys left now."

Updated: 11:12 Tuesday, October 21, 2003